Deathdream (1972)

“He was a madman on a orgy of blood curdling terror …” There’s something seriously wrong with “Andy Brooks” (Richard Backus)! Despite being reported killed in action, the Vietnam War soldier has somehow made his way back home where he sits on a rocking chair in his upstairs bedroom in the dark—rocking back and forth endlessly with a permanently creepy look on his face. Oh yeah, then there’s the disturbing matter of the brutally murdered trucker (he had reportedly picked up a hitchhiker the night Andy arrived in town), as well as the dead family dog and the violent death of the local doctor (Henderson Forsythe). Although Andy’s father “Charles” (John Marley) wants to know what the hell happened to his son (in total frustration he ends up drinking himself into a stupor), Andy’s delusional mother “Christine” (Lynn Carlin) wants to protect him at all costs and Andy’s sister “Cathy” (Anya Ormsby) remains totally clueless. In one of the film’s best, creepiest and most outrageous scenes, Andy—wearing a turtleneck, dark sunglasses and black gloves—ends up on one of the strangest double dates in film history! Filmed in Brooksville, Florida, Deathdream (AKA Dead of Night) was based on W. W. Jacobs’ famous 1902 short story “The Monkey’s Paw.” A clever mix of family drama, zombie flick, dark comedy, atmospheric horror film and scathing critique of the Vietnam War, Deathdream definitely has something for everyone. Deathdream director Bob Clark (Black Christmas, Porky’s, A Christmas Story) and screenwriter Alan Ormsby also collaborated on several other films, including Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972) and Porky’s II: The Next Day (1983). The legendary Tom Savini served as makeup artist on the film. Marley is perhaps best known for his performance as sleazy film mogul “Jack Woltz,” the dumb son of a bitch who wakes up with the severed head of his prize horse in bed one morning in The Godfather (1972). In addition, both Marley and Carlin appeared in John Cassavetes’ critically acclaimed 1968 drama Faces.

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