How old were YOU in 1984?
I was 5. Hence, Dreamscape was simultaneously the scariest, weirdest, and most awesome film my tiny brain could possibly conceive of at the time. I think it is a fair assumption that anyone my age or up to 5 years my senior will probably tell you the same. Anthropomorphic snakes? Dennis Quaid? Christopher Plummer? Lucid dreaming? That "come out and playyaaayyy" dude from The Warriors steering a brain-train into the darkest depths of your psyche? This was the stuff nightmares were made of.
I should mention here that Sweet Baby Jay purchased a DVD copy of Dreamscape for me for my birthday last weekend, and that said DVD retains all of the awe-inspiring psychedelic horror that the original did back in my early youth. This is an oft-overlooked classic in the sci-fi/horror genre, a movie that transcends space and time. Maybe it was the fact that Nightmare on Elm St. was released that same year, and cornered the market on dream-horror. Maybe it just got lost in the shuffle of early-to-mid-80's sci-fi/fantasy Quaid flicks, floundering somewhere between 1981's Caveman, 1985's Enemy Mine, and 1987's Innerspace. Either way, this movie doesn't get the credit it should, so consider tonight's post my own attempt at rectifying the situation.
A large part of Dreamscape's appeal is the ethereal, surrealistic atmosphere it so effortlessly creates, an atmosphere that depends largely on the sweeping, dreamlike, and largely ambient score created by French composer Maurice Jarre. Jarre is best known for his more traditional works, such as 1962's Lawrence of Arabia and 1965's Doctor Zhivago (both of which earned him Academy Awards). But his work on Dreamscape is something of an oddity, mostly electronic and punctauted with long stretches of drone and the occasional smooth-sax solo. As we all know by now, it is these one-off weirdo film scores that are often a composer's best.
Sadly, Jarre passed away in March of 2009. In honor of his memory, and in honor of the awesomeness that is Dreamscape, jam this record as you drift off into sleep tonight. But beware...
Maurice Jarre Wiki / Last.FM / Obituary