directed by David DeCoteau
starring Thomas Bern, Sylvia Summers, Lauren Peterson
Straight to VHS through the Wizard Video line, Dreamaniac features a rather familiar plot with a succubus that starts to hack up a bunch of college kids at a party. In standard slasher fashion the film bounces between sex scenes and killings, the latter of which are disappointing at first but become admittedly more grisly as the film progresses. However, in no way does the film really match its proclamation on the cover that the film is “too gory for the silver screen,” but most really wouldn’t expect that anyway. Wizard Video was pretty notorious for sensational, exciting cover art that would surpass the quality of the actual film, like many other low-budget horror flicks that filled video stores.
Dreamaniac never was really intended to be a classic, but it’s not even that great of a slasher. The plot unsurprisingly feels pointless and serves only to advance sex and blood, which obviously is hard to really complain about in this kind of a movie, but everything lacks atmosphere, tension, and any shock-value. And while characters are typically weak in the genre, the film lacks the sole character that audiences can root for. Also, dreams are a common exploration point for a lot of horror movies, and Dreamaniac obviously tries to tease anyone interested in the subject into the movie, but it only is explored early on. Furthermore, it’s completely disregarded by a nonsensical ending that is so generic and juvenile it’s absolutely eye-roll inducing.
Overall, though, Dreamaniac isn’t the worst slasher out there. At this point in my life, I struggle to get through really bad movies in their entirety, but Dreamaniac wasn’t too much of a chore. The hardest part was probably the actual quality of the film, which (shockingly) hasn’t been remastered. The colors are washed out, and a lot of the shots are too grainy to see finer details. I definitely checked the time more than a few times and was relieved when it finally ended, but knowing beforehand that I was about to watch a trashy slasher, I didn’t really think about turning it off at any point. With that notion in mind, if you’re looking for an 80s slasher to either fill out your collection or a late-night marathon of bad schlock, Dreamaniac isn’t the absolute worst choice, but there are many better titles available.