Home video favorites of the ‘80s have long been a sweet spot for Scream Factory. Their latest acquisition in this realm is Dreamscape, a fan favorite that has enjoyed both DVD and early blu-ray releases with a small set of extras. That said, there was room for improvement with this title — and the new Scream Factory disc raises it to a new level in both visual and supplemental terms.
The transfer used here is a new 2K scan from the negative. It reflects the original PG-13 American version and offers a colorful, crisp image that does well by the film’s old-school opticals and makeup FX. Both 5.1 and 2.0 lossless stereo mixes are included for the soundtrack: the 5.1 track was used here and offers a subtle but effective surround mix that layers the electronic-styled score nicely across the speakers.
In terms of extras, this disc carries over the extras from the prior releases and adds some substantial new bonus features of its own. Here’s what you can expect…
Commentary Track: this is a carry-over from previous discs that features producer Bruce Cohn Curtis, writer David Loughery and makeup FX designer Craig Reardon. Curtis and Loughery discuss the motivation behind different scenes, production challenges and a lot of anecdotes about the actors. Reardon chimes in periodically with quick explanations of how different makeup effects were achieved.
Dreamscapes And Dreammakers (1:01:50): a new jumbo-sized featurette devoted to the making of the film. Loughery returns here and appears with director Joseph Ruben, assistant producer/co-writer Chuck Russell, visual effects designer Peter Kuran and several members of the VFX crew. It starts with a discussion of how the script was realized and developed over the time as well as the challenges of doing an a-movie on a b-movie budget.
As the segment progresses, Ruben offers his appreciations of different cast members and David Patrick Kelly pops up to offer thoughtful commentary on how he prepared for his villainous role. The remainder of the featurette is devoted to the visual effects for the film, broken down by each dream sequence. Fans will love this as they learn the techniques behind virtually every optical, miniature and stop-motion effect in the film.
Nightmares And Dreamsnakes (23:23): This featurette is devoted to the makeup effects, with a special focus on the design and execution of the “snakeman” effects. Several participants from the prior featurette return but Reardon is the main commentator here. He covers all phases of his work, the crew he brought in and is frank about what aspects of the effects didn’t work as planned. Kelly returns here and offers some interesting commentary on the challenge of acting through prosthetics.
Dennis Quaid Interview (14:50): A quick but relaxed session with the actor, who looks back on the film fondly (interestingly, he calls it a “‘70s movie in the ‘80s”). Topics covered include his memories of his castmates, hastily learning to play the saxophone, the intense nature of the skyscraper stunt and the challenges of working with special effects.
Bruce Cohn Curtis & Chuck Russell — In Conversation (23:31): an informal chat between the producer and his protégé. They discuss how they built their relationship working on low-budget films in the ‘70s, how this was Russell’s first screenwriting venture and the “family” style of production that Curtis favored. There is also some discussion of the film’s difficult shoot in Bronson Canyon and a funny story about composer Maurice Jarre.
Snake Man Test (2:16): this neat item also appeared on previous discs and is a brief test film that Reardon shot for his snakeman suit. It actually shows off the texture and interesting features of this suit, including an animatronic face, that you don’t really see in the film itself.
Other Extras: an animated image gallery that focuses on FX shop pictures and the original theatrical trailer.
To read Schlockmania’s film review for Dreamscape, click here.