It occurred to me several days ago that in the 1990 version of Total Recall, that if you take the events of the film as "true" (not as Quaid's virtual vacation or mental deterioration), then the dream Quaid had at the beginning of the movie, which I had always assumed to be Hauser's memory bleeding through the implant, could actually have been part of the memory implant.

For Cohaagen's plan to work, Quaid would have to get his ass to Mars, hook up with Melina, and be brought to Kuato at some point. How was he going to do that? He seemed to pretty content on Earth with young, nubile Sharon Stone as his wife. And this was before she did Basic Instinct, so he didn't even need to hide the ice picks. Sure, he expressed interest in vacationing on Mars, but that certainly doesn't lead to a happily married man heading to the red light district to be spotted by someone who would recognize him as Hauser.

So, did Cohaagan implant the interest in Mars and dream-Melina to ensure that Quaid would seek out the real Melina specifically?

  • I was assuming the Resistance would have been goaded into making contact with him on Earth.
    – user7812
    Mar 18, 2016 at 21:28
  • But they didn't know where he was. To them, Hauser had simply vanished. And it wasn't likely they'd hear about some construction worker on Earth that looks like Hauser, either. Mar 18, 2016 at 21:32
  • Yes, hence the goading. Cohaagen's men would have kept dropping hints until they'd worked out where he'd gone.
    – user7812
    Mar 18, 2016 at 21:42
  • They wouldn't have to. Cohaagan, undercover as Quaid, had met Melina before his memory was locked away.
    – cde
    Mar 18, 2016 at 21:46
  • @cde, Quaid had never met Melina. Hauser did. Quaid should have no memory of being Hauser. Mar 18, 2016 at 21:56

1 Answer 1


As a direct (opinion) answer to the question: probably yes, but Cohaagen didn't have to. A different way to ask the question would be What exactly was Cohaagen's plan regarding how he gets Quaid (not Houser) to Mars? The movie plot does not fully explain this, but after Quaid and Malina are caught, Cohaagen talks about what was and wasn't in his plan. Here is an extract from the movie at about (1:47:00):

Cohaagen: ... [Quaid got help from Benny, the guy with the suitcase, etc] ... All of that was set up by us.

Quaid: Sorry, too perfect.

Cohaagen: Perfect my ass! You pop your memory cap before we can activate you. Richter goes hog wild ... [emphasis my own]

KEY POINT: There is an unexecuted, and crucial, part of Cohaagan's plan that would have happened once Quaid was "ACTIVATED". That could have included an unavoidable desire to go to Mars to do a task, starting with checking into a specific hotel in order to get a message. The message would steer him to Melina, regardless of her profession. The guy with the suitcase could have been a Plan B backup.

That's just an example (probably among many) that would cleanly explain all of your concerns.

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