Tuesday, December 15, 2015

BAD DREAMS (1988)

1975, California.  The Jim Jones-like leader of a love cult, Harris (Richard Lynch), gathers 30 or so of his flock into the living room of their old house.  He softly says stuff like "I say to you all now, to all of you, that this will be the ultimate joining..." while poring gasoline over them "There is no shame, no sin, no guilt.  It's just the final break with the old world." and then lighting a match "Come to eternal bliss."

One young girl (Jennifer Rubin) barely escapes the inferno and goes in a coma.  Thirteen and a half years later she wakes up in the hospital.  She has no memory of the incident, so to help kick-start her brain she's placed in group therapy.  Suddenly people in the group start dying gruesome deaths at the hands of a burnt up Harris searching for his "love child".  Is this really happening?  Has Harris come back from the grave or is something else causing the bloodshed?

Solid acting by a strong cast, mild blood, zero nudity, good pace, a completely out of place Guns N' Roses song, story reminiscent of the previous year's A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS (which also starring Jennifer Rubin in a therapy group with a dwindling population), hand stabbing, Chainsaw (from SUMMER SCHOOL), the insult: "Doctor Addictive Buttface", not enough screen time for Elizabeth Daily and a script that a little bit too discombobulated for it's own good.

While I was entertained for the most part, I am curious as to why the story was the way it was.  In the extras somebody mentioned that the studio was looking to create a new franchise(!!!), but yet the story completely came off like it was a singular film with a closed ending.  If they were looking to make a franchise then the killer should have been more memorable and direct, the casting should have been changed around some and the story should have been way more straight-forward and with a ending that promised a sequel.  Also some added blood and nudity would have helped.

As it is though, it's an entertaining 80's supernatural medical thriller that's worth checking out.