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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

1.04 --- Dreams for Sale

Directed by : Tommy Lee Wallace
Written by : Joe Gannon
Starring : Meg Foster, David Hayward
First aired : 4th of October, 1985.

A handsome woman (Meg Foster, The Osterman Weekend, They Live) is enjoying a picnic with her husband (David Hayward), twin daughters and a dog. The occasion : a new house and husband's raise. Perfect day at the lake suddenly turns awry when woman hears her husband pop the champaigne cork twice, while he insists he did it only once. Soon, his voice becomes distorted and echo-laden, and other sequences start to repeat - he asking her if she feels alright, his voice trembling, and so on.

In desperation, the woman screams, only to wake up in a futuristic-like hybernation chamber. We find out that she is a factory worker somewhere in the future, and that the only reprieve in this society is an occasional shot of "dreams" per your choice. The dreamer is convinced that the lake picnic is her reality, but the less-than-friendly dream machine technician (Vincent Guastaferro, who later portrayed Al Capone in made-for-TV Frank Nitti : The Enforcer with Anthony LaPaglia in the title role) remarks that that's just a sideeffect, and hurries her back to the chamber so she can spend the rest of her alotted time. The techie fixes the repeat bug, and sends her back to dreamland.

Once there, the dreamer confesses to her husband she had a strange dream about being a worker in a future factory. Right about then, her dream-a-tron shortcircuits and kills her in sleep, and she remains trapped in her picnic dream. Or, better said...liberated.

***

This 9-minute vignette, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (later the helmer for TV adaptation of Stephen King's It), is the first of its kind in the new Twilight Zone, and as such, its potential is limited - which doesn't mean it's a bad episode. As it stands, Dreams for Sale is another variation on the escapist idealism which was already used in previous TZ episodes, most notably The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine and A Stop at Willoughby. Yet, it manages to be slightly different by involving a futuristic twist and the idea of human drones being kept in check by pre-programmed lifelike dreams - so next time when you hear someone dribble about The Matrix being the high point of Hollywood creativity, do direct him here.

David Hayward looks like the stock 70's soap husband, which was the goal I guess, and Meg Foster is solid if not spectacular, despite her overplaying her "future" part and coming off rather whiney. However, with those amazing eyes of her, I can never find her boring - her glance is just hypnotic. All in all, a solid filler.

Comments on "1.04 --- Dreams for Sale"

 

Anonymous Something_Wicked_451 said ... (9:15 AM) : 

I don't consider this story filler, I think it is the best segment of the episode. Even though it's kind of predictable, I thought it was really chilling and affective.

 

Anonymous James Evans said ... (9:58 PM) : 

I've had nightmares like this. I thought this was more suited for an Outer Limits style show than the Twilight Zone, but any way it happens I am glad it was made. Good show and I never tire of seeing Meg Foster.

 

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