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I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Normally I’d attribute it to the 2 liters of Monster Energy drink I normally consume while watching schlocky late night cinema, but I’ve been cutting back on that. So now when I finally do fall asleep I have some really weird dreams. One in particular I keep having is where I’m being chased by zombies in a city and when I try to drive away my car will only go 10 mph. Sure it looks like a Lamborghini but drives like a Prius. Then I realize that I actually have the mutant power of Spiderman and used my web slinging ability to climb to the top of the Sears towers. That’s where I discover Oprah Winfrey perched like a vulture in her pants suit gnawing on a chicken leg. It figures Oprah would be the one person to survive the zombie apocalypse. So she gave me keys to a free car and a Oprah book of the month club membership and I go swinging back to down to my car. It all ends when I try to peel out, and I find my tires have been replaced with large sprinkled doughnuts and there’s a monkey dressed as a bellhop in the passengers seat singing Celine Dion songs. That’s when I wake up in a cold sweat. Sure zombies and a benevolent Oprah I can handle, but not monkeys singing “My heart will go on”. Guess I should ease up on the Chinese food before bedtime.
Speaking of bad dreams. Dennis Quaid plays Alex, a psychic womanizer who uses his gift to predict the future, bet on horses and read girl’s minds. A former associate Dr. Novotny (Max von Sydow) hates seeing him squander his money on effeminate casual wear from the Penny’s catalog and gets him to join his classified government dream project instead. And you know when it’s secret and the government is involved someone is going to die. The military is using psychics to enter people’s dreams all in order to advance military science or in-dream banner ads which ever is more profitable. Alex, when he’s not gallivanting his boney torso around in his Underoos likes to play the saxophone Clinton-style and hit on lab technicians. Jane (Kate Capshaw) plays the queen of the babe lab technicians and works with Alex to sharpen his dream linking skills. They play card games, he reads her mind for a quick lite read and they get right to some train shagging during Jane’s power nap.
Alex starts warming up his dreamcatcher skills through some subconscious marital advising and construction stunt work all leading up to a big snake hunt in some little fat kids head. This was apparently during a time when science didn’t really need a specific purpose. Buddy has been having bad dreams of being stuck in a Tim Burton movie while being pursued by the Boogeyman and it’s been really cutting into his eating time, so Alex plugs his mind into Buddy’s brain and they do battle with a big demonic snake creature who wants to make little buddy into ground round. It’s a sort of Anne Coulter of the subconscious. Buddy succeeds in chopping the creatures head off with a big kill axe while Alex gives it a nice bear hug. I believe Buddy’s been doing a lot of free weights in his spare time.
Meanwhile back in Washington the president has been having nightmares of kids with bad acne jumping out of broom closets while nuclear blasts are going off all around them. The dreams are so bad that the president decides he wants to disarm all the nukes at the next Geneva convention. It’s obviously a plot by bunch of commies, so they must be destroyed, and the president is rushed into the dream institute to have him studied to end this horrible threat. The military dream program is headed up by Bob Blair. One of the most politically evil character’s ever to wear a polyester suit and yet they named him Bob. “Oh no!…tremble before the fear of…. Bob!” But Christopher Plummer can just ooze evil out of any character even if you stuck him in a Barney suit he’d still make children cry. Bob also has a hit squad in rented suits ready to run over phone booths on a moments notice, and his own pet psycho psychic, Tommy played perfectly by David Pat Kelly. Tommy enjoys stuffing his face with food while harassing Alex about whose the better dream-linker, and when he’s really bored he kills patients “Just for the kicks man.” Bob doesn’t want the military machine to stop churning out nukes, so he hires Tommy to try to dream assassinate the president at nap time.
Alex discovers the assassination plot thanks to the cunning investigative reporting by Norm from Cheers but then gets rick rolled out of a moving car before he can get the news back to Dr. Novotny whose already been killed by Bob’s goon squad. There’s a motorcycle road race and Alex gets chased down by Lincoln Continentals at the race tracks narrowly escaping into the back of a horse trailer. That’s a lot of horses a** for one trailer. Alex works his way back to the institute just in time to remote link up with the president who is dreaming he’s on a Amtrak in Hell, next stop downtown Armagedonville. They fight subway zombies, ninjas, and radioactive wolf-beasts while being pursued by Tommy who just impaled the train conductor with freddy fingers and turned into a giant Snakeman. I had that exact same dream once but I was in high school and I was in my underwear. Oh wait… maybe that wasn’t a dream.
Dreamscape’s a pretty fun little 80’s flick with big nods to influencing Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm St., complete with a bad guy sporting Freddyish finger blades, and a giant nightmarish snake creature. I saw this movie when I was 10 years old and back then the Snakeman scared the heck out of me, but this time around I found it rather goofy. Dennis Quaid without a shirt was the most horrifying thing about it. Retroman Steve says check it and be sure to not eat Chinese food before bedtime.
– 1 motorcycle chase with crash and bale
– 2 nuclear explosions
– 2 Snakemen
– Multiple radioactive mutants
– Norm from Cheers cameo
– Steel beam circus acts
– Train shaggin’
– Emergency heart removal
– Lee press on Freddy nails
– Numchuck chucking
– Mutant dogs
7.1 out of 10
“it’s Dennis Quaid-tastic”
Check out the trailer for Dreamscape