“Bad Dreams” (1988) REVIEW

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Even though this movie steals a major plot point from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (a burned boogeyman haunts the minds of several patients at a mental hospital), and went so far as to cast ANOES3 tough cookie Jennifer “I’m bad…and beautiful!” Rubin in the lead — it’s still a fun watch, not to mention, shot really well. I love it and remember seeking it out after seeing it on TV once.

Rubin is a young teen in the mid-1970s, and she’s part of a cult. The leader – played by the late, great Richard Lynch – decides it’s time everyone sacrifices themselves by self-immolation. Rubin reconsiders, as burning to death isn’t her thing, and she tries to escape. The house explodes, killing everyone…except Rubin who is merely put into a coma. Ten years later, Rubin emerges from the coma. Worried that she might have issues adjusting (or may still have some nasty memories of the incident), she’s incorporated into a group for troubled teens and adults. Eventually, Rubin starts having visions of Lynch — charred up like a hot dog on the grill too long. But his presence is also followed by the deaths of the group members. The staff attributes it to suicide (these are troubled people, after all), but Rubin knows better. Now if only she could convince them it’s actually her long dead cult leader doing the killing.

The movie is an easy watch. The acting is fine and the effects are cool, and thankfully, it doesn’t drag. It also stars a couple 80s hot properties at the time, like EG Daily and Dean Cameron (‘Chainsaw’ from Summer School). Plus, Richard Lynch gives such a terrifyingly creepy performance – before, as the cult leader, and after as the burned up bad-guy.

If you’ve never seen this movie, it’s definitely worth a watch. It’s your standard entry level 80s horror fare.

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