May 18, 2016 11:02am
Dead But Dreaming ~ Reviewer Rated
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Rich Moreland
Directed by Jac Avila, Dead but Dreaming is a production of Bolivia's Pachamama Films and stars Amy Hesketh, Mila Joy, Claudia Moscoso, Veronica Paintoux, and Jorge Ortiz. The language is Spanish but the DVD includes a version with English subtitles. Commentary on making the film from Avila and Hesketh (in English) is also included.
This is my first venture into a non-hardcore film and I am pleasantly surprised.
Dead but Dreaming is an erotic horror film with a vampire theme but very little blood and gore. However, there is a heavy dose of sadomasochism in a softcore framework that features lots of nudity. The floggings and crucifixions feature an alluring display of bared female flesh. But this film is more than horror. It's also a historical drama armed with a political message (the oppressed woman) wrapped in a supernatural fantasy.
The story cuts across three time periods, the present being Bolivia in 1805 during its rebellion against Peru. The exotic Bolivian actress Mila Joya plays a sultry slave named Aphrodisia who joins the undead during her crucifixion in ancient Antioch. Now a vampire slave, Aphrodisia travels through time with Asa (Jac Avila), the vampire lord who uses her for his pleasure, especially when applying the leather to her naked torso.
The Irish traveler, Moire (Amy Hesketh), arrives in LA Paz as a gun runner for the Bolivian rebels. She is the central character of the film whose fate is shaped by the plot's backstory. Additionally, the Church, famous for minimizing women, plays a vital role in the narrative (this is South America, after all). Case in point is Nahara (Veronica Paintoux), a vampire who lusts after Moire in a relationship of the supernatural variety. She is the Lamia the Church fears and is later punished at the hands of a priest (Jorge Ortiz). As with Aphrodisia, there's lots of skin in Nahara's crucifixion scene.
Above all, this film is Amy Hesketh at her best. As Moire, she is arrested, stripped of her clothes, and publicly humiliated at the whipping post (the BDSM crowd will love this scene). Throw in a rape in her cell and Hesketh’s performance is convincing in a role that is physically demanding. By the way, the actress notes in the BTS that her body is her instrument and we clearly understand why. Her European looks contrast nicely with the all-Bolivian cast, giving variety to the film's eroticism.
What makes Dead but Dreaming so delightful is the realism of Moire's ordeal. There are no shortcuts. We witness every one of the thirty-six lashes and there are real marks on the prisoner's flesh.
In vampire land, sex is about biting and sucking (in the Dracula tradition) and the scenes with Asa and Aphrodisia are particularly suggestive. Vampire bisexuality is evident when Nahara and a nude Moire feed off each other before chomping into one of the guards. And as mentioned, a partially naked Moire is degraded at the hands of soldiers in simulated sex that is not vampire oriented.
The bottom line is this. Dead but Dreaming is beautifully filmed as softcore but has all the ingredients to be more had the production team chose that route.
For anyone interested in Amy Hesketh's work, her acting career is built on BDSM scenes that play with torture themes the American sweetheart has turned into her performance art. Check out Maleficarum, also directed by Avila, in which she and Mila Joya are female victims of the Spanish Inquisition.
Dead but Dreaming is an indie product with a limited budget; nevertheless, the costumes and landscape are impressive.
Though the DVD format is above average in price, online streaming is available for less.
Rating: Power on and rewind if you're into BDSM and a great story.