Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

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. -Quint

Previous Movies: 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 Talkback
comments powered by Disqus