Dreamscape (1984 film)

Dreamscape is a 1984 American science-fiction adventure horror film directed by Joseph Ruben and written by David Loughery, with Chuck Russell and Ruben co-writing.[3] It stars Dennis Quaid, Kate Capshaw, Max von Sydow and Christopher Plummer.

Theatrical release poster by Drew Struzan
Directed byJoseph Ruben
Produced byChuck Russell
Bruce Cohn Curtis
Screenplay byDavid Loughery
Chuck Russell
Joseph Ruben
Story byDavid Loughery
Music byMaurice Jarre
CinematographyBrian Tufano
Edited byLorenzo DeStefano
Richard Halsey
Zupnik-Curtis Enterprises
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • August 15, 1984 (1984-08-15)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$6 million[1]
Box office$12,145,169[2]


Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is a psychic who has been using his talents solely for personal gain, which mainly consists of gambling and womanizing. When he was 19 years old, Alex had been the prime subject of a scientific research project documenting his psychic ability, but in the midst of the study, he disappeared. After running afoul of a local gangster/extortionist named Snead (Redmond Gleeson), Alex evades two of Snead's thugs by allowing himself to be taken by two men: Finch (Peter Jason) and Babcock (Chris Mulkey), who identify themselves as being from an academic institution.

At the institution, Alex is reunited with his former mentor Dr. Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow) who is now involved in government-funded psychic research. Novotny, aided by fellow scientist Dr. Jane DeVries (Kate Capshaw), has developed a technique that allows psychics to voluntarily link with the minds of others by projecting themselves into the subconscious during REM sleep. Novotny equates the original idea for the dreamscape project to the practice of the Senoi natives of Malaysia, who believe the dream world is just as real as reality.

The project was intended for clinical use to diagnose and treat sleep disorders, particularly nightmares, but it has been hijacked by Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer), a powerful government agent. Novotny convinces Alex to join the program in order to investigate Blair's intentions. Alex gains experience with the technique by helping a man who is worried about his wife's infidelity and by treating a young boy named Buddy (Cory Yothers), who is plagued with nightmares so terrible that a previous psychic lost his sanity trying to help him. Buddy's nightmare involves a large sinister "snake-man.”

A subplot involving Alex and Jane's growing infatuation culminates with him sneaking into Jane's dream to have sex with her. He does this without technological aid—something no one else has been able to achieve. With the help of novelist Charlie Prince (George Wendt), who has been covertly investigating the project for a new book, Alex learns that Blair intends to use the dream-linking technique for assassination.

Blair murders Prince and Novotny to silence them. The president of the United States (Eddie Albert) is admitted as a patient due to recurring nightmares. Blair assigns Tommy Ray Glatman (David Patrick Kelly), a psychopath who murdered his own father, to enter the president's nightmare and assassinate him—people who die in their dreams also die in the real world. Blair considers the president's nightmares about nuclear holocaust as a sign of political weakness, which he deems a liability in the upcoming negotiations for nuclear disarmament.

Alex projects himself into the president's dream—a nightmare of a post nuclear war wasteland—to try and protect him. After a fight in which Tommy rips out a police officer's heart, Tommy attempts to incite a mutant-mob against the president, and battles Alex in the form of the snake-man from Buddy's dream. Alex assumes the appearance of Tommy's murdered father (Eric Gold) in order to distract him, allowing the president to impale him with a spear. The president is grateful to Alex but reluctant to confront Blair, who wields considerable political power. To protect himself and Jane, Alex enters Blair's dream and kills him before Blair can retaliate.

The film ends with Jane and Alex boarding a train to Louisville, Kentucky, intent on making their previous dream encounter a reality. They are surprised to meet the ticket collector from Jane's dream.



According to author Roger Zelazny, the film developed from an initial outline that he wrote in 1981, based in part upon his novella "He Who Shapes" and novel The Dream Master. He was not involved in the project after 20th Century Fox bought his outline. Because he did not write the film treatment or the script, his name does not appear in the credits; assertions that he removed his name from the credits are unfounded.[4]

Release and reception

Dreamscape was released on August 15, 1984. This was the second film released to movie theaters that was rated PG-13 under then-new MPAA ratings guidelines, following Red Dawn, which had come out five days prior. The film was released on DVD on June 6, 2000, January 4, 2005, and April 7, 2015.[5]

Dreamscape has a 77% 'Fresh' rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes from 31 critics. The RT consensus is "Dreamscape mixes several genres—horror, sci-fi, action—and always maintains a sense of adventure and humor."[6] The film is ranked #93 on Rotten Tomatoes' Journey Through Sci-Fi (100 Best-Reviewed Sci-Fi Movies).[7] Paul Mavis of Movies & Drinks, reviewing Shout! Factory's 2017 uncut Blu-ray release, wrote, "Dreamscape is brisk and entertaining, even amusing at times...if vaguely ludicrous."[8]

See also


  1. Solomon, Aubrey (1989), Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, p. 260
  2. "Dreamscape (1984)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  3. "Dreamscape". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  4. "...And Call Me Roger": The Literary Life of Roger Zelazny, Part 4, by Christopher S. Kovacs. In: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, Volume 4: Last Exit to Babylon, NESFA Press, 2009.
  5. Dreamscape. Image Entertainment. Chatsworth, Los Angeles: RLJ Entertainment. ASIN 6305869103.CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)
  6. "Dreamscape". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  7. "ROTTEN TOMATOES: RT's Journey Through Sci-Fi 93. Dreamscape". Rotten Tomatoes. United States: Fandango Media. 2007. Archived from the original on 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  8. Paul Mavis. "Dreamscape". Movies & Drinks. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.