Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dreamaniac (1986): or, Pour Some Caro On Me

October Horror Movie Challenge, Day 25!

Heavy metal musician and songwriter Adam (Thomas Bern) is housesitting for a friend, spending his days smoking cigarettes, ironing his Def Leppard t-shirts, and researching new lyrics in his large library of occult grimoires. It seems that despite having a smokin' hawt, punk rock riot grrrl girlfriend in Pat (80s porn legend Ashlyn Gere, here credited as "Kim McKay"), he still wants more carnal satisfaction--which thanks to his researches soon arrives in the form of small-chested, blood-spattered succubus Lily (Sylvia Summers). As Adam battles his disturbing sex dreams and struggles to find a rhyme for "METULL," Pat and her mousy sister Jodi (Lauren Peterson) prepare for a rockin' house party--the kind of Gathering of Stereotypes that only happens in 80s movies.

On the guest list are rich snob Francis (Cynthia Crass), who has designs on Jodi's out-of-her-league football player boyfriend Brad (Brad Laughlin); Valley Girls Jan and Rosie (Linda Denise Martin and Lisa Emery); specs-wearing nerd Jamie (Bob Pelham) and skinny Jughead-style glutton Foster (Matthew Phelps). Don't get too attached to any of them though--Lily's crashing the party, and is thirsty for sex and blood, not necessarily in that order.

"An original made-for-video feature film" produced in 1986, Dreamaniac is cheap, stupid, and a whole lot of fun. This is perhaps the most awkward house party in the history of partying, possibly because each of the attendees is the only representative of his or her clique and would never associate with any of the other partygoers in their natural high school environment. Things heat up as the night wears on, though: either due to the influence of an ancient sex-demon or else good old teenage hormones, sooner or later most of the girls and guys get undressed and do that horizontal bop. Director David DeCoteau (CreepozoidsSorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-RamaThe Brotherhood) is clearly more interested in Man Meat than girlflesh, though, so there are plenty of gratuitous butt-shots for the ladies...and dudes too, for that matter. There's also more than one illustration of why you should never accept a blowjob from a demon, a BDSM scene that leads to a package-jiggling electrocution, a final showdown in which Jodi and Pat must fight their way through the reanimated zombie corpses of their friends to get to Adam and Lily, a decapitation by power drill (wha?), and a "stinger" ending that makes almost as little sense as that of Pieces.

The acting is all broad, high-school level, as the cast is full of first- (and only- ) time actors. The notable exception is Gere, who perhaps unsurprisingly gives the most natural, engaging performance in the film.The fashions and set design are almost a parody of the movie's own era--watch particularly for Francis' amazing knit sweater and Jan's side-ponytail and skin-tight yellow jumpsuit. Dialogue is bad but in a strangely charming way, and the gore is mostly of the caro-syrup variety. DeCoteau's direction is competent, though he does rely rather heavily on slllloooooowwww pans and tracking shots, especially early on.

In my youth, when I would load up on VHS rentals every Friday, snatching anything off the shelves that looked even remotely like a horror flick, Dreamaniac would have been just the kind of fun, goofy ride I was looking for. Your enjoyment will depend on how well you like your DTV cheese. For me, 2 thumbs.


"OK, Jodi--you know the drill."

4 comments:

Jenn said...

Cheers and agreements all around to everything you said. Would you believe I wrote an academic type paper on the early films of David DeCocteau and this was the impetus? 'Heterosexuality and Gender as Performance in the films of David DeCocteau.' DREAMANIC and CREEPAZOIDS figured prominently.

:) I'm enjoying all your Challenge posts. You're being much less lazy about it than I!

The Film Connoisseur said...

I personally dig films like these, I laughed my ass off with that movie about the two babes who crash land that spaceship in Dracula's planet or something...oh yeah Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity. Funny as hell!

That poster is such a Nightmare on Elm Street rip off!

Kev D. said...

Holy shit... good find!

I love how the tagline says you don't have to wake up on Elm Street... Ripping off that movie's poster, and trying to cash in on its popularity, and yet claiming itself to be better than the film it is trying to mimic.

Ballsy.

At least Mockbusters had porn stars in them back then...

The Vicar of VHS said...

@Jenn--knowing you, I can TOTALLY believe you wrote that paper! I'd love to read it, actually! ;)

@The Film Connoisseur--SLAVE GIRLS is a great one, and has garnered a lot of traffic here, inexplicably. :P If you dug that, I think you'd like this one as well.

@Kev D.--truth! :D

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