24 July 2019 | BA_Harrison
I dream of daddy with the bright red scythe.
At the centre of Dream No Evil there is a fairly simple story about psychosis, in which the main character, Grace MacDonald (played as an adult by sexy redhead Brooke Mills) conjures up a make-believe world in which she is reunited with her long-lost father. It's the off-beat manner in which writer/director John Hayes tells his tale that makes the film so unique and compelling.
Dream No Evil opens with Grace as a young child in an orphanage, convinced that one day her daddy will come and take her away. He never does, and Grace grows up to become a mentally fragile young woman working as an assistant to preacher Rev. Paul Jessie Bundy (Michael Pataki) in his circus-style roadshow, and engaged to Jessie's brother, Dr. Patrick Bundy (Paul Prokop). When Grace gets a call from an undertaker/pimp for elderly hookers (Marc Lawrence), telling her that he has found her father, she drives to the funeral parlor/brothel, where she sees her daddy's corpse. No sooner has Grace wished that her old man was still alive, and up he hops off the slab to kill the mortician.
Grace leaves Jessie's travelling show to live with her father (Edmond O'Brien) on a ranch, but dear old daddy's murderous urges prevent her from finding happiness. Jessie gets his head bashed in when he tries to seduce Grace and local cop Sheriff Mike Pender (William Guhl) is impaled by a scythe (a hilariously bad scene). As events unfold, a voice-over makes it abundantly clear that it is Grace who is the real killer. When Patrick turns up to tell Grace that he's leaving her for his co-worker Shirley (Donna Anders), the loopy lass goes crazy with an axe.
There's no gore to speak of in this horror oddity (or nudity for that matter), and the performances are merely adequate (albeit suitably strange), but Hayes' bizarre directorial style and the film's occasional surreality make it required viewing for fans of psychotronic movies: Grace's panty-flashing Irish jig is a marvel to behold, and is followed by one of the strangest slow-motion scenes I have ever witnessed. Grace's bedroom transformation comes out of the blue and Shirley's bloody roast duck supper is peculiar to say the least. While I would hesitate to call Dream No Evil a good film, I would definitely call it an interesting one. Give it a go: you might like it.