In 2011, Scream Factory did a 2-DVD reis­sue of Bad Dreams and Visiting Hours.  It was a nice way for fans who missed out on the old Anchor Bay DVD’s of the­se films to catch up with them and it even threw in a few new extras for Bad Dreams. Scream Factory has recent­ly revis­it­ed this set for blu-ray, fit­ting both films and all the extras on one blu-ray… and adding a nice amount of new extras for addi­tion­al val­ue.  The results are worth the upgrade, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you’re a fan of the under­rat­ed Visiting Hours.

BadD-VisH-bluBoth films ben­e­fit from the high-def treat­ment they receive here: col­ors are strong on both titles, detail gets a notice­able boost and the ele­ments for both were in good shape (pre­sum­ably, the­se are the same trans­fers as the Scream Factory DVD set but pre­sent­ed in loss­less form here). Bad Dreams gets both 5.1 and 2.0 stereo mix­es while Visiting Hours sticks with the orig­i­nal 2.0 stereo mix, with all options pre­sent­ed in a loss­less form. 

Bad Dreams ports over a vari­ety of extras from the pre­vi­ous Anchor Bay edi­tion.  The most notable of the­se is a com­men­tary track with director/co-writer Andrew Fleming.  He’s moved on to a more main­stream career since then, includ­ing the excel­lent Hamlet 2, but he remains fond of his work here.  He offers a chat­ty, often self-dep­re­cat­ing stream of com­ments about the film that cov­ers the script, the shoot and the cast & crew.  He is not afraid to point out things he would change today and tells some inter­est­ing sto­ries about how James Cameron (then-hus­band of his pro­duc­er) was a fre­quent BadDr-03vis­i­tor to the set. There’s even an unex­pect­ed­ly com­plex tale about how “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘N Roses end­ed up as the film’s end cred­its song.

The oth­er Anchor Bay-era extras include brief EPK-style videos designed to pro­mote the film, includ­ing a look at the make­up effects by Michele Burke and a brief chat with pro­duc­er Gale Anne Hurd.  There is also a trail­er and a still gallery.  However, the most inter­est­ing extra from the orig­i­nal batch is an alter­nate end­ing to the film.  It’s pre­sent­ed from a workprint video source and offers a coda that is more inter­est­ing and grue­some than what end­ed up in the film.  BadDr-pos

The blu-ray also includes the fea­turet­te that debut­ed on the Scream Factory DVD for Bad Dreams, “Dream Cast.”  It was pro­duced and edit­ed by Michael Felsher and fea­tures inter­views with cast mem­bers Bruce Abbott, Jennifer Rubin, Dean Cameron and Richard Lynch.  All four par­tic­i­pants are forth­com­ing about their mem­o­ries of the shoot: Abbott is very char­i­ta­ble to all involved but chuck­les at the dis­be­lief-strain­ing nature of the finale, Rubin and Cameron offer their dif­fer­ing per­spec­tives on why they didn’t get along dur­ing the shoot and Lynch pro­pos­es a sur­pris­ing­ly seri­ous inter­pre­ta­tion of the film.  Their com­ments are briskly edit­ed by Felsher, who keeps the pace snap­py with a nice col­lec­tion of clips from the film.  The result is infor­ma­tive and well worth a look.

VisHr-04Visiting Hours car­ries over the bonus fea­tures includ­ed on the past disc. Those con­sist of a set of trail­ers and a still gallery.  The trail­ers are fun to watch because they incor­po­rate a creepy bit of ani­ma­tion that ref­er­ences the film’s dis­tinc­tive poster design.  The gallery offers a set of col­or stills and two ver­sions of the film’s poster.  There is also a brief radio spot for the film, built around the amus­ing gim­mick of record­ing an audi­ence scream­ing while watch­ing the film.

VisHr-posThe big draw for this disc in terms of extras is a trio of new inter­view fea­turettes for Visiting Hours pro­duced by Aine Leicht. It starts in a mem­o­rable way via an inter­view with screen­writer Brian Taggert that runs a whop­ping 44 min­utes.  The first twen­ty min­utes of the piece is devot­ed to Visiting Hours, with Taggert dis­cussing how he tran­si­tioned from comedic play­wright to hor­ror screen­writer. He talks about how he was com­mis­sioned to write a script that shocked or dis­gust­ed the audi­ence “every sev­en min­utes” and work­ing close­ly with pro­duc­er Pierre David and direc­tor Jean-Claude Lord on the shoot. He also reveals that he wrote the lead role for Lee Grant and that she influ­enced the fem­i­nist the­me that informs her char­ac­ter­i­za­tion.

The remain­der of the fea­turet­te is devot­ed to Taggert’s sub­se­quent career as a gen­re jour­ney­man, start­ing with how he was brought in to do a last-min­ute rewrite for V: The Final Battle after suc­cess­ful­ly pitch­ing it as a sci-fi soap opera (!).  He goes BadDr-07on to dis­cuss the many hor­ror sequels he has penned, includ­ing Poltergeist III and Omen IV, as well as The New Kids, The Spell and many more.  It’s nice that Leicht took advan­tage of the oppor­tu­ni­ty to hear from a lesser-known gen­re fig­ure and hor­ror fans will appre­ci­ate the result.

The next piece is a short but info-packed inter­view with pro­duc­er David.  He talks about Visiting Hours as a “pro­duc­er” film, describ­ing how he came up with the con­cept and hired Lord and Taggert to exe­cute his vision.  He also talks about the mix of hos­pi­tal sets and real hos­pi­tal loca­tions used in the film and offers a fas­ci­nat­ing account of track­ing down the head of Fox to sell the film, includ­ing a descrip­tion of the deal he made. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing glimpse into hor­ror cin­e­ma from the busi­ness side and David is a fun, wit­ty racon­teur.VisHr-03

The last inter­view fea­tures Lenore Zann, a reg­u­lar in Canadian hor­ror films of the ear­ly ‘80s who has plen­ty of inter­est­ing things to say. She offers a unique psy­cho­log­i­cal take on her char­ac­ter and her character’s rela­tion­ship with the vil­lain, gives a fem­i­nist inter­pre­ta­tion of the plot and reveals how she did her big attack scene with a bro­ken wrist.  She also talks about her sub­se­quent career moves, which include car­toon voiceovers, writ­ing a play and even work­ing in the Canadian gov­ern­ment. Like the oth­er new inter­views, it offers more than you might expect.

In short, this dou­ble fea­ture disc is a good exam­ple of what Scream Factory does with cat­a­log gen­re fare: they took two titles that fans would be lucky to get bare-bones disc ver­sions of from a major stu­dio, presents them nice­ly and kits them out with all the extras the disc can hold.  If you’re into either of the­se films, this is the way to go on home video.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Bad Dreams, click here.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Visiting Hours, click here.