This 2-disc set finds Shout! Factory con­tin­u­ing to explore the gen­re back­wa­ters of 20th Century Fox’s film cat­a­log.  This time, the DVD set pairs two hor­ror films that share a hos­pi­tal set­ting and the same decade: 1988’s Bad Dreams and 1982’s Visiting Hours.  It offers a nice, cost-effec­tive way for gen­re fans to catch up on their vin­tage hor­ror and even man­ages to throw in a new extra along the way.

Both Bad Dreams and Visiting Hours were pre­vi­ous­ly released in DVD edi­tions by Anchor Bay Entertainment.  However, both of those discs were released in 2006 and are long out of print.  Both films look good in the anamor­phic trans­fers they receive here: col­ors and detail are strong and there is a min­i­mum of debris, result­ing in a nice clean image.  In terms of audio, Bad Dreams has both 5.1 and 2.0 stereo mix­es.  The 5.1 option was uti­lized for this review and it works well, using Jay Ferguson’s elec­tron­ic-styled score to spa­cious effect and work­ing in a few good direc­tion­al effects dur­ing the big shocks.  Visiting Hours sticks to a basic stereo mix and gets the job done nice­ly.

Both discs also include a few extras.  On the Visiting Hours disc, bonus fea­tures 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 is pret­ty com­pre­hen­sive, cov­er­ing every­thing from poster designs (includ­ing a creepy alter­nate ver­sion with masked doc­tors) to a vari­ety of stills and on-set pho­tos.  It would have been nice to have a few more fea­tures but this works as a basic edi­tion of this title.

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 vis­i­tor to the set and 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.

The new addi­tion to this disc is a fea­turet­te enti­tled “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.

In short, this is anoth­er cost-effec­tive dou­ble fea­ture from Shout! Factory that deliv­ers the goods.  The films look and sound good, the new fea­turet­te is a worth­while bonus and the two-for-one price seals the deal.  Any 1980’s hor­ror buffs who missed the­se titles the first time around will find this an afford­able and infor­ma­tive way to catch up.

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

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

Bad Dreams / Visiting Hours [Double Feature]

Bad Dreams / Visiting Hours [Double Feature]

In the mid-1970s the mem­bers of the love cult Unity Fields sought “the ulti­mate join­ing” by dous­ing them­selves with gaso­line and com­mit­ting mass sui­cide. A young girl blown clear of the fiery explo­sion was the only sur­vivor. Thirteen years lat­er, Cynthia (Jennifer Rubin, Screamers) awak­ens from a coma inside a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal with only buried mem­o­ries of that hor­ri­fic day — but now her fel­low patients are each being dri­ven to their own vio­lent sui­cides. Has the sect’s lead­er (Richard Lynch, Deathsport) returned to claim his final child? Bruce Abbott (Re-Animator) co-stars in the intense shock­er Bad Dreams from direc­tor Andrew Fleming (The Craft) and pro­duc­er Gale Anne Hurd (Punisher: War Zone, The Incredible Hulk).Academy Award®–winner Lee Grant (Best Supporting Actress in 1975 for Shampoo) stars as out­spo­ken TV jour­nal­ist Deborah Ballin, whose cru­sade again­st domes­tic vio­lence enrages a creepy lon­er (a tru­ly dis­turbing per­for­mance by Michael Ironside, Scanners) in Visiting Hours. He bru­tal­ly attacks the anchor­wom­an in her home, but Ballin sur­vives and is hos­pi­tal­ized. Her assailant is enraged; he is haunt­ed by a hor­ri­fic child­hood trau­ma … and now he has hid­den him­self inside the hos­pi­tal to fin­ish what he start­ed. Can any­body — includ­ing her con­cerned boss (William Shatner), a fran­tic nurse (Linda Purl, Happy Days) or Deborah her­self — stop the psycho’s killing spree before it reach­es sick new extremes?