Dream Journal

’36, Night Crashers 2

“Night Crasher” was a famous storm (perhaps even hurricane) which — you might be surprised to learn — was actually promoted by Hollywood and its movie stars in 1936. There are posters and other artifacts which I find fascinating and puzzling. Why promote a storm, and how did they know it was coming? Was it a real storm? I’m fairly certain it was a real film, as was alive to remember its decades-late sequel “Night Crasher 2”, released in the early ’90s.

A quaint, yellowed old-timey map shows a staggered row of island groups between the latitude above Australia and south of the equator. Never before have I seen these islands so presented (either grouped, or as a timeline) showing the odd order they were discovered, claimed, and settled. The map is even illustrated with cute icons to be helpful and memorable. Once again, this map was actually promoted by Hollywood media types at the time (so perhaps also from the 1930s).

I’m a small spry man of indeterminate age riding as a passenger in a car’s backseat. My companions and I travel at night in drizzly rain through an unfamiliar neighborhood. I’m not too familiar with my companions either, but they’ve also never been here. There’s an unacknowledged tension — as if we are all on a mission none of us signed up for. I weigh the balance of providing directions versus disturbing the group dynamic.

Soon it must be tested anyway; we arrive at our first destination. I tromp up a steep hillside of industrial scree to the curved wall of a concrete bunker. I’m the only one to have dealt with these people before, at some village-scale trade negotiations. With the vantage from climbing I now can see into their unobscured control room — no ceiling, disorderly but oft-used, a place of daily work for the overworked. We are summarily buzzed in and I must hop quickly after my taller male companion, as the timed doors close promptly after me.

An insouciant gray-haired lady greets us by suggesting we wait and go play table tennis. My companion is young and likes tasks requiring only brawn. He needs handholding, so I try to assure him that he simply doesn’t understand their ways here: they mean no disrespect, neither is it some kind of test. We really do only have to kill time. And pleasantly there is an actual pool table (or close enough).

After a while I leave through a different door within this compound, wanting to go outside to break up the time. Unexpectedly I encounter what must be the concert of the season going on… many people I know in wider social circles are seated across loads of metal balconies in this half stadium, all reveling. I’m glad I’m there: a few friends start hanging off the balcony rails; by chance I know the structure’s particular weaknesses. Once again I weigh the prudence of sharing advice. I’m glad I do share it this time, though.

Returning to the main room of the place, this industrial business compound, I meet up with my occasional friend Chloe. A great song starts playing and we spontaneously dance around the pool table. Turned away, with our butts pressed together, she offers a friendly warning: “don’t think this means any more than what it really does”. While playfully bumping/humping her from behind I respond in kind by quoting Rick Astley, “you know the game, and so do I.” This response lands well and I’m glad we’re on the level.

In my wallet I save keepsake political art made to look like dollar bills. These are even valid currency in some odd cases. I am only reminded when I go to pay for something (maybe the jukebox?) and I notice a $39 bill. It’s collectible, a feminist pro-union message as I recall, supporting daycare access for working women. Another one is an otherwise normal boring $10 bill. It’s design is so incredibly plain and modern that the overall effect strangely exotic. A sleeper hit, I guess we’d call it.

Dream Journal

The Amazing Spider-Man (1930)

This movie has been remade several times over the decades. The first one remains controversial, not for it’s content, but for the revelation that its main actress contracted syphilis. The film was funded by Catholics and (in order to deflect blame from themselves) producers claimed she caught it in a different film from 1922, that it had been incubating this entire time. I figure out by checking and corroborating different sources that she did in fact get it from doing a stunt on set.

“Boboomba!” is a memorable idiosyncratic onomatopoeia from the movie, written on screen in the style of a comic book just like later movies and TV shows. Only on waking do I realize Spider-Man wasn’t invented until the sixties.

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.