PARASOMNIA (2008) Reviews and overview

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Parasomnia is a 2008 American horror feature film directed by William Malone (FeardotComScared to Death; House on Haunted Hill) and starring Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator; Would You Rather), Timothy Bottoms (The Fantasist) and Dylan Purcell (The Unknown/Clawed).

The filming was funded by Malone himself, and its release was delayed due to difficulties securing distribution. Director John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) has a cameo role as a department store manager.

Danny Sloan (Purcell) is an art student who works in a record shop. He visits his friend Billy (Dov Tiefenbach), who is in drug rehab in hospital. Billy suggests Danny goes to see the “psycho ward” before he leaves, to see Byron Volpe (Patrick Kilpatrick), a serial killer kept in a padded cell after being convicted of murdering his wife Madeline (Sean Young) by hypnotizing her into jumping from a building. Volpe is explained to have extraordinary powers of hypnotism and is kept restrained and hooded to stop hospital staff from seeing his eyes.

During the visit, Danny sees Laura Baxter (Cherilyn Wilson) sleeping in the room next to Volpe. She suffers from a form of parasomnia in which she sleeps most of the time, and wakes occasionally for short periods of time.


Danny falls in love with Laura, and continues to visit her at the hospital. When he finds out that she is due to move to a clinic run by Doctor Bhyle (Louis Graham) where she will be used for medical experimentation, he resolves to rescue her. Disguised as a doctor from the Bhyle clinic, he kidnaps her and takes her to his apartment. The following morning Danny discovers that a neighbour has been murdered, and Laura attacks him with a knife while seemingly in a trance…


” … for a low budget independent film (Malone funded the movie entirely out of his own pocket!), the dreamscapes and various visual setpieces are pretty damn astonishing. But while it’s certainly an improvement over the storytelling of his last film (Feardotcom), there were a couple story issues that kept me from really loving the film.” Horror Movie a Day

” … the real eye-candy comes in Laura’s vivid nightmares taken from Beksinski’s paintings and animated by both CGI and practical make-up effects. Even if the excessive puppetry and elaborate set-pieces at the end of the film somewhat slow it down and turn it into a side-show attraction and video-spot, the credits earned by then make them palatable, and the very last scene is a darkly beautiful final touch to this bravely unconventional film.”  Beyond Hollywood


” … deliciously kinky, wonderfully quirky, and fully deserving of the attention of any horror fan who fancies something off the straight and narrow. It deserves to be better known, and I hope William Malone gets the chance to make some more eclectic, eccentric and elegant pictures like this one.” House of Mortal Cinema


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