Dream Journal

Gremlins Do-Over

My persona takes the form of Bobby Hill (from the King of the Hill cartoon), playing a lengthy game all the way through — making terrible choices in difficult situations the entire time. But as the game is about to end, I return to the first level and change my original actions… following a pair of invisible girls through a gateway I’d rejected previously as being an obvious trap. Surprisingly, everything clicks into place smoothly after that. It’s as if I’m playing on easy mode now. Because of this, I don’t know whether the rest of this dream narrative comes before or after…

Gremlins are released into the dream. Present in every scene, they somehow represent failings and hindrances I’ve acquired in adult life and have diverse transmogrified forms, perhaps a tequila bottle, or computer hardware. That would make this akin to Gremlins 2: The New Batch. The original gremlin isn’t cuddly either (like the Mogwai named Gizmo in the original), more like a small green papier-mâché spider one might imagine as a New Orleans parade float.

Another scene, an apartment set for a 1920s movie, an earlier era of Hollywood. It’s made to look like a sitcom that’s an agglomeration of cultures and ideas. One odd detail is a string of koosh balls garlanded around the kitchen island. The young actress who is playing the director has to have explained to her (given the inclusion of several “sensitive” African elements) why the scene is problematic. This is the first time the word is used this way on film, fairly early for when the actual movie was made in the year 2000.

Zooming out from this setting to a reality TV intro showing the cast next to another cast, meant to demonstrate their relative honesty and humble character.

In the same set, an iMac is brought in with a VHS slot to be repaired. There’s a minidisc or two inside and I offer to transfer it to digital by introducing myself to the cool woman who brought it in. I say I’ll get her contact info from my homepie friend Josh (also standing nearby). I have to prevent gremlin-rats from crawling inside the slot. What they represent, I’m not sure, but surely they represent something.

A Schwarzenegger-dad type stands on the steps at the top of a hallway giving ultimatums; it’s like having an angry Zeus for a father. I’m a small petulant boy, a bit like John Connor in the Terminator, stamping my feet in defiant rebellion. I purposefully walk up the steps to pass this dad of mine to express my frustration, only for his façade of tough love to crack into love and forgiveness for me.

I find a long-lost brother of mine. He’s younger, without my knowledge of alcohol or drugs (this is filmed facetiously, a plate of dried leaves being snorted, something to throw the kiddies off) or really any of life’s inevitable mistakes. We search for a place I encountered earlier — a place which called me in my own father’s voice — as we walk through hallways in a near-symbolic (non-realistic) space. We suddenly find the same door again, leading to the command deck of an old-timey submarine. But my brother half-heartedly feigns some reason he doesn’t want to go in. I pretend not to understand his objections. However, when we enter it’s at an earlier stage than when I visited before; it’s still being constructed as it’s a stage set, the wooden ribs of the submarine exposed. One detail: someone has to go and manually rope something up outside, wrapping rope around their shoulders and torso, implied to be a suicide mission — they call it “happy man”.

The dream ends, or perhaps starts over.

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