Originally released to home video as one of Wizard Video’s latter releases, David DeCoteau’s amateur horror flick DREAMANIAC is one of ten titles recently issued by Charles Band’s Full Moon Features, as part of “Full Moon’s Grindhouse Collection.” The low-budget shot-on-video title begins with what could quite possibly be the slowest movie opening credits ever manufactured for a motion picture (let alone one from the still relatively new direct-to-video market of the mid 1980s), only to reward its viewers by showing them a man’s bare ass meeting a nekkid chick in a bathtub full of blood, and then goes to bring us some of the greatest bad acting ever committed to video.
The story here involves a heavy metal musician named Adam (Thomas Bern) whose proletarian endeavors into the dark arts summons an evil succubus named Lily (Sylvia Summers), who, according to the original Wizard Video description (which is retained on the back of the Grindhouse Collection artwork), “makes Freddy look like a bargain basement boogeyman!” The front of the art also reads “You don’t have to live on Elm Street to have a nightmare,” which pretty much sums up the target audience Charles Band and David DeCoteau were aiming at here. DREAMANIAC was created just to give them what they wanted (and maybe to irk those conservative Christian cowards of the time!).
As the film progresses, Lily invades a party our “hero” Adam and his girlfriend are hosting, laying waste to all forms of young partying life present -- nerds to jocks, sluts to virgins -- while generic synth and rock music by Don Great plays in the background. Much like the opening credits, the film is a bit on the slow-moving side (especially when you compare it to its more “professional” counterparts of the time period), but it still comes up with a few inventive demises here and there. And then, just when you think the onscreen nightmare is over, and the facepalm of an ending is revealed, we get five-minutes worth of closing credits.
I guess they had to get that runtime over 75 minutes somehow, right? Essentially, DREAMANIAC is a filler feature created solely for the booming video market of the time and the legions of horror fans around the country who were in need of a sex, blood and rock-n-roll fix. And it serves its purpose admirably in that respect. DeCoteau’s experience in the porn industry is apparent here: there are several moments with slight homoerotic vibes, while future adult entertainment legend Ashlyn Gere (one of the few performers here that actually had a career after this) co-stars under the name Kim McKamy (which is a variation of her real name, Kim McKarny) -- which is about the only truly interesting piece of trivia surrounding this one.
Like THE BEST OF SEX AND VIOLENCE, Full Moon’s presentation of DREAMANIAC has been taken a videocassette source. The Full Frame presentation is a bit on the fuzzy side, and there’s the same disclaimer prior to the start of the feature basically stating “This is the best we can do, folks” is present. The DVD, which is available exclusively through Full Moon’s website boasts an unbeatable $10 price tag, and includes the same Grindhouse Collection intro by Charles Band and promo for the series that was featured on THE BEST OF SEX AND VIOLENCE. (Adam Becvar)
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