The American President is suffering from vivid nightmares showing the devastation of a nuclear war.  At the same time on a college campus renowned scientist Dr. Paul Novotny is conducting experiments around dreams (the dreamscape).  For the research to get to the next level he needs talented psychic Alex Gardner to help.  Shady government type, Bob Blair (Christopher ‘Von Trapp’ Plummer) says he will search him out and bring him to Paul.

Alex is found by Blair’s goons and soon meets Paul who he worked with years earlier.  Eventually he agrees to help and soon becomes the essential cog in the wheel that is the experiments.  Blair, however has other ideas and is using another psychic to assist in his interpretation of the good work being done by Paul and his team.  Blair offers his ‘help’ to the President which doesn’t involve curing him of the nightmares.

Dreamscape came out in the early 1980’s and I saw it back on the old Thorn EMI label with the scary snake-man on the cover (he’s in one of the film’s dream sequences).  It’s been a really long time since I saw it and wondered would it be a load of old rot.  Thankfully no, it’s still got some really good disturbing dream sequences and good character development.  The special effects also hold up pretty well especially the final act.

It’s got in all fairness an awesome cast, there’s Dennis Quaid, Kate Capshaw and Max Von Sydow as the good guys.  Plummer, I’ve mentioned and the unhinged psychic is played by veteran dirt-bag David Patrick Kelly who we all know from Commando and The Warriors.  The music score is quality 80’s synth from the legendary Maurice Jarre probably getting some pointers from son, Jean-Michel.  Co-writer Chuck Russell went on to big Hollywood career directing The Mask and The Scorpion King among others.  He even had a hand in writing A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, so he loves his dreams does Chuck.

It is a bit dated especially Quaid’s very dubious tight white trousers but still very watchable after 30 odd years.  A nice trip down memory lane and lots of fun.

  • Starring Dennis Quaid  Max Von Sydow  Kate Capshaw  David Patrick Kelly  Eddie Albert
  • Director Joseph Ruben
  • Distributor Second Sight   Scream Factory (US)