It’s a wonder I bother renting movies

Another incredibly elaborate SF movie dream last night.

The premise: Three friends driving home late one night try to take a shortcut. They take a wrong turning and enter an unmarked tunnel. It seems to be unfinished construction work. They reason that it must come out somewhere, and decide to follow it. After a long while, they are surprised to find some kind of checkpoint, like the US-Canada border station, where they can park their car and enter… where?

Curious, they park and make their way in. They discover an entire underground city, apparently a completely separate civilization. Although the people speak English, they have their own currency, their own peculiar social and political conventions, and so on. These people apparently visit our world from time to time, but mostly live in theirs.

The three friends make their way in, and try to blend in and see what’s going on. They soon discover that while the place is mostly inhabited by humans, it is seemingly run by a race of humanoid, possibly alien, insects. The humans are fully aware of this and apparently comfortable with it; humans and insects work alongside each other in positions of authority, though it seems that the ultimate authority is always insect. Perhaps the aliens do a really good job?

Our friends separate, and one of them discovers that all is not as well as it initially appeared. Unknown to the human population and its insect rulers, a sub-species or cult of the insects is making plans to take over. The cultists are gradually replacing people with insect doppelganger, in the usual sci fi manner. The rest of the plot was interesting but convoluted, involving philosophical questions of whether a duplicate can be a close enough duplicate that it unintentionally begins to pick up the attitudes and values of the original. Rather Philip K. Dick, really, and a cut above the usual way this theme is treated.

Interestingly enough, I dreamed that I was watching all this in a multi-screen cinema. Supposedly the movie was directed by Douglas Trumbull, who was now working with synchronized multi-screen presentation… So there were parts of the movie where I could turn around and see what was happening in a different direction.

The attention to detail was amazing. All of the vehicles in the underground city had a slightly alien quality to them, the buildings were futuristic—even the houses—and there was a hexagonal, insectoid quality to the layout of the streets.