Dreamscape (1984)

R  |   |  Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  15 August 1984 (USA)
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A young psychic on the run from himself is recruited by the government to save the US president whose mind is trapped inside the dreamworld.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlie Prince
Mr. Webber
Cory 'Bumper' Yothers ...
Redmond Gleeson ...
Jana Taylor ...
Mrs. Webber
Fred Schoenstein
Kendall Carly Browne ...
Mrs. Matusik


A government funded project looks into using psychics to enter people's dreams, with some mechanical help. When a subject dies in his sleep from a heart attack Alex Gardner becomes suspicious that another of the psychics is killing people in the dreams somehow and that is causing them to die in real life. He must find a way to stop the abuse of the power to enter dreams. Written by Zaphod <aaa@scs.leeds.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Close your eyes and the adventure begins See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 August 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El túnel de las pesadillas  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Was the second film to be Rated PG-13 under then new MPAA ratings guidelines following Red Dawn (1984), which had come out weeks prior to this film's release. See more »


When Ms. Matusik has a heart attack, the paddles used to try and revive her are placed in the wrong spots on her chest. One paddle is supposed to be placed on the upper right of the patient and the other on the lower left at the base of the ribs. This allows for proper current travel through the heart. But both paddles are placed on her upper chest at her shoulders. This would do nothing for the patient. Also, you can see the actor jump before she is "shocked." See more »


Doctor Paul Novotny: How did you sleep? Have any dreams?
Alex Gardner: You mind if take a leak before I give my deposition?
See more »


Referenced in Fast Forward (1985) See more »


Lip Service
Composed and Performed by Craig Huxley
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User Reviews

Thoroughly entertaining genre crossing production.
12 January 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

There's a fair amount of 80s style imagination and panache to be found in this nifty combination of sci-fi, thriller, and political intrigue. It's got a hell of a good cast and a more than capable director, Joseph Ruben, who'd started out in exploitation films and later turned out the solid sleeper "The Stepfather" as well as mainstream fare such as "Sleeping with the Enemy". Its premise may be too close to "A Nightmare on Elm Street" in some ways, but at least the political element helps it to stand apart.

Dennis Quaid, at the peak of his charisma, plays Alex Gardner, a psychically gifted young man who would rather use his gifts for self- gain but reluctantly agrees to help old pal Paul Novotny (ever delightful Max von Sydow) who's developed a revolutionary dream therapy program. It seems that now people like Alex can be inserted into the nightmares of others, and help them to deal with them. However, there's a smooth but cold government man (a chilling Christopher Plummer) who has sinister motives for supporting this program.

Wonderful visual design is just one of the hooks of this story; the nightmares each get their own "dream tunnel", for one thing, and for another, the bleak post-apocalyptic landscape of which the President (Eddie Albert) dreams and the skewed images experienced by young Buddy (Cory "Bumper" Yothers) are very well realized. The special effects are eye popping, and things do get pretty grim and gory (a heart is ripped out of a chest). One of the highlights of the movie is the nefarious Snakeman, a monster brought to life through a combination of stop motion and an actor (Larry Cedar) in a costume. The music is cheesy electronic stuff, which is kind of surprising considering that the composer is the great Maurice Jarre. There's some witty dialogue, and a steamy subplot involving Alex and the young Dr. Jane DeVries (Kate Capshaw, who's lovely but sporting some real 80s hair here).

The cast couldn't be better; also appearing are the eternally amusing David Patrick Kelly as weaselly little psychopath Tommy Ray, George Wendt as a horror novelist who snoops around, and character actors such as Redmond Gleeson, Peter Jason, Chris Mulkey, Madison Mason, and Brian Libby. Also, Ruben keeps the pacing consistent and the big showdown between Alex and Tommy Ray is a set piece worth waiting for.

With all of this going for it, "Dreamscape" is a totally engrossing diversion that may be very much of its time but still does a good job of entertaining the viewer.

Eight out of 10.

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