COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: 'Bad Dreams'/'Visiting Hours' Blu-ray Review

Created: 02/21/2014 1:45 PM By: Aaron Chalich

Photo courtesy of Shout Factory
Photo courtesy of Shout Factory

Scream Factory/Shout Factory has released some amazing Blu-ray double features, and they just released “Bad Dreams/Visiting Hours” on Blu-ray, and it is a must have for any horror movie fan and collector.

I just watched a review copy this past week, and I am in awe of how great this double feature is.  You get two awesome films for the price of one and they complement each other very well.  Both films take place in a hospital, and in each film, a patient has some crazed killer after them.

The first thing you see when the Blu-ray loads is a selection screen where you can choose which film to watch.  I really think that Scream Factory/Shout Factory does a great job with their menus.  They look and sound great.  Navigating through them is always easy, and the graphics are pretty awesome also.

The first film I watched was “Bad Dreams.”  It was written and directed by Andrew Fleming and was released in 1988.  It stars Jennifer Ruben, Bruce Abbott, E.G. Daily, Dean Cameron and Richard Lynch.

It’s about a young woman (Jennifer Ruben) who survives a mass suicide that was led by an evil cult leader named Franklin Harris. Everyone in the Unity Fields Cult was killed but Cynthia, who ended up being in a coma for many years.  She wakes up and is put into a psychiatric hospital where she is haunted by Harris.  She keeps seeing him, and one-by-one the patients at the psychiatric hospital are committing suicide.  Jennifer must try and stop Harris before more patients die and to stay alive herself.

I really liked the story a lot and thought that it was very clever.  It was creepy and there were a lot of great scares that made me actually jump.

Richard Lynch does an amazing job as playing Harris.  He has starred in several films, and I really enjoy watching him.  He is great in any role.

The special effects looked awesome and especially all of the burn make-up that is on Richard Lynch.  Jennifer sees Harris many times in the hospital, and when she does, he is all burned and looks disgusting.  The special effects crew did a great job.

There are so many special features on “Bad Dreams” that are awesome, and this is the first time I had seen some of them, so that was exciting.

The special features include:
 - Commentary with writer/director Andrew Fleming
 - Interviews with actors Jennifer Ruben, Bruce Abbott, and Dean Cameron
 - The Special Effects of Bad Dreams
 - Behind the scenes of Bad Dreams
 - Original Ending
 - Theatrical Trailer

I ended up watching both films in one sitting, so the second film I watched was “Visiting Hours.”

“Visiting Hours” was released in 1982 and was directed by Jean-Claude Lord.  It stars Lee Grant, Linda Purl, Michael Ironside and William Shatner.

“Visiting Hours” is about a feminist activist named Deborah (Lee Grant) who expresses her opinions and views on a talk show.  She angers one particular viewer named Colt (Michael Ironside), and he tries to kill her.  Deborah survives the attack and is admitted into the hospital where she is frequently visited by her boss who is played by William Shatner.

Colt learns that Deborah survived and that she is in the hospital, so he comes up with a plan to kill Deborah.  Deborah discovers that Colt is after her again, and she tries to tell the staff about it, and they don’t believe her.

Now Deborah must try and convince the staff that Colt is going to try and kill her again and to find a way to stop him.

The story was pretty good.  I didn’t think it was too original, but it was very entertaining. 

The acting was excellent and Michael Ironside did a fabulous job playing the psychotic killer.

There are only a couple of special features included on “Visiting Hours,” but they are very entertaining and it’s always great to see interviews with people involved with the film.

The special features include:
 - Interview with screenwriter Brian Taggert
- Interview with producer Pierre David
- Interview with actress Lenore Zahn
 - Radio and TV spots
 - Scream Factory Trailers
 - Photo Gallery

I really enjoyed Scream Factory/Shout Factory’s “Bad Dreams/Visiting Hours” Double Feature a lot.  Both films are great horror films that will have you on the edge of your seat.  Both of the films look and sound amazing in HD.  The special features are spectacular and will have horror fans giddy with excitement.

I would highly recommend that you check out “Bad Dreams/Visiting Hours” double feature. You will not be disappointed.

“Bad Dreams” and “Visiting Hours” are rated “R”

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Aaron Chalich is a entertainment columnist.