A young psychic on the run from himself is recruited by a government agency experimenting with the use of the dream-sharing technology and is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of the U.S. president.



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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


Enter a world beyond your wildest imagination where anything can happen. See more »


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Release Date:

17 August 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El túnel de las pesadillas  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Originally there was a love scene involving Alex and Jane that was supposed to have taken place in the middle of the film involving nudity, but it was deleted for pacing issues and also because of the MPAA's new PG-13 rating guidelines. The love scene was featured in the film theatrically and on its original video release, but for its "Image" dvd release a PG edited cut print or TV version of the film was used for the transfer. See more »


When Alex Gardner and Dr. Novotny are sitting at the bar with the pitcher of beer, Novotny's glass goes from near empty to full, without being filled. See more »


Alex Gardner: A woman died, Tommy!
Tommy Ray Glatman: Everybody dies.
See more »


Referenced in Xiao sheng meng jing hun (1987) See more »


Lip Service
Composed and Produced by Craig Huxley (as Craig Hundley)
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User Reviews

A great low-budget genre-melder
10 February 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Years after studying Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) for his psychic abilities, Dr. Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow) tracks him down to talk him into experimenting with psychic dream research. However, higher ups in the dream research program may have ulterior, nefarious motives.

Dreamscape may be a good candidate for "most misleading poster art". The theatrical poster, which is also the DVD cover, suggests a kid-oriented, slightly hokey adventure film--perhaps a combination of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), The Neverending Story (1984) and "The Hardy Boys Mysteries" (1977). Not that the combination sounds like a bad idea to me, but this film is much more adult, much more sci-fi, and more of a thriller. It's not really an adventure, although some of the dream material could be seen that way. The tone, if not content, is closer to something like Coma (1978), and later films like Flatliners (1990) and The Cell (2000), the latter being obviously influenced by Dreamscape. It also has a bit of the bizarre surrealist tone of late-1970s fare such as Phantasm (1979) (and this aspect also influenced films like The Cell).

Part of the reason the films works as well as it does is the cast. Dennis Quaid carries the film, frequently injecting enjoyable comic relief. Max von Sydow is always excellent. Kate Capshaw, as Jane DeVries, is also good as the research assistant and Alex' love interest. Although they're underused, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, George Wendt and David Patrick Kelly all turn in superb performances as well.

Director Joseph Ruben frequently treats us to great dream sequences, with often-subtle touches. Note, for example, the different colors upon entering different persons' dreams. For the relatively benign construction worker, the entry is blue. For the child troubled with nightmares, there is a complex of colors. For Jane, who is giving Alex the cold shoulder, the color is an icy silver-white. Although the film was relatively low budget, and effects relatively primitive at the time, I thought all of the effects worked well. I even loved the part stop-motion, part guy-in-a-costume snake-man. At times the stop motion work briefly resembled Harryhausen. I especially loved the more surreal and more horrific aspects of the dreamworlds, such as we see from Eddie Albert's character, the expressionistic sets for the child's dream, the zombies, and so on.

Surprisingly, perhaps, Dreamscape is also much more effective on the suspense/thriller end than I expected it to be. There are a few great chase scenes, and one brutal (though not graphic) murder on-screen, one off-screen. It was also steamier than I expected in one section.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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