Dream No Evil Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video American Horror Project Vol 2)

As we dive into Vol 2 of the American Horror Project, a joint venture between Arrow Video and author Stephen Thrower, we check out the first disc in the set titled Dream No Evil. Released in 1970 and directed by John Hayes (Grave of the Vampire), the film is a psychological mind trip in the vein of Psycho. The film stars Brooke Mills as Grace, who as a child was abandoned by her father and has since spent her life seeking him out. She is eventually adopted by a traveling church/faith healing show where she performs acts. She is engaged to a doctor, Dr. Patrick Bundy (Paul Prokop) who is usually busy hitting on his seemingly unstable female protege (the man has a type). Meanwhile, the doctor’s brother (Michael Pataki) plays the faith healer, who is also in love with Grace. She pays no heed to most of their advances, as she is too busy trying to find her father. She eventually finds her father dead in a morgue/whorehouse (long story), but her powers of faith healing bring him back to life…or does it? From here the film spirals into a dreamlike experiment in mind-fuckery.

Dream No Evil is a captivating film that does things a bit differently than what you would expect a film of this kind would do. Instead of keeping the mystery close to the chest, it shows you that things aren’t exactly as they seem right after she finds her father, but it still manages to make you question things. Some may prefer a twist reveal more than what Dream No Evil ends up doing, but I prefer it this way as it allows the film to spend time on Grace and her cracking fragile mind. Even as events lead to murder and mayhem, you still feel sympathy for Grace. That can’t be said for many films of this type.

The movie isn’t firing all cylinders at first, though, as the film takes quite a bit of the 84-minute runtime to get things moving along. Not much happens and you start to wonder if this film really belongs in the horror genre, but thankfully it rights the course and steers straight into that horror-shaped iceberg beautifully.

Blu-ray

As mentioned above, this is the first film in the Arrow Video American Horror Project Vol 2 and it’s a good start for the box set. It features a 2K transfer that does have a bit of dirt, debris and scratches present, but nothing overly distracting. Colours are vibrant, blacks are solid and never reach crush levels. Film grain is even and not overabundant. Audio is presented in original uncompressed PCM mono, and I stress I’m not an audio expert, but I didn’t hear anything that caused concern. The dialogue was clear and I never had to fiddle with the volume. Subtitles are also provided and match up quite nicely with the dialogue.

Extra features for Dream No Evil include an appreciation for the film from Stephen Thrower and a new video essay on the early films of director John Hayes narrated by Thrower. Writer Chris Poggiali discusses the career of actor Edmond O’Brien who plays the father in Dream No Evil. We also are treated to an older audio interview with actress Rue McClanahan and her many collaborations with director John Hayes. Wrapping up the features is a new audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan.

Dream No Evil Bonus Menu

Verdict

Dream No Evil takes a bit of time to start up the horror, but once it gets rolling you are treated to a mind trip that keeps you invested to the end. Arrow Video’s first offering from the American Horror Project Vol 2 is an exceptional start to the set with its assortment of features and solid audio/video.

Dream No Evil screws with your brain at times and the results are a pleasing foray into unstable horror. Arrow Video starts things off right with the first disc in Vol 2 of the American Horror Project.
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Blu-ray
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