Saturday, May 23, 2020

Review: Dream Demon

Dream Demon is an odd film. It’s a little like watching a sequence of outtakes from a Nightmare on Elm Street film, but with any logic removed. The fact that the music sometimes echoes some of Nightmare’s score adds to this sense that you’re watching something from somewhere else.

The plot … if the film has a plot … is confused. It follows a young girl Diana (played by a young and very wooden Jemma Redgrave) who is in a troubled relationship. She seems to fall into a dream world every time she falls asleep or looks in a mirror and everything becomes twisted and strange. There’s some good action from Jimmy Nail as a reporter and Timothy Spaull as a twisted photographer (who becomes even more grotesque as the film progresses). Diana is helped by her friend Jenny (Kathleen Wilhoite) who she drags into her dreams with her.

That’s about all I got. It’s a bit like someone was a massive fan of Freddie Krueger and wanted to make a Nightmare on Elm Street film but couldn’t, and so did it anyway, shaving any direct references off in  the process. It’s a fun film in some respects and the effects are decent, but the story tries to go for the more thoughtful and highbrow and just ends up confusing.

Arrow video have a new blu-ray of this available, and as usual it comes with a host of extras, interviews and features … It’s a fairly respected slice of 80s British horror, so it’s good to see it available once more.

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, supervised and approved by director Harley Cokeliss
  • Director’s Cut and Original Theatrical Version
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed stereo audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new scene-select audio commentary with director Harley Cokeliss and producer Paul Webster
  • Newly-filmed interview with director Harley Cokeliss
  • Newly-filmed interview with producer Paul Webster
  • Newly-filmed interview with actress Jemma Redgrave
  • Newly-filmed interview with actor Mark Greenstreet
  • Newly-filmed interview with actor Nickolas Grace
  • Newly-filmed interview with actress Annabelle Lanyon
  • Newly-filmed interview with composer Bill Nelson
  • Foundations of Nightmare: The Making of Dream Demon - contemporary documentary taking a look behind the scenes of the production of Dream Demon, featuring on-set interviews with director Harley Cokeliss, producer Paul Webster, actors Timothy Spall, Jemma Redgrave, Kathleen Wilhoite, composer Bill Nelson and many more
  • Image Galleries
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Christopher Shy
FIRST PRESSING ONLY! - Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anne Billson, author of the Dream Demon novelisation, and director Harley Cokeliss - Reversible poster featuring exclusive newly-commissioned artwork by Christopher Shy

Review: Bloodtide

This is a 1982 film from director Richard Jefferies and written and produced by Nico Mastorakis. The cast seems quite impressive, with James Earl Jones and Jose Ferrer, but the plot and the realization of the monster lets the film down bigtime.

Sherry (Mary Louise Weller) and Neil Grice (Martin Kove) arrive on a Greek island ostensibly searching for treasure but Neil’s sister Madeline (Deborah Shelton) is there as well as a convent of Nuns, and a mystery where young virgins are sacrificed to some monster which lives under the water. It’s all very slow and confusing, though very nicely shot. As the film rumbles on, the girls all strip off for the obligatory topless scenes, and start to be killed by the very rubbery monster in the sea. The whole thing comes to a conclusion with the monster’s cave/lair being blown up, and then the monster is blown up.

I feel that Jefferies realized that his monster was poor and so keeps it well in the shadows, only revealing it in very brief shots … but even this brevity shows it as being simply awful! All in all, the film succeeds only in the gorgeous cinematography, and is one of those films which is just about bad enough to be good … but only just as it commits the worst sin of being boring.

The new Arrow Video release comes with a couple of extras: a new interview with the producer/writer and a commentary track, plus a couple of trailers. Probably only for committed fans of early eighties horror fare.