Horror Movie A Day: Quint has some BAD DREAMS (1988)
These damn doctors are crazier than the patients!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.]
I get really nostalgic when watching ‘80s horror. It’s not the best photographed, most atmospheric or best acted decade for horror, but what ‘80s horror has over damn near every other decade is just how damn fun they are. The ‘90s traded fun for funny and the ‘00s have been a mixture of great foreign horror (THE ORPHANAGE, INSIDE, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, HAUTE TENSION) and remakes.
There are exceptions in each decade of course. I think the atmosphere of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is incredible and would hold it up to the greats of the RKO era. Neil Marshall is giving us great English language horror (THE DESCENT) now and I’d even say THE STRANGERS is an example of good studio horror these days. It’s at least a movie serious about its subject matter, playing up atsmosphere and growing dread over tongue-in-cheek.
And tongue-in-cheek… a lot of people could turn that on my argument on ‘80s horror, but I will say there’s a difference between being fun and being tongue-in-cheek. Look at the progression of the Evil Dead films. I’d say the first is firmly rooted in horror, Evil Dead 2 is a healthy combination of real creeps and real humor and Army of Darkness is full on tongue-in-cheek.
Of course, my whole argument pretty much boils down to ‘80s horror being my introduction to the genre, the movies I watched as a kid. That’s the nostalgia factor. I feel the same nostalgia for ‘80s horror that my parents felt for ‘50s sci-fi/horror. I appreciate those films, too, and enjoy a great many of them, but I’m watching them from a completely different perspective.
All this is to say that I’m inclined to enjoy ‘80s horror, so know that going into this review.
BAD DREAMS does tap into the nostalgia portion of my brain. The cast, the photography, the make-up effects, tone… all that dialed into my love of ‘80s horror.
Directed by THE CRAFT, DICK and HAMLET 2’s Andrew Fleming, co-written by DIE HARD’s Steve E. de Souza and produced by Gale Anne Hurd (one of the characters in the movie actually wears a TERMINATOR shirt, no less) there’s a lot of interesting behind the camera talent involved with this flick.
In front of the camera you have Jennifer Rubin. You’ll remember her as the girl who became a badass switchblade wielding leather-wearing chick that fought Freddy Kruger in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: THE DREAM WARRIORS.
She’s hot there and she’s incredibly hot in this movie, playing Cynthia an ex-Jonestown type cult member who survives the mass suicide and is haunted by visions of the cult leader.
The cult was a love and peace hippie cult in the ‘70s called Unity Field, led by Richard Lynch (INVASION USA, baby!) and they all doused themselves in gasoline before Lynch drops a match, taking them to the next plane of existence. Now, Cynthia seemed to have some doubt, at least moreso than the rest of the smiling, dull-eyed followers, but still went along with it.
That is, until the flames started engulfing her friends. She panics and tries to escape as a still-burning Lynch points her out saying that she’s forever entwined with the group. The flames reach the gas cans and the explosion sends her flying. She doesn’t burn, but is hurt bad enough to put her into a coma.
Thirteen years later she wakes up with blanks in her memory and has to undergo psychiatric treatment in order to find those memories and cope with them.
As is to be expected, she is very shortly visited by The Ghost of Cultmas Past. Lynch appears to her, trying to get her to kill herself in order to join her family. He appears either as how he was pre-fire or what he looked like right after… in other words, a crispy critter.
Wow, a movie called BAD DREAMS starring a cast member from DREAM WARRIORS where the bad guy is a burn victim. You know, for all the expectation going into this thing, I was surprised at how much they avoided ripping off A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.
Lynch doesn’t look a thing like Freddy Kruger when all burnt up, for one. He looks like a man probably should after being burned alive. His skin hangs off his face, blackened and crispy… one of his eyes is milky white, this guns and teeth exposed as a good portion of his lips are burned away.
In short, the make-up effects in this movie are outstanding.
Another thing that sets it apart is that this isn’t a nightmare movie. There are visions that occur, but it’s not people falling asleep and finding themselves in a nightmare world. The twist at the end of the movie makes the title make a little more sense, but it’s surprisingly not a NIGHTMARE ripoff.
And I was almost disappointed that it wasn’t. But I love a good rip-off movie. PIRANHA, BLOOD BEACH, ALLIGATOR, GREAT WHITE, GHOULIES, BIG BAD MAMA and SLEEPAWAY CAMP to name a few. I was hoping to add another great rip-off movie to my favorites, but fortunately BAD DREAMS is its own thing.
Alongside Jennifer Rubin, you have a bevy of recognizable ‘80s faces, including RE-ANIMATOR’S Bruce Abbott, Pee-Wee’s girlfriend E.G. Daily, SUMMER SCHOOL’s Dean Cameron and Harris Yulin, who has been in a lot of movies, but I will always remember him as the hard-ass Judge from the beginning of GHOSTBUSTERS 2.
There’s some good gore and some fun characters, including a bizarre married couple who hate each other, but are also apparently incredibly horny, Dean Cameron’s Ralph who has some crazy thick eyebrows and is incredibly charming and charismatic… then he cuts himself to let his “anger” out.
There are two stand-out horror scenes, though. One is the “raining blood” scene when a couple of characters have “an accident” where they both fall into a air-vent fan spraying blood and gore through all the vents. Another is the vehicular homicide scene that I think is the best scene of the movie. Gory, funny, way over the top and all with Verdi as the backdrop.
Final Thoughts: I enjoyed the movie a lot, but it’s not all that memorable if I’m going to be perfectly honest. It’s a fun slice of ‘80s horror with an interesting twist (is there something supernatural going on or isn’t there?), but on the whole it’s not extreme enough to make me want to show friends who haven’t seen it, to make it a party movie, and it doesn’t stand out enough to go in recommendation overdrive. What it is is a fun little movie with some interesting characters, some good gore and nice effects.
Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October:
Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here!
Added PEEPING TOM to the list… I’ve been meaning to get to it for years and missed it on the big screen this summer when it was playing the Paramount here in Austin due to travel. But I have Criterion’s disc now and it’s in the running for this month’s adventures.
Now it’s time to pull the next HMAD!
Next up is:
Nice. It’s about time we hit a haunted house movie and one starring Susan George? Count me in.
June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Oct. 7, 2008, 4:29 a.m. CST
i have been doing my horror watching since september 15th. I have watched a lot fo new movies and it's been exciting. Movies I have really liked so far have been, Near Dark, The Vanishing, Legosi's Dracula, Night of the Creeps and Day of the Dead. Hopefully your viewing schedule will give me some good ideas.
Oct. 7, 2008, 4:37 a.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
<P>"Lynch doesn’t look a thing like Freddy Kruger when all burnt up, for one. He looks like a man probably should after being burned alive. His skin hangs off his face, blackened and crispy… one of his eyes is milky white, this guns and teeth exposed as a good portion of his lips are burned away. <P>In short, the make-up effects in this movie are outstanding." <P>Here's what his IMDb page's trivia section has to say about the reason that's so awesome: <P>"In 1967 after taking LSD (acid), he set himself on fire in Central Park behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art near Cleopatra's Needle. After recuperation, he bravely and candidly spoke about it in an anti-drug documentary." <P>I'm just saying.
Oct. 7, 2008, 4:44 a.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
... this came out when I was in high school, working at the theater, and I watched it about eight times in a week because of Jennifer Rubin. Zing. Kapow. Nerd on a hook as far as I was concerned. Horror movie chicks were the hottest chicks in movies in the '80s.
Oct. 7, 2008, 4:48 a.m. CST
by xavier masterson
I'm not sure Yulin will appreciate the outing, Quint. Oh, and if you haven't seen the film, that's not really a spoiler.
Oct. 7, 2008, 4:54 a.m. CST
Good taste sir, Rubin was a real babe, the emphasis on real. Unlike today's fashion models in most US horror, she actually could act in a believeable mannor.
Oct. 7, 2008, 5:02 a.m. CST
I didn't mean his real skin, but the make-up when he's the crispy critter. I did wonder if they did something to his make-up during his "regular" bits, though... guess not. Good thing I didn't comment on it in the article. "Wow, his face looks fucked up in real life. Good job make-up team!" Yeah, that wouldn't have gone over real well.
Oct. 7, 2008, 5:18 a.m. CST
I think i mostly know Richard Lynch from 80s/90s TV-Shows like McGyver or Star Trek TNG. There are some character actors which for some reason I really enjoy seeing in any movie or tv-show. Richard Lynch is definitly one of them! And since i grew up in the 80s, the nostalgia factor applies to me, too. So thank you Quint, for pointing me into the direction of Bad Dreams! :D
Oct. 7, 2008, 5:30 a.m. CST
You would have thought Tarantino or Rodriguez would have cast him by now.
Oct. 7, 2008, 6:01 a.m. CST
It really kind of makes it stand out from a lot of the other movies at the time. At the time I remember thinking it was a cop-out, but I dig it now.
Oct. 7, 2008, 6:29 a.m. CST
by El Borak
the scene where that dude slams that coke-whore's head on the table and the straw goes up her nose and then he kicks her ass outta the window!!!!<br> <br>best scene in a movie ever!!!
Oct. 7, 2008, 6:59 a.m. CST
As Michael's principal. He's the scariest fucking part of that movie. "MIZZUZ MYUHZ, I DO NOT IN-JOYYY HAVIN' TO CALL YOU DOWN HERE EVERY FIVE MINUTES!"
Oct. 7, 2008, 7:27 a.m. CST
by Shut the Fuck up Donny
It definately has its own feel to it, which I've never been able to put my finger on. However, if I were to put a more accurate time-frame on it, I would say it probably ran from about 1978-1992 (Halloween - Brain Dead) Maybe it's that inherent nostalgia associated with discovering horror at that age (as I too was a child of the 80's) that does it for me.
Oct. 7, 2008, 7:32 a.m. CST
by Shut the Fuck up Donny
You should totally check out "Popcorn" from 1991. There is definately a smattering of "Bad Dreams" in there.
Oct. 7, 2008, 7:44 a.m. CST
this was one of those "I remember that one and how much it creeped me out back then" films.
Oct. 7, 2008, 7:59 a.m. CST
I always have and I always will.
Oct. 7, 2008, 8:23 a.m. CST
This is a great, extremely twisted film.
Oct. 7, 2008, 8:33 a.m. CST
by Tom Cullen
Plus she could actually act as well, which is always a bonus, and sadly all too rare a thing these days. One of the 80's brigade that I never understood why she didn't get more roles, and who has now pretty much disappeared after being relegated to dtv hell for much of the 90's. Still, if you want to see probably her best performance, and a really under rated and sadly little seen thriller, check out a flick called Delusion. She's fantastic in it, and the film is quirky cool too.<p>As for Bad Dreams, always enjoyed that one, definitely worth a look for fans of 80's horror. <p>Oh, and Peeping Tom is a great addition to the list, and for my money is better than Psycho.
Oct. 7, 2008, 9:05 a.m. CST
by Billy Sunday
Yes, I would do horrible awful things to Jennifer Rubin given the chance. That said, I didn't think this was all that great. It had some fun moments, in fact, I think I almost wet myself when the guy driving in the vehicular homicide scene said TOUCHDOWN! And the effects were pretty damn well done, I especially liked the side profile shot in the car murder scene and the rows of scars down Ralph's stomach....and obviously, the blood rain was pretty cool. That said, it wasn't fun enough to make me want to go back and watch it again or anything. Pretty good for what it is, and something I probably wouldn't have ever scene without the MOVIE A DAY column. Time to shower and head to Vulcan to trade this out for THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS.
Oct. 7, 2008, 9:18 a.m. CST
by Josh Acid
I'm interested to hear your take on it...I love good, spooky haunted house movies, particularly from that era (hello, The Changeling!), but I thought The House Where Evil Dwells was pretty lame.
Oct. 7, 2008, 10:02 a.m. CST
Oct. 7, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST
this wasn't as good as Salo
Oct. 7, 2008, 10:21 a.m. CST
I saw this once on The Movie Channel about 26 years ago and I don't remember being impressed or scared. All I remember about Bad Dreams is the poster, but Richard Lynch is hard to dislike in anything. Is he still around?
Oct. 7, 2008, 10:33 a.m. CST
by Mr Nicholas
He was an icon of 80's TV and B-movies and always gave great performances no matter how cheesy the gig was. He really was deserving of better.
Oct. 7, 2008, 10:55 a.m. CST
Evidence? PT doesn't end with a 15 minute long monolog from a character we haven't met before to explain what the preceding movie was about. Nor will it be remade by Gus Van Sant. That is all.
Oct. 7, 2008, 11:34 a.m. CST
Michael Powell was a master filmmaker.
Oct. 7, 2008, 12:16 p.m. CST
Lest we forget de Souza's sole theatrical directing effort, "Street Fighter."
Oct. 7, 2008, 12:35 p.m. CST
It was Slapstick (And I love that movie, although not as much as Evil Dead 2)
Oct. 7, 2008, 12:49 p.m. CST
Was he the baddie who fights Stacey Keach in the bar? If he is, then I believe we are in the presence of a lifetime achievement award recipient. Oh yes.
Oct. 7, 2008, 12:52 p.m. CST
Just IMDB this guy and I'm impressed. Interview this guy, AICN! He's a national treasure!
Oct. 7, 2008, 1:23 p.m. CST
But god bless Francis Gremp...that eyeball eating Bas***d...And that scene where he stabbs his hand with the knife still hurts to watch.
Oct. 7, 2008, 1:27 p.m. CST
One of those flicks I'd run across on HBO at two in the morning, figured I'd give it a couple of minutes just on the off chance it was good, got totally pulled in and loved every minute.
Oct. 7, 2008, 2:10 p.m. CST
Maybe because I never thought to bring along a jug of gasoline. That's some crazy shit. Anyway, I remember really digging this movie when it came out. It's nice to see that it's remembered by some people.
Oct. 7, 2008, 2:54 p.m. CST
Love that flick. Sort of remember Lynch as one of the bad bikers, but I think it was another actor, (big guy w/mustache), that pushes Keach into psycho-mode. Highly reccomend this one to Quint (or anyone) who hasn't seen it. Cult film with a funny, smart, and profound script.... written, directed & co-starring William Peter Blatty. Great ensemble cast.
Oct. 7, 2008, 2:56 p.m. CST
Another fun 80's horror film starring Klaus Kinski. On a double-feature dvd paired with The Attic which I found disappointing. But Crawlspace is tons of disturbing fun.
Oct. 7, 2008, 3:05 p.m. CST
I was just listening to the commentary track on THE NINTH CONFIGURATION and I must confess I love William Peter Blatty. Honestly, I'd give the old man a hug and fetch the newspaper for him. Yes, that's fatherly love for ya. Quint, ADD THE NINTH CONFIGURATION TO YOUR LIST!
Oct. 7, 2008, 3:21 p.m. CST
I haven't watch 9th Config since I got it on dvd a few years back, I will re-watch that one very soon. I also have a vhs copy which is a different cut of the film. And I remember seeing it first on cable with the title "Twinkle Twinkle Killer Kane." I love the artwork they chose for the cover of the dvd. People, please discover this largely overlooked gem! Oh, and if you enjoyed Blatty's film of "Exorcist III", please read his novel "Legion." Movie was good... book is very good.
Oct. 7, 2008, 5:08 p.m. CST
Good film. Seriously fucked up. It is not possible for Klaus Kinski not to be creepy.
Oct. 7, 2008, 5:17 p.m. CST
Definitely! Get him aan invite to the next BNAT or something. Gotta be some love for the guy!
Oct. 7, 2008, 5:49 p.m. CST
...was going to be the sequel to "The Exorcist", with the astronaut character being the same one that appears at the party ("you're going to die up there..." splash!). That is all.
Oct. 7, 2008, 10:17 p.m. CST
Is that 'Prince of Darkness' Harry's referencing? Awesome! Quint, you have seen 'Prince of Darkness', right?
Oct. 8, 2008, 9:55 a.m. CST
Dean Cameron's character in this is named Ralph as is his character in Rockula. (sigh) I miss the feel of the 80's flicks. It makes me sad.
Oct. 8, 2008, 2:06 p.m. CST
Made famous in Exorcist and reappearing in Schraeder's Exorcist prequel.
Oct. 9, 2008, 10:32 p.m. CST
by The Amazing G
Oct. 13, 2008, 2:07 a.m. CST
Got to meet her at Fear Fest in March down here in Dallas. She's out of the business entirely, which is a shame. She's older, but her looks have certainly held up and she's very sweet. I'm not sure what led to her leaving acting, but she's long been a fave of mine. It's always nice to find out that people like her (charming, talented, amazingly gorgeous) are down-to-earth and kind. Now someone needs to pull a New Nightmare and bring her back for one last showcase before she retires completely.
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