Dan Taylor's Strange Dream

Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of realityx against which they are dashed to pieces.

-Sigmund Freud

Imagine waking up and not knowing where you are or how you got there. Dan Taylor approached PhillyMagic with an idea for a short film he wanted to perform in.  In the video, he would perform one of magic’s most controversial and dangerous tricks, Through & Through. This is a stunt that has been around for centuries and was popularized by David Blaine's former magic consultant Dan Hauss.


The stunt requires the performer to pierce through his hand with an acupuncture needle. Pin-point accuracy is important to be sure not to hit a nerve ending in the hand.  Doing so could cause permanent damage.  Despite these risks Dan was adamant about performing this stunt.  Ideas were jumping around between Dan Taylor, Calvin Tan and Wilberto Casillas

Wilberto, who directed and produced the film happened to be researching REM behavior disorder after watching the film, Sleep Walk with me.  (REM Behavior Disorder can cause people to act out their dreams.)  This is where he drew his inspiration from.  

Wilberto recounts the story line:  “The story is simple, a guy is sitting at a table he’s tired, he falls asleep, he dreams and he wakes up to find that his dream really happened!”

The main idea was to capture that key moment on camera.   That idea became a piece of art.   Daniel says:  “The music and the visuals serve simply to freak them out.  My favorite thing about the video is actually the symbolism.”

At first glance the symbolism might not be immediately apparent to the viewer.  But take a closer look and you will see the king of hearts, queen of hearts and the eight of spades.  

The King of Hearts is the suicide king and it is often met with constant disappointment in others and they are frequently deceived or betrayed.   The suicide king symbolism parallels the theme of self-inflicted pain.

 The Queen of Hearts is the partner of the king of hearts and is talented in some artistic line, even if it's just in their appreciation of beauty or art.  This serves to reference the artistic expression in The Strangest Dream.

The Eight of Spades is often considered the healer Card.  Which goes with the theme of pain and then recovery from that pain.

“What at first started as a simple demo became a piece of art.”

–Calvin Tan

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published