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47 customer reviews

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(Jun 29, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

John Marley, Richard Backus. A suburban family is devastated to learn of their son's death in Vietnam, but they are shocked to find that he has returned home, alive and well...or is he? 1974/color/88 min/R/widescreen.

Special Features

  • Tom Savini:  The Early Years
  • Deathdreaming  Interview with Star Richard Backus
  • Alternate Opening Titles
  • Extended Ending Sequence
  • Theatrical Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: John Marley, Lynn Carlin, Richard Backus, Henderson Forsythe, Anya Ormsby
  • Directors: Bob Clark, David Gregory
  • Writers: Alan Ormsby
  • Producers: Bob Clark, Geoffrey Nethercott, Gerald Flint-Shipman, John Trent, Peter James
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Blue Underground
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2004
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00026PA70
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,638 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Deathdream" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Michael R Gates VINE VOICE on July 20, 2004
Format: DVD
In the horror flick DEATHDREAM, director Bob Clark and screenwriter Alan Ormsby borrow the basic concept from author W.W. Jacobs' famous short story "The Monkey's Paw" and remold it into a low-budget but effective statement against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. DEATHDREAM tells the story of a U.S. soldier (Richard Backus) who is killed in Vietnam but nonetheless returns home exhibiting some semblance of life. However, unbeknownst to his family--happily surprised to see him after having been informed by the Army that he was killed--he has become a vampiric zombie who must ingest human blood to maintain the pretense of being alive. The problems that his undead state causes for him and his loved ones are really intended as allegorical reflections of the devastating effects of the Vietnam War on returning vets and their families.

As a horror film, DEATHDREAM is clearly a product of its time. In spite of the compelling plot and the presence of accomplished thespians among the cast--e.g., actor John Marley, here playing the soldier's father, made cinema history with his Oscar-nominated performance as the businessman who wakes up next to a severed horse's head after refusing Marlon Brando's offer in THE GODFATHER (1972)--the dialog is often inordinately histrionic and the acting therefore very melodramatic at times. To be fair, though, these qualities add a sense of surrealism that mostly complements rather than detracts from the film's creepiness, and such histrionics and melodrama actually comprise an aesthetic that is common to many horror greats of the '70s such as Tobe Hooper's
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. on February 7, 2008
Format: DVD
Deathdream is one of Bob Clarks first films from the early seventies, it's an original and interesting take on the zombie genre and one of my personal favorite zombie flicks.
After a family recieves notice that they're son Andy has died in the Vietnam war, you can imagine they're shock when he returns home presumamably normal, but he is far from normal, Andy is now a blood-fiend that must inject himself with blood in order to stay alive. Muhahaha!!!!!..........Muhahahaha!!!!!
Special Effects are handled by Tom Savini and this is some of his earliest work, even though on the box it says that this is his first film doing effects, it was actually his second after his first job on Deranged (come on Blue Underground?!?!). Bob Clark shows his direction skills as always, Deathdream has a great screeplay, acting, and social commentary on the effects of war (that is just as relevant now that it was then) reminiscant of Romero films. Check it out, if you have the balls.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steven Cummings on June 29, 2004
Format: DVD
Aside from another rediscovered cult classic - LEMORA, A CHILD'S TALE OF THE SUPERNATURAL - DEATHDREAM has always been my favorite horror film from the 1970's that haunted me on numerous late-night TV showings. I've watched this cult classic countless times and have come in contact with numerous bad quality prints on VHS, complete with extremely cheesy box artwork!!! For years I've hoped for a DVD remastering of this special film, and now, thanks to Blue Underground, we have the definitive edition. DEATHDREAM is now in anamorphic widescreen, from a remastered negative and accompanied by juicy extras to please hardcore fans like me! Although there are times when a bit of grain is still noticeable in a few sequences, this is THE version to own.
For the 'virgin viewer,' you're in for a treat. DEATHDREAM is a grim, low-key, and extremely eerie film that benefits from great performances by John Marley, Lynn Carlin, and especially Richard Backus as Andy; a chilling AND moving script by Alan Ormsby; an unsettling music score by Carl Zittrer; grisly makeup effects by Orsmby and a young Tom Savini; and screw-tightening direction by Bob Clark. The overall effect is tragic and haunting.
The film was one of the first to address the cataclysmic after-effects of the Vietnam war when veterans returned to their families. Andy plays one such veteran, a young man whose parents receive the awful news that their son has been killed in action. The night they receive this information there's a knock at their front door. It is Andy, although they are shocked at his pale, sunken face and expressionless demeanor.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By K. Brown on August 8, 2004
Format: DVD
Many of us baby-boomers remember "Deathdream" as a staple of late night T.V. horror flicks like "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things" and "Psychomania." Many films in this B-Movie horror genre, when released on DVD, get the "Budget Buy" treatment: just the movie, no cool "behind the scenes" or "Movie Trailer" extras.

So imagine how jazzed I was to pick up this DVD expecting only the bare-bones movie, and found a cool mountain of extras including Commentary by Director Bob Clark, Commentary by screenwriter Alan Ormsby (who also wrote and starred in the abovementioned "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things"), a Tom Savini feature, an interview with lead man Richard Backus, not to mention the cool theatrical trailer.

Just hours after learning that Andy has been killed in Vietnam, his family is pleasantly shocked to find their lost beloved show up at their doorstep, looking very much alive, albeit a bit shell-shocked. With vampiric needs and zombie mannerisms, the horror ride begins!

Of the bonus features, I enjoyed the interview with Richard Backus the most. When I read that the interview length was 12 minutes, I thought it would be low key and trivial, but the crew wound packing a lot of cool information into that 12 minutes! Richard Backus has aged really well, and its hep to see that he has fond memories of his campy first film role. He is even good-humored enough to recreate one of his more over-the-top moments in the film! Backus went on to appear in a number of movies and several Soaps, including "As the World Turns" into the early 1990s.

As for the film itself, what trips me out about "Deathdream" is that while it has a low budget and campy feel, the performances, direction, and editing are quite exceptional.
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