Scream Dream (1989)

Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.

You love VFW heavy metal. You love hand puppets. And of course, you love the shit out of genital violence. Yet, you feel alone. Anxious. Guilt-ridden over your enthusiasm for interests that aren’t exactly orthodox. Scream Dream understands. Scream Dream is listening to your problems. Scream Dream is making spaghetti, popping a bottle of Chardonnay, and taking off your pants. This is what Scream Dream does. And when Scream Dream does something, it does it very, very well. Just ask Linnea:

“Hey Linnea, you are just the drummer’s fucking girlfriend AND THAT’S ALL.”

Scream Dream is glorious, significant, and borderline illiterate. Another Tennessee SOV from Donald Farmer, this film portends to be a heavy metal horror film. It delivers on that promise, as long as your definition of “heavy metal” involves Southwestern tapestries and vocals-without-mouth-movement. But, there’s something fresh going on. Like Twisted Issues, Scream Dream is a SOV horror film that is also a document of a music scene. In this case, it’s the one that surrounds real-life band RIKK-O-SHAY and their friends. The whole thing runs 69 minutes. There are Amiga graphics everywhere. The protagonist is a male back-up singer. For all of these reasons, Scream Dream is a final triumph. For SOV. For you and me. And most certainly for Derrick, the back-up singer with a leonine perm.

After an unrelated chainsaw-to-the-vagina credit roll, things continue to happen. Michelle Shock is the lead singer for an incognito RIKK-O-SHAY. She gives a fan named Rick a blowjob, turns into a demon, then castrates Rick with her mouth. Derrick is one of two back-up singers in the band. He goes to Michelle’s house so they can have sex. She turns into a demon puppet. Derrick kills her. Lou Sharkey is the band’s record label liaison. He yells a lot and says, “I’m not talkin’ to no reporters — especially cunts on the rag!” Lou hires a new singer named Jamie. Derrick goes to Jamie’s house so they can have sex. Jamie reveals her boobs and tries to stab Derrick during the height of passion (which consists of palms-on-faces and gentle rubbing). Derrick says, “No way, bitch!” and walks out. Linnea, as you know, is just the drummer’s fucking girlfriend.

Scream Dream keeps going. Even when RIKK-O-SHAY performs their six minute Courtney Love-meets-Skid Row non-opus “Ball Buster.” Even when the demon lady calmly mugs for the camera. And especially when Derrick gets his crotch bitten by a wet puppet. Dubbing overlaps existing audio, incidental music is provided by one drum machine and one shredding guitar, and cardboard boxes stand in for furniture. The film drunkenly floats, roams, and stumbles until it ends. Why did it have to end?

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