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Deathdream [DVD] [1974] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Wea-Des Moines Video
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00026PA70
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,832 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

A war casualty returns to his parents with a new outlook on life and a syringe to draw vital fluids.

Customer Reviews

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw "Deathdream" as part of an all-night horror film show at a Georgia (U.S.A.) drive-in. It had already been around for many years, including on t.v. But it was especially good on a big screen on a warm Georgia night. This DVD contains numerous extras, some which were pretty rare finds. The director, the late Bob Clark, went on to make the first two "Porky's" films and the modern American holiday classic, "A Christmas Story". "Deathdream" is based on the classic horror short story, "The Monkey's Paw". It was filmed on location in the west coast Florida town, Brooksville. It features some excellent and early make-up effects by the then (1972) unknown Tom Savini. Richard Backus is chilling as "Andy Brooks" and John Marley is also excellent as his father "Charlie". Although there are moments of graphic violence, it is not as explicit as many films being made today. If you are a fan of good horror films, I simply cannot recommend this low-budget gem to you highly enough.
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Deathdream (AKA Dead Of Night, The Night Andy Came Home) is a great little intelligent horror film.
Whilst George Romero was scrabbling around for another good idea to follow on from his seminal, brutal and scathing Night Of The Living Dead, Bob Clark seized the opportunity to amplify the sense of disillusionment and nihilism of Romero's masterpiece with this tale of an ordinary boy who comes back from Vietnam to his family profoundly altered. You see, Andy's dead and has become a murderous ghoul who needs to inject human blood to stave off the inevitable necrosis and preserve his boyish good looks.
His arrival as a monosyllabic shadow of his former self perplexes his family (who had been told he was dead), then leads to a total disintegration of their relationships with each other.
Deathdream plays with themes of the effect of Vietnam on combatants, the generational strife their trauma created with older Americans who didn't distinguish Nam from WW2 and Korea, the drug addiction some returning GI's succumbed to and a ghastly Oedipal power struggle between Andy's overprotective mother and more distant father.
A great cast plays out this melodrama with conviction, and it's all wrapped in a delicious horror coating with Andy slowly becoming more menacing (at one point he strangles the family dog in front of some neighborhood kids) homicidal and zombielike (great make up effects by Tom Savini in his first film outing.)
A real gem, it feels harsh to only give 4 stars, but I'm doing so in recognition of the fact that grainy low budget early 70's Nam allegories aren't going to appeal to everyone.
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In Vietnam, a young soldier called Andy is gunned down and killed. His family receive a letter informing them of his death, but his mother completely refuses to believe the news. Later that night, Andy's mother rocks back and forth saying she knows he's still alive, as he promised he wouldn't die. The family wake in the middle of the night when they hear noises coming from downstairs, they soon discover Andy has come home apparently unharmed. Putting the letter of his death down to a clerical error, they celebrate his return. Over the next few days, it becomes clear that something is very wrong with Andy.

Richard Backus is chilling as Andy, he's so cold and detached. This was his first acting role and it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role, though I believe Christopher Walken was the director's first choice. For some reason he didn't have a particularly good career, and gave up acting in 1992. John Marley adds some real star quality as Andy's father, Charles. It's his character that first starts to suspect that something's wrong with Andy, he's torn between the love he has for his son and the horror of what he's becoming. Marley was nominated for an Oscar the year before for his performance in Love Story, he also appeared in The Godfather earlier the same year as Deathdream. Lynn Carlin is also excellent as Andy's mother, Christine. No matter what Andy does, she absolutely refuses to believe that anything is wrong, this leads to some really good scenes between herself and Marley. Carlin was another who was Oscar nominated for her film debut in 1968 called Faces, a film in which she starred along side her Deathdream co-star John Marley.
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Format: DVD

When the Brooks family sit round the dinner table, a false jockularity masking an unspoken fear, there is a knock at the door. A knock that they had been dreading for some time. Charlie and Christine Brooks are informed that their son Andy has been killed whilst fighting in the Vietnam War. Christine just cannot believe that this is the truth, and her prayers are answered when late into a dark night a visitor comes to the Brooks' house. Andy has returned from the war, but soon the celebrations turn sour, as Andy is a very different person from the one that left to fight for his country.
'Be careful what you wish for' seems to be the moral of this superb low budget 70's horror film, a highly succesful updating of Poe's 'The Monkey's Paw'. This is a tremendously adult affair , made back in the era when horror films were made to scare the audience rather than to aim a knowing post modern nudge towards the jaded audience. It's a film that explores the reactions of middle America towards the Vietnam conflict through the eyes of this one family and their fragile emotions towards the return of the prodigal son. Long hidden tensions within the family erupt to the surface when unpalatible home truths come to light.
John Marley is excellent as the tortured father Charlie who fears the worst but cannot bring himself to act on his fears. Lynn Carlin is equally good as the mother who wishes her son back. The real star however is Richard Backus who is terrific as the haunted, angry Andy, a difficult part that requires a lot of physical presence and non-verbal expression of emotions.
The two standout sequences are the scenes that bookend the film. The afore-mentioned family reunion, and the horrific climatic scenes at the drive-in.
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