Monday, June 11, 2012
Eric's Horror Alphabet:B is for "Bad Dreams"(1988)
One thing the horror genre is known for is the slew of imitators that follow a masterpiece. From Alien, we got Galaxy of Terror, Alien 2, Creature, etc. Halloween(pick most early-80s slashers). Strangely, in the wake of Nightmare on Elm Street, no near duplicate of this classic followed save, perhaps, this 1988 film directed by Andrew Fleming.
Bad Dreams certainly follows the Freddy playbook. Takes place mostly in a mental hospital, the antagonist(who died in a fire) uses the dreams of a young girl(played by Jennifer Rubin from...guess what...NOES 3!) to get to her and others.
In the mid-'70s, a cult group called Unity Field commits mass suicide, but a young girl survives. After being in a coma for thirteen years she wakes up in a psyche ward, not remembering the incident. The psychiatrist tries to help her remember, but she begins seeing the leader of the cult talking to her from the grave.
The cult leader(Richard Harris)unlike Senor Kruger doesn't have a lot fancy taglines nor does he a plethora of ways to kill you. Instead, he insist on begging his charge to come to him, taking out her fellow ward mates along the way. I will say this, his burn effects have a secret weapon. Didn't anyone else think that flap of skin on his face make his image even more creepier?
For the most part, the movie performs well. There's a great combo of gore and psychological chills that held my attention. Though not as convincing as the man of your dreams, Harris(the cult leader) does manage to produce some goosebumps that with the right tweaking, could have made him a memorable horror character. Maybe in a Hannibal Lecter vain?
Sadly, the climax is the reason why this film isn't mentioned as a legendary horror movie. Anticlimactic, predictable, felt rushed. Nevertheless, Bad Dreams is worth a view to see what might have been.
Posted by Rhonny Reaper