I love when I watch a horror film for the first time and I am completely blown away. With the soul of a slasher and the body of a supernatural shocker, thus is the case with Andrew Fleming’s 1988 flick, Bad Dreams.
I started this film thinking I was going to be watching yet another mediocre 80’s horror movie, but what I got instead was a brilliant film with lots going for it. Bad Dreams is the story of Cynthia (Jennifer Rubin, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors), the lone survivor of a mass cult suicide. After a 13 year coma, she finally awakens only to be constantly tormented by visions of her former leader, Harris (Richard Lynch, Laid to Rest). With each of these visions, comes the apparent suicide of one more of Cynthia’s new group therapy partners.
Richard Lynch does one hell of a job as a creepy cult leader. His facial expressions and soothing, convincing voice were the perfect fit for the role of Harris. Each time the Harris character comes back to visit his ‘love child,’ he is burned from head to toe in some amazing Freddy Krueger-esque make-up done by the very talented Michèle Burke and Kimberly Felix. In fact, all of the effects were done beautifully throughout Bad Dreams‘ 84 minute runtime.
Jennifer Rubin did an outstanding job as our main protagonist, making it easy for viewers to root for her. With every scene, she seemed so natural, managing to really fit in with the rest of the amazing cast. It was also fun to see a young Elizabeth Daily (The Devil’s Rejects) as one of the patients.
In addition to the great performances and fantastic make-up and effects, the film was littered with great camera work by cinematographer Alexander Gruszynski. Each scene was shot wonderfully, really lending a hand to the final product.
If you’re looking for a horror movie with some awesome acting, a great story, and variety in each death scene, look no further than Bad Dreams. I give this film 4.5 pills out of 5.