Although little known today, this was one of the most revolutionary
porn films of the 1980s, and remains a high point in a format that
contains very few.
Upon NIGHT DREAMS’ first appearance in 1981 it was
widely recognized as a watershed in XXX filmmaking, heralding a porno
renaissance that never quite occurred. Still, writer/producer Stephen
Sayadian, a.k.a. Rinse Dream, did his best to elevate the industry with
the popular (and highly overrated in my view) 1982 feature CAFÉ FLESH.
Sayadian also turned out a NIGHT DREAMS 2 and 3 in 1989 and ‘91,
respectively, but neither of those shot-on-video snooze-fests came close
to replicating the brilliance of the first NIGHT DREAMS. Other Sayadian
features include PARTY DOLL A-GO-GO 1 & 2 (both 1991), UNTAMED COWGIRLS
OF THE WILD WEST 1 & 2 (both 1993) and the non-porno DR. CALIGARI
NIGHT DREAMS’ talented director Francis Delia broke out
of the porn ghetto with the so-so 1988 thriller FREEWAY, and now works
largely in television, while co-writer Jerry Stahl went on to become a
successful TV scribe, novelist and offscreen druggie.
A couple of bored workers in a futuristic sex clinic
are monitoring the thoughts and fantasies of a severely repressed woman.
They attempt to electronically stimulate her libido, resulting in a
succession of eerie and bizarre erotic reveries.
In the first of the heroine’s fantasies she’s ogled by
giant clown heads, one of which penetrates her with its penis-like nose.
Following this is a more elaborate sexcapade involving lesbian cowgirls
in a surreal western setting, and then the woman is ravished by Arabs in
a harem. She also tries to seduce a robotic man, but upon unzipping his
fly pulls out a dead human fetus.
A succeeding fantasy has the woman raped in a bathroom.
Next she sucks off a guy encased in a giant cream of wheat box while
another guy outfitted as a slice of bread plays a saxophone. She later
wakes up in bed beside a large gasping fish, and eventually winds up in
The sex clinic workers become worried that they might
have over-stimulated their subject as she retreats ever further from
reality. They keep up the stimulation, however, as the woman undergoes a
final orgasmic fantasy.
For all its qualities, it’s important to remember that
this film is very much a product of the porn industry, meaning the
acting and narrative--which is really just an excuse for a lot of
extended fuck scenes--leave much to be desired. But the filmmakers
worked overtime, creating a subconscious fantasia worthy of David Lynch.
The highly artful, expressive lighting and evocative
sound design are of a quality that’s all-but unheard of in adult
moviemaking, and conjure a genuinely eerie and nightmarish atmosphere.
Much of the imagery is arrestingly bizarre, from the giant clown masks
that assault the heroine early on to that horny guy in the cream of
wheat box. There’s also a haunting rendition of “Ring of Fire” by Wall
of Voodoo that perfectly underscores the cowgirl sequence. While NIGHT
DREAMS only partially makes the grade as a real movie, by porno
standards it’s a veritable masterpiece.
Director: “F.X. Pope” (Francis Delia)
Producers: “Frank Delia” (Francis Delia), “Rinse Dream” (Stephen
Screenplay: “Herbert W. Day” (Jerry Stahl), “Rinse Dream” (Stephen
Cinematography: “F.X. Pope” (Francis Delia)
Editing: Pearl Diamond
Cast: Dorothy LeMay, Loni Sanders, Jennifer West, Kevin James, Fast
Steppin’ Freddie, Paul Berthell, Ken Starbuck, Jacqueline Lorains,
Danielle, Andy Nichols