Monday, November 15, 2010

DVD Review: Scream Dream (1989)

SRS Video

RUN TIME: 69 Min.
DIRECTOR: Donald Farmer
CAST: Carol Carr, Melissa Moore, Nikki Riggins, Jesse Raye

SYNOPSIS: A heavy metal singer's satanic worshiping reputation turns out to be more than just a rumor in his shot-on-video cult classic! Michelle Shocked (Carol Carr) is a lead singer of a red hot heavy metal band. Her image as the new queen of rock is feed by rumors that she's involved with witchcraft and Satan worship. There are even stories of disappearances of fans at her shows! But her manager Lou Sharkey has grown tried of dealing with media outrage, so he fires her & replaces her with Jamie Summers (Melissa Moore), a sexy blonde with a strong voice and less ego. However, when the band visits Shocked to tell her they had nothing to do with her firing, they discover the rumors are true - Shocked is a demon and the band is forced to kill her. But later that day, Jamie visits Shocked's apartment to pick up some of her old stage clothes and finds the body. Drawn to it, she becomes possessed by Shocked's spirit. With this fresh young body, Shocked will get the revenge she craves!

FILM: The 80's were full of fun, schlocky rock 'n' roll horror films and some of my favorites were Trick or Treat (1986) and Black Roses (1988), both films featured rock 'n' rollers who've given their souls to Satan as was the popular thing to do back in the 80's. The practice survives to this day and even the shitty emo bands have jumped on the Satanic bandwagon. For proof you need only check out Jennifer's Body (2009) and the success of the Jonas Brothers, you would have a difficult time convincing me Old Scratch didn't have a hand in that one.  

Scream Dream is a film so ineptly bad that you gotta kinda admire it, y'know? This looks no-budget from the top to bottom. Nowadays anyone can grab an inexpensive digital video camera and free editing software off the web to create something very watchable, it's done all the time. But back in '89 they had the video recorder. Sure, it was a marvel at the time but by today's viewing standards it's almost unwatchable, but watch it I did.

We get some mediocre late-80's metal from Rikk-O-Shay, attractive 80's ladies with great 80's hair, it's all very 80's and I kinda liked that. Back in '89 I was totally into the metal scene(and metal sluts in particular) so this film brought back a lot of nostalgic memories for me of catching the local bands at the clubs and drooling over big haired and tight jeans metal chics. 

It painfully obvious that set design was an after thought in this one as a lot of these scenes are shot with a black background kinda like a community theatre production so there's not a lot to look at other than the characters on screen. When "props" were required it mostly consisted of gothy incense burning paraphernalia that looks like it was purchased at Spencer Gifts. The effects are mighty cheesy, but there's some fun to be had here. When the Satanic metal chic is in demonic mode it's complete with horns and claws and recalled the demonic Bobbie Bresse  character from Mausoleum (1983). I recall reading online that the demon costume was designed by Rick Gonazalez who worked in the make-up dept. on George A. Romero's Day of the Dead (1985), whattya know, a fun fact. But not all the effects are as enjoyable, such as the demon entity portrayed by a rubber hand-puppet which was terrible. So, there's some fun low-budget-gore and like most cheapie horror flick it's slightly spruced-up with the inclusion of female nudity. These few windfalls however cannot make up for the poor production values, terrible acting and awful dialogue.

DVD: Scream Dream makes it way to the digital format via SRS Cinema. It's a full frame and mono presentation taken straight from a VHS source. This was a shot-on-video flick and there's no remastering that format so it looks pretty abysmal. The only supplemental contents is an assortment of SRS Cinema trailers.

VERDICT: I cannot recommend this unless you're a bad cinema connoisseur or just really into obscure rock 'n' roll horror films. I'll be looking for other titles from director Donald Farmer who's made quite a few other films including Chainsaw Cheerleaders (2008). Perhaps it's just morbid curiosity but I just wanna see if he's evolved as a filmmaker over the years *1/2 (1.5 out of 5 stars)