• Dreaming, The / Initiation (Katarina’s Nightmare Theater)



    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: 4/30/2013
    Director: Mario Andreacchio / Michael Pearce
    Cast: Arthur Dignam, Penny Cook, Gary Sweet / Rodney Harvey, Bruno Lawrence, Arna-Maria Winchester, Miranda Otto
    Year: 1988 / 1987
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    The Movie:

    A double-shot of some Australian-made 80s movies makes up the latest installment in Scorpion’s “Katarina’s Nightmare Theater” series, hosted by former wrestling star Katarina Leigh Waters. As with the rest of the discs released under the KNT banner (heh heh…that’s probably not the most flattering acronym is it?), Ms. Waters provides intros and outros to the movies. Aside from some green screen shenanigans she delivers some factoids about the films and the players, and if you so desire you can watch the movies without the sexy lady’s participation.

    First up is The Dreaming, a movie about a doctor who is haunted in her dreams by the restless spirit of an Aborigine. The young doctor Cathy Thornton (Penny Cook) tends to a dying young Aborigine woman, who was injured in an attempt to steal back sacred artifacts that were stolen from her people. Upon the death of the girl, Dr. Cathy begins her nightmares and dreamlike visions involving a tribe and an attacking group of fat ugly whalers. From there it delves into the realm of befuddlement, as the story doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense afterward. A relative seems possessed by a fat whaler ghost. That part seemed clear.

    A few semi-interesting kill scenes help this one limp along, but it doesn’t give it much support. There are too few and far too much time of tedious nothingness in between to hold much interest. The movie seems like it did have some thought put into it though, as it the look of the film is inviting enough with its (too long) dream sequences and imagery. Someone was certainly trying to make something of this stinker, but sadly whatever was that “something” is lost along the way. A tough one to sit through for certain, but it has the feel of having been a movie you’d catch on the USA Channel late Saturday night when trying not to pass out before you sobered up a bit. To some people, there’s a certain appeal to that.

    The second feature on this volume is titled Initiation, a movie dripping with 1980s nacho cheese. An American teenaged boy travels to Australia to live with his father after the death of his mother. He arrives in a world that sees him as an outsider and he sticks out like the huge dangling earring he sports throughout the picture. Danny (the late Rodney Harvey) isn’t exactly the apple of his father’s eye and his arrival disturbs the delicate balance that Nat (played by the late Bruno Lawrence) tries to maintain with his new family. His girlfriend (the late Arna-Maria Winchester) and her daughter Stevie (the not-late Miranda Otto) live with Nat and seem to accept Danny well enough with time (Stevie really accepts him), but he has a lot to prove to his dad.

    Nat gets into some trouble with drug smugglers as he agrees to fly bales of weed in this plane. Danny wants only to please his pop and helps him out, but the drug dealers are bad. Their actions cause a mishap in the air and its up to Danny to get his old man out of danger. But he messes that up and crashes the plane. It then becomes a war of wills between Danny and a forest (jungle?) in Australia, and he has to dig deep within himself, with the help of an Aborigine spiritual guide, to survive his quest for help. And it takes forever to get to the point where he finds that inner truth.

    If not for the serious 80s vibe this movie is soaked with and the great scenery, there wouldn’t be much of interest here at all. Its not anything more than a “coming of age” tale peppered with a little drug dealer action that almost seems tailor made to be an after school special. Miranda Otto is cute, and they sexualize her a bit, even though she doesn’t look over 15 in this one (she was 20). The 80s styles, the music, and the torn jeans keep it from going over the cliff, but even adding Miranda Otto doesn’t make it worth giving much of your precious time. Especially if you came to the table expected some sort of horror movie, which is what should be expected from Katarina’s Nightmare Theater.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Scorpion has done a nice job on both films by way of transfer. They both deliver a pleasing picture with good color representation and nice detail. The black levels seem pretty deep and the detail is certainly there. Skin tones look correct too. No aliasing or artifacts were noticed in either movie and aside from minor print damage, there’s nothing more to mention. Audio is a 2.0 Dolby Digital track on both, and they provide nothing to complain about. Good balance, easy to understand, and at a good level. No issues were noticed.

    The extras are slim, with just an interview with the producer of The Dreaming. It runs a bit over ten minutes. Also on the disc is a batch of trailers for other releases from Scorpion: Body Melt, The Monster Club, Grizzly, and Day of the Animals.

    The Final Word:

    A couple of disappointing movies made even more disappointing by the fact that they are under the Nightmare Theater label. They just don’t fit with other movies in the series. But you completists just know you can’t live without this volume. You just can’t.