30 Great Sci-Fi Dream Sequences

Have you just discovered that you’re not wearing any trousers? Is your cheese sandwich talking to you? Have you forgotten how to blink? Then you’re probably dreaming.

And it’s that kind of experience we’re reliving here, with 30 of sci-fi and fantasy’s greatest dream sequences. According to us. Because we’re experts – we like sleeping on the job.

As usual we’ve been pretty strict with the rules. Waking or drug-fuelled hallucinations are out – sorry Fringe. Alternate realities created by sentient beings are out – sorry, It’s A Wonderful Life. And it’s not supposed to be exhaustive; we know Supernatural has done dreams. These are just either our favourites or the ones we think are noteworthy for doing something a little different.

(This is, by the way, an updated and extended version of a feature from the SFX archives of 2010.)

30 Medium

Various

Okay, we kick off with a bit of a cheat – since Medium is a series about a psychic’s dreams, we could have filled the entire list with examples from numerous episodes, because it so often comes up with brilliantly bizarre imagery. Favourites include the cartoon killer chimps and the faux black and white silent movie. But if we had to pick one, then let’s go for Allison’s dream about how we never die in dreams (from “Bite Me”) with its bewildering array of archive footage and a very odd final twist when Allison wakes up as Vampira for no obvious reason.

29 Day Of The Dead

Romero’s third …Of The Dead zombie epic opens with a bizarrely mannered, but elegant nightmare sequence. A woman sits in a bunker. There are no windows. No door. Just bare, white walls. The only thing in the room is a calendar. Eerily, all the days in October are crossed off, but nobody’s turned to November. She stands up and crosses the room to the calendar, peering wistfully at its image of a pumpkin patch. She clearly longs for the outside world. As she reaches out to touch the picture… dozens of zombie arms burst through the wall and she spins around in an almost overly theatrical attempt to escape.

Then Sarah wakes up in a helicopter that’s patrolling the zombie-infested town below.

It’s a perfect mood-setter for a very claustrophobic horror film (even if the still above ruins the effect slightly by clearly revealing how the effect was achieved – believe us, when you’re watching the film, you’re too shocked to notice).