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Good 80’s Sci Fi Thriller – DREAMSCAPE

DREAMSCAPE is a fun little action film, and a time capsule of 80’s fashion and special FX.

People entering dreams to decide the fate of the world!? When I saw the trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Inception I immediately flashed back to this 80’s forgotten gem – Joseph Ruben’s Dreamscape (1984), a fun breezy thriller starring Dennis Quaid as Alex Gardner, a psychic recruited by an ex-professor to infiltrate people’s dreams via electrodes and those thick plastic computer buttons that light up when you click them. This movie not only borrows the poster design from the same year’s Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom (just look at it!), but also its leading lady: Mrs. Steven Spielberg herself, the lovely Kate Capshaw. Heavy on heavies, Dreamscape stars Max Von Sydow AND Christopher Plummer (I didn’t think these guys could exist in the same movie) and ALSO David Patrick Kelly, the nasal-sounding bad guy from The Warriors, who’s never been creepier than he is here as Quaid’s psychic (and psychotic) rival. Though the low budget special effects could hardly deliver on the promise of the premise, the movie opens strong and maintains one’s interest throughout. Anyone who saw this as a youngster vividly remembers its highlight, as Alex enters the dreamscape of a chubby kid named Buddy and faces off against a “snake man” on a set that invokes the Expressionism of films like 1920’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari while adding the one ingredient those films were missing – a stop motion “snake man.” It’s light entertainment with its own Cold War-era charm. And though I’m no psychic, I predict a remake next year – some time after Monster Squad and Red Dawn but before they get around to Howard the Duck.

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June 21, 2010   1 Comment

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