Had two nightmares the other night. We won’t talk in detail about the first, where dream me decided to watch the first few minutes of The Shining with my brother. Of course, being a dream, my brain showed me something that was both not The Shining and, absurdly, much more terrifying than The Shining. Suffice to say, it was the type of nightmare where you feel utterly trapped by the horror, unable to move or even breathe lest it take notice and turn towards you—sluggishly, monstrously, like some tarry Titan of the subconscious, an unholy absence projected against the night sky—and, once facing, its hollow eye-sockets would feast on your quivering soul.
So yeah, I don’t feel like talking about that dream at length.
I’d much rather talk about the other dream which, once you take out the flying and add a plot, could be a quality horror movie. Because flying sort of bleeds the tension out of everything.
The whole thing takes place at a wealthy dinner party out in a rural manse. Everyone is having a great time—in fact, to the audience they would be quite a delight to watch: a shared wealth of hilarious anecdotes they are just tipsy enough to re-share. The first act of the movie doesn’t play at all like a horror movie as no attempts are made at foreshadowing or building tension or even suggesting that the genre is anything other than comedy.
As the evening goes on though, with games and competitions and dancing and whatnot to keep the material varied, all but one of the guests subtly metamorphs into violent, bat-shit crazy psychopaths. Laughing maniacally, hallucinating lemurs, stabbing each other to death with serving forks, screeching paranoid screeds about the infiltration of Reptilians among the partygoers (the lemurs are their mammalian brains fighting back, trying to reveal the truth,) and generally falling all over themselves like blackout drunks.
But, as mentioned, one of the guests is unaffected. And, as people around him are murdered left and right in brutal and absurd fashions, he must find a way to survive the chaos (this was me in the dream, and this the moment I discovered I could fly.) Eventually, he realizes that the only way to survive is to be the last one standing—there is neither hope for a cure, nor a chance to outlast the psychotic spell. And so the only sane person left at the party has to himself become psychotically violent to triumph, ingeniously violent. And as the movie draws to a climax, the final foes actually begin to rot while still alive. Of course, he lives. But only by the skin of his teeth.
At the very end of the film, he listens as the M.E. explains that the cause was a rather fast-acting and severe case of ergotism, resulting from extremely ergot-infected rye bread served with dinner. To which our protagonist responds, “So that’s it? A fungus? And I’m standing here, alive, merely because I have fucking celiac disease? A disease which I happen to fucking despise?” “Well, yes, sir. It saved your life. You should be thankful.” “Thankful? Have you ever had a fucking gluten-free cookie?”