DREAMWATCHER by Theodore Roszak


Email this review


Anyone who saw the recent film Dreamscape will get a severe case of dÉjà vu from this heavyhanded psychic/political thriller--which operates on the familiar premise that certain gifted types have the power to watch, even enter or control, other people's dreams. One such ""dreamwatcher"" is heroine Deirdre Vale, who has something of a nervous breakdown after her husband Peter goes honkers, killing two of their children and himself: after all, poor Deirdre had the additional nightmare of watching the dreams (homosexual/paranoid nightmares) that drove Peter insane. And Deirdre's search for therapeutic relief from her dream-watching has led her to the Devane Clinic, where Dr. Aaron Devane is doing advanced research on dreams. In recent weeks, in fact, Deirdre has become Dr. Devane's colleague as well as patient: he uses her detailed observations of patients' dreams for his studies. But what Deirdre doesn't know is that Devane is secretly working for a ruthless US-government agency--using an evil dreamwatcher named Moray to enter the dreams of certain international figures, destroying them with Acute Compulsive Somnipathy! (""Dredge up some emotionally charged item from the unconscious mind, work it down underneath the waking reflex, and establish a permanent linkage. That allows us to produce prolonged Sleep Terror. . ."") The latest target? Mother Constancia, a Teresa-like saint of the poor and a likely Nobel Prize-winner, but too leftwing for US tastes. So, thanks to Moray, Constancia has been having disturbing, ugly dreams--leading her to seek help at the Devane Clinic. Dr. Devane now tries to use Deirdre as an unknowing accomplice in driving Mother C. bananas--while Deirdre starts falling in love (using some erotic dreamwatching) with Constancia's assistant, handsome Father Ripley. And when Deirdre then discovers what's really going on, the melodrama heats up to a farfetched boil: the government-agency villains start killing people; Deirdre is psychically launched into a coma; and, for an imitation-Exorcist finale, Deirdre's daughter Laney is possessed by the evil ghost of dead dreamwatcher Moray. . . leading to an astral dream-battle for Laney's soul between devilish Moray and saintly Mother Costancia. Occasionally creepy, more often just silly--with unconvincing dream-sequences and long, talky chunks of pseudo-psychological gobbledygook.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1984
ISBN: 0595297641
Publisher: Doubleday