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Blu-ray Review: Bad Dreams / Visiting Hours
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Scream Factory Two-Pack: Bad Dreams / Visiting Hours

Bad Dreams
Blu-ray Double Feature
Director: Andrew Fleming
Cast: Jennifer Rubin, Bruce Abbott, E.G. Daily, Richard Lynch, Dean Cameron
Scream Factory
Rated R | 84 Minutes
Release Date: February 18, 2013

Directed by Andrew Fleming (The Craft), Bad Dreams sounds like a Nightmare on Elm Street rip-off, and it kind of is.

The 1988 film stars Jennifer Rubin (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors) as Cynthia, lone survivor of a cult’s mass suicide, who awakens from a coma 13 years later. Like Elm Street 3, Rubin’s character is in a mental institution surrounded by troubled kids who are plagued by bad dreams.

And like Elm Street 3, Rubin’s character is haunted by a burned boogeyman. In the film’s prologue, we learn that the members of the love cult Unity Fields sought “the ultimate joining” by dousing themselves with gasoline and committing mass suicide. Now the cult’s leader (Richard Lynch, Invasion U.S.A.) has returned to claim his final child.

Meanwhile, Cynthia’s fellow patients are driven to their own violent suicides one by one – just like those poor Elm Street kids. Bruce Abbott (Re-Animator) co-stars as Dr. Alex Karmen, who is a dream counselor like Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy Thompson in Dream Warriors.

Bad Dreams isn’t a terrible movie, but there is a reason why you’ve never heard of it. It’s one of those entirely mediocre, easily forgettable ’80s horror flicks that came on cable after Midnight as part of a slasher marathon. Even with a nice Blu-ray transfer and a bunch of special features, there isn’t much about Bad Dreams that makes it a must-own.

That’s why Scream Factory has packaged Bad Dreams in a double feature with Visiting Hours to make it a value for hardcore horror fans. Still, I’m not really sure why you would own either of these films, unless you’re trying to recreate an episode of USA Saturday Nightmares or TNT MonsterVision. Check out the special features below and continue reading for a review of this set’s second film, Visiting Hours.

Bad Dreams Special Features:

– Commentary with writer/director Andrew Fleming
– Interviews with actors Jennifer Rubin, Bruce Abbott and Dean Cameron
– The Special Effects of Bad Dreams
– Behind the scenes of Bad Dreams’ Original Ending
– Theatrical Trailer

Trailer

Visiting Hours
Blu-ray Double Feature
Director: Jean-Claude Lord
Screenwriter: Brian Taggert
Cast: Lee Grant, Linda Purl, Michael Ironside, William Shatner
Scream Factory
Rated R | 105 Minutes
Release Date: February 18, 2013

Directed by Jean-Claude Lord (Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!), Visiting Hours stars Academy Award–winner Lee Grant (Shampoo) as feminist TV journalist Deborah Ballin, whose crusade against domestic violence enrages misogynistic psychopath Colt Hawker (Michael Ironside, Scanners).

Hawker brutally attacks the anchorwoman in her home, but Deborah survives and is hospitalized. Haunted by a horrific childhood trauma, the enraged killer has hidden himself inside the hospital to finish what he started.

Deborah’s concerned boss (William Shatner) and a frantic nurse (Linda Purl, Happy Days) keep a watchful eye over the injured journalist, but can they stop the psycho’s killing spree before it reaches sick new extremes?

Released in 1982, the Canadian-made Visiting Hours appeared on the UK’s “Video Nasty” list, even though it was the same version that had been cut for theatrical release. Compared to other “video nasties,” Visiting Hours is tame. It isn’t a schlocky, gory affair – it’s quite the opposite, in fact. After films like Halloween, Maniac, and Friday the 13th, the slasher sub-genre has begun to define itself, but audiences hadn’t been inundated with countless sequels and rip-offs yet.

With a top-notch cast, Visiting Hours set out to be a “dramatic” slasher movie – one to be taken seriously. That plan backfired, but the film isn’t that bad – Michael Ironside delivers a truly disturbing performance – it just isn’t very noteworthy.

The film stumbles frequently, thanks to labored pacing and numerous passages of long-winded dialogue, but is dark and gritty enough to sustain interest. Lord and screenwriter Brian Taggert deserve credit for making a slasher film that focuses middle-aged characters instead of horny teenagers, and commentary on feminism and misogyny gives the film an added dimension.

Presented on Blu-ray for the first time by Scream Factory, this double feature of Bad Dreams and Visiting Hours is only for the most diehard horror-hounds. In terms of audio and video quality, these films have never looked better, but that doesn’t make the movies any better.

Visiting Hours Special Features:

– New interview with writer Brian Taggart
– New interview with executive producer Pierre David
– New interview with actress Lenore Zann
– Photo Gallery
– Original Radio Spot
– Original TV Spots

Trailer

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