Harley Cokeliss (director)
22 June 2020 (released)
21 June 2020
The story of Dream Demon’s making, its loss, find and restoration would make a decent short film in itself which we sort of get from director Harley Cokeliss in his absorbing interview amongst a number of other very good extras on this Blu-ray release.
Released in 1988 Dream Demon was and remains pretty much on its own within the genre with a plot that is on the surface relatively simple but quite intricately told. It’s not incoherent by any means just requires a bit of attention to join the dots.
Jenny Hoffman (Kathleen Wilhoite) turns up from the US at bride to be Diana’s (Jemma Redgrave) flat with no notice just a feeling that she has a connection to the house though with no memories. They are introduced after Jenny kicks paparazzi photographer Peck (Timothy Spall) in the nuts who along with reporter Paul (Jimmy Nail) have been pursuing Diana who is going to marry Falklands hero Ollie (Mark Greenstreet), which is big news. They form a quick bond and from that a friendship blossoms.
Only there are complications in that Diana is having bad dreams which appear to be merging with the real world and as a consequence people are getting hurt. One victim is Peck who after spying on Diana undressing finds himself caught up in a hellish vision of pits and burning men, tormenting Diana until he is cast down. Only to return later as a pus oozing bloated grotesque.
Ollie in the meantime doesn’t have a lot of sympathy or affection for Diana which she overhears. This is confirmed by Paul who having done some actual investigative reporting turns up that Ollie is skint and as we have already learned earlier, Diana’s father owns some racehorses!
The nightmares begin to take the form of daymares, sucking in all and everything around. Diana has visions of cracked wall dripping blood and both her and Jenny taken to a mirror dimension. The lines, realties and truths blur as characters phase seemingly out of existence.
The first thing to say is that Dream Demon looks absolutely fabulous in the this 2K restoration. The colours are rich and vibrant with the shadows along with Bill Nelson’s (Be-Bop Deluxe) mostly electronic score in pitch perfect. Cokeliss’s use of colour heightens the sense of disconnect that runs through the film though also acts as a pointer to the real and unreal. The set contains both the director’s and theatrical versions and if you have the time worth watching back to back.
If memory serves Nail and Spall were fresh from the success of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and have a natural rapport as a couple of sleazy journalists, with Spall being particularly vile. Wilhoite’s Goth from this distance feels a bit clichéd while the Redgrave’s Jane a little too naïve. They are opposites in almost every sense nevertheless they subtly develop a friendship and an attraction over the course of the film which serves as an interesting undercurrent to the horror.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
• Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, supervised and approved
by director Harley Cokeliss
• Director’s Cut and Original Theatrical Version
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original uncompressed stereo audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Brand new scene-select audio commentary with director Harley Cokeliss and producer
• Newly-filmed interview with director Harley Cokeliss
• Newly-filmed interview with producer Paul Webster
• Newly-filmed interview with actress Jemma Redgrave
• Newly-filmed interview with actor Mark Greenstreet
• Newly-filmed interview with actor Nickolas Grace
• Newly-filmed interview with actress Annabelle Lanyon
• Newly-filmed interview with composer Bill Nelson
• Foundations of Nightmare: The Making of Dream Demon - contemporary documentary
taking a look behind the scenes of the production of Dream Demon, featuring on-set
interviews with director Harley Cokeliss, producer Paul Webster, actors Timothy Spall,
Jemma Redgrave, Kathleen Wilhoite, composer Bill Nelson and many more
• Image Galleries
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Christopher
FIRST PRESSING ONLY!
• Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anne Bilson, author of the
Dream Demon novelisation, and director Harley Cokeliss
• Reversible poster featuring exclusive newly-commissioned artwork by Christopher Shy