BEYOND DREAM'S DOORProduced by Dyrk Ashton
Written and Directed by Jay Woelfel
Edited by Randy Spears and Susan Resatka
Director of photography - Scott Spears
Benn Dobbs - Nick baldasare
Eric - Rick Kesler
Julie - Susan Pinsky
Dr. Noxx - Norm Singer
"Beyond Dream's Door is where horror lies."
That quote is part of poem that is recited in part throughout Jay Woelfel's BEYOND DREAM'S DOOR, a story about a primal predator from world of nightmares passing back and forth through the door of reality and hunting all those who know of it's existence.
Sounds similar to another 1980's horror classic, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Without doubt, Woelfel was inspired by Wes Craven's now seminal horror film, but Woelfel takes Craven's premise to higher, more academic plain. Forsaking conventional "jump scares" of formula horror, Woelfel blurs the lines of reality and dreamscape to delve into the psychology behind our nightmares and fears. In the process he craft a film that works on pure atmosphere alone to fill the audience with unease. Think NIGHTMARE done with the crypto-weirdness of David Lynch.
The events of BEYOND DREAM'S DOOR are structured around the nightmares of Ben Dobbs, a Psychology student who after years of not dreaming, or at least not being able to remember his dreams, is suddenly tormented by a continuous stream of vividly freakish nightmares, each one picking up where the last left off. When linked together, the chain of events reveal a scenario that has repeated itself since the dawn of man and will until someone can close the door between the two worlds.
Through his professor Dr. Noxx, and Noxx's lecture on psychosis, Ben learns that his troubles mirror the case of D. L. White. Both men are early 20, without parents, and plagued by freakish nightmares. Whoever Mr. White sought for help with his dilemma was killed by whatever it was that came through the door. As is always the case, history is bound to repeat itself. Only this time the creature is more aggressive in that it goes after anyone who simply possesses knowledge of Ben, White, or itself.
As the film unfolds, it's possible to loose track of what's reality and what's the dream realm. Astute viewers will notice Woelfel's use of Hitchcockian organizing principles, more specifically the use of color. Red signifying events occurring in Ben's dream world and blue representing his reality. The color scheme can be broken down further to reveal the motivations of specific character types as well as those who will die and become either servants or slaves to the dream realm.
Not only is the film non-linear in construction, but it appears to be told in a third party perspective. While the events revolve around Ben and his dreams, it's a fellow psychology student, Eric, who actually grows in terms of a story arc. Early on, when both he and Dr. Noxx are introduced, Noxx pits Eric with a life or death crisis designed to test his ability to deal with high stress urgency. Not fairing well with Noxx's test, it's through Ben's involvement of Eric into the dream world that Eric is allowed to explore other avenues until he accepts that the buck must truly stop with him.
Through Eric, we also see how the dream creature is able to pass itself along and replay the scenario time after time. Viewers should also be aware that the color principles in Eric's blurred dream-reality aren't the same as Ben's, the rules that once worked are cast out the window when perspectives are changed.
I searched the internet to see if the poem from which the title draws its actually exists, but to my dismay a search of the "beyond dreams door is where horror lies" line didn't yield any results. It would be interesting to see if the full poem held any more insight and clues to help fully understand and decipher BEYOND DREAM'S DOOR. As much as I think that I might have a grasp on it, I can't help but feel that I've missed a layer someplace. There's just too much to this movie. Maybe a forth a viewing is in order, but a DVD commentary would be even better. The movie is too good to be another lost classic and I hope it sees a digital release soon.