Parasomnia (2008)


Parasomnia (2008)

In "Parasomnia," a stylish horror/thriller from director William Malone ("House on Haunted Hill," "Masters of Horror,") Laura Baxter is a young woman, literally a "sleeping beauty," who suffers from a medical condition called "parasomnia." A childhood accident victim, she is actually sleeping her life away, awakening briefly on rare occasions. Art student Danny Sloan falls in love with her, unaware that her hospital neighbor, a terrifying mass murderer and mesmerist named Byron Volpe has other, more sinister plans. Sloan helps Laura escape from her hospital prison only to discover that Volpe is about to enter her dreams.
IMDb   5.2 /10
TheMovieDb    4.9 /10
FilmAffinity   3.9 /10
Director William Malone
Writer William Malone
Release Date2008-10-17
Runtime1h 43mins
GenreHorror, Thriller
Content RatingR (R)
CompanyLuminous Processes, Rising Storm Productions
Madeline Volpe
Danny Sloan (as Dylan Purcell)
Philip Newby
Philip Newby
Record Store Owner
Nurse Receptionist
Dov Tiefenbach
Dov Tiefenbach
Billy Dornboss
Malcolm Foster Smith
Malcolm Foster Smith
Head of Security
Dr. Emil Corso
Nurse Margaret Evans
Young Danny Sloan
Mrs. Mulliner (Laura's Foster Mother)

Parasomnia (film)

Parasomnia is an independent horror film directed by William Malone and stars Jeffrey Combs, Timothy Bottoms and Dylan Purcell. The filming was funded by Malone himself, and its release was delayed due to difficulties securing distribution.


Danny Sloan 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 Dr. 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 neighbor has been murdered, and Laura attacks him with a knife while seemingly in a trance. When Detective Conroy, investigating the neighbor's death, comes to Danny's apartment, Laura kills him. Danny decides that Volpe must be controlling her, and decides that he must kill Volpe to stop him. He buys a handgun and visits the hospital, but Volpe overpowers him, escapes and takes Laura. Danny visits Volpe's derelict book shop, where Detective Garrett (Jeffrey Combs) finds him. After Volpe speaks to Garrett on the phone, he too falls under Volpe's control and takes Danny to Volpe. Volpe then sets Garrett to repeatedly playing Russian roulette.

Volpe explains to Danny that rather than just kill him, he must make Laura forget about Danny so that she will love only Volpe. Volpe hypnotizes Danny into denouncing his love for Laura, but the sound of a gunshot made by Garrett shooting himself breaks the spell, and Danny and Laura fight and finally defeat Volpe. Garrett, who was only wounded by the gunshot, then shoots Danny in the side of the head, rendering him comatose. The film ends with Danny and Laura being cared for together by Dr. Corso (Timothy Bottoms) back at the hospital.


  • Dylan Purcell as Danny Sloan
  • Cherilyn Wilson as Laura Baxter
  • Patrick Kilpatrick as Byron Volpe
  • Timothy Bottoms as Dr. Emil Corso
  • Dov Tiefenbach as Billy Dornboss
  • Jeffrey Combs as Detective Garrett
  • Jeff Doucette as Detective Conroy
  • Kathryn Leigh Scott as Nurse Margaret Evans
  • Janet Tracy Keijser as Sara
  • Alison Brie as Darcy
  • Katherine Carlsberg as Miranda
  • Sean Young as Madeline Volpe


Malone wrote the screenplay while he was working on the Masters of Horror episode "Fair-Haired Child". The film was financed by Malone and his friends, and filmed on the same stage on which he directed House on Haunted Hill (1999). The imagery in the film was inspired by surrealist artist Zdzisław Beksiński.


It premiered on October 17, 2008 at Screamfest Film Festival in the United States. E1 Entertainment released the film on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on July 13, 2010.