Dream Demon (Arrow Video) Blu-ray Review


Arrow Video has brought us another long lost film from The Video Store Days in the form of Dream Demon. So, come join us as we take a look at this horror cult classic.


Studio: Arrow Video
Release Date: 1988 (theatrical) / June 23rd, 2020 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 89 mins (theatrical) / 88 mins (director's cut)
Region Code: FREE
Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (both versions)
Sound: English LPCM 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: No
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Jemma Redgrave, Kathleen Wilhoite, and Timothy Spall
Written by Christopher Wicking and Harley Cokeliss
Directed by Harley Cokeliss
Rating: R (strong horror violence and gore and nudity) (both versions)

THE FILM



Diana (Jemma Redgrave) is a high class young woman with a troubled past, who is on the verge of marrying the caddish Oliver (Mark Greenstreet). Spending the night in her old and spooky family mansion, Diana stares into a mirror and begins experiencing terrifying dreams. She sees her past, present and future, while at the same time entering a dark dimension of her own. One day Diana is visited by Jenny (Kathleen Wilhoite), an American tourist and also a victim of a turbulent past. Without knowing how or why, Diana suddenly pulls Jenny into her nightmarish world.

I had never heard of DREAM DEMON before it showed up on my doorstep. Since the film was released during the heyday of the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET SERIES,  I figured that this would be yet another clone of the Wes Craven created series. To my surprise, the film deals with heavy issues of abuse and uncertainty.

To be fair, there are plenty of dreams in DREAM DEMON. And these dreams turn to nightmares pretty quickly. In fact, I don’t think that there is one pleasant dream in the entire film. The film starts out with a crazy dream in which the lead character slaps a man’s head clean off of his body. The nightmares do get more bizarre as the film progresses and Diana even brings her friend Jenny into the dreams. The film plays fast and loose with the dreams, allowing the audience the chance to try and figure out if what we are seeing is a dream or reality.

As I watched the film, I was reminded not of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, but HELLRAISER. The way that the film is shot, the shafts of light that come in through slats in the basement, the way that the house is shot. There are no pleasures found here, but the film especially around the hour mark reminded made me have those HELLRAISER feelings. It could just be the fact that both HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II and DREAM DEMON were released in the same year or that both films have a very gothic feeling to them, but that is the film that DREAM DEMON reminded of.

One last thing I want to address and that are the effects. There were more effects here than I thought there would be and they are much better than expected. Make-up effects, some nice gore effects, and even some full body burns are all here for us to take in and they are all wonderful. The film looks great too. It never feels like a low budget film. There is a lot of talent on display here and we are better for having witnessed it.

THE PICTURE AND THE SOUND



DREAM DEMON comes to us with a brand new 2K restoration and presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The first thing that I noticed were the colors. There are bold at times and very vibrant. Skin tones are also nice looking and blacks are deep and inky. Detail is very high throughout especially in close-ups where the detail is off the charts. This is a great looking transfer that will wow fans of the film.

The sound comes in the form of an LPCM track that sounds great. Dialogue sounds wonderful and the music comes through loud and clear.

THE MENUS




THE FEATURES


Introduction (42, HD) Harley Cokeless briefly talks about the new Director’s Cut
Original Theatrical Version (1h 29m 23s, HD)
Dream Master (27m 22s, HD) Interview with director Harley Cokeliss
A Nightmare on Eton Avenue (37m 22s, HD) Interview with producer Paul Webster
Dreaming of Diana (16m, HD) Interview with actress Jemma Redgrave
Cold Reality (9m 44s, HD) Interview with actor Mark Greenstreet
Sculpting the Part (8m 58s, HD) Interview with actor Nikolas Grace
Angels and Demons (9m 20s, HD) Interview with actress Annabelle Layton
Demonic Tones (15m 13s, HD) Interview with composer Bill Nelson
Foundations of Nightmare: The Making of Dream Demon (26m 26s, SD, 1.33:1) 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, and composer Bill Nelson.
Original Theatrical Trailer (1m 56s, HD)
Image Galleries:
-Promotional (17 images)
-Behind the Scenes (53 images)
Scene-Select Audio Commentary with Harley Cokeliss and Paul Webster

This is an impressive line-up of features and they are all interesting and worth the watch. The interview with Cokeliss and the making of are the highlights of this package but don’t discount the rest.

THE CONCLUSION



DREAM DEMON is a very interesting film that offers up some heavy ideas even if it doesn’t stick the landing. The film is great to look at and gives us things that we haven’t seen before. The last half of the film feels very much like a HELLRAISER film and I am ok with that. The film is entertaining if not a bit baffling. The blu-ray is a must have for fans of the film as it goes in deep with a ton of special features and two versions of the film. Definitely give DREAM DEMON a shot.

THE SCREENSHOTS


THE FILM

THE FEATURES


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