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Deathdream (1974) - Blu-ray Review

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Deathdream (1974) - Blu-ray Review

4 beersIf the explosive opening of Deathdream, in which a young soldier meets his untimely end, doesn’t blow you out of your seat, there’s another chance nine minutes later.  While a family grieves over the unexpected news that their son won’t be returning home from the war, a rocking chair-bound figure prays for safe passage and two headlights cut through the darkness of the room.  The lights travel halfway through the screen before the scene completely shifts and we are standing on the side of the road, just waiting to be picked up.  Suddenly, thanks to this expert shift in POV, we become the dead. 

Director Bob Clark was a visionary director of horror.  Fact.  The first three films he completed solidified his standing among Horror’s Elite – even if the rest of the world is only recently realizing this.  Another fact.  As a result, his work in the genre remains highly influential.  They are all, in their own unique way, certifiable standouts in the genre. 

Even if he never did A Christmas Story or Porky’s, he’d still have a three-film legacy of horror to be remembered for.  With this review, though, we are honoring Clark’s efforts for one film alone. It is, in fact, the debut for this film in sparkling Blu-ray.  Deathdream is finally unleashed in HD, thanks to a full restoration from a long thought lost original negative, and the results – highlighting Clark’s knack for creating suspense from unsettling camera angles – couldn’t be more fantastic.

From Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things to Black Christmas, the middle child – Deathdream aka Dead of Night, The Night Andy Came Home, and The Night Walk – is the one that most commonly gets ignored.  Not anymore.  Finally arriving on blu-ray, thanks to Blue Underground’s efforts, Deathdream is allowed the chance to get the recognition from Horror Hounds that it rightly deserves.

It draws its main inspiration from a short story, “The Monkey’s Paw”, by  W. W. Jacobs yet – thanks to a couple of great performances from Academy Award nominees John Marley (The Godfather) and Lynn Carlin (Faces) and awesome makeup effects from gore guru Tom Savini (in his debut) – the b-movie smokes its originator in the fear element as a fallen soldier returns home to his grieving family, only to scare the shit out of what remains of their frail nerves.

You see, they weren’t expecting him home at all.  They were told that he had been killed in service to his country, but his mother prayed for his safe return.  And her prayers were answered – sort of.  Andy (Richard Backus) has come home, but he needs blood in order to slow the decay of his very dead flesh … and so begins his murderous rampage through their small town. 

The film is family-locked tale of terror that ricochets through the community with fierce consequences.  Everyone wants to see Andy's return, even the neighborhood kids, who've already constructed tales about his epic survival over death.  But Andy is not quite right in the head and in the body.  He is decaying quickly.  And his father is made aware, relatively soon after his arrival, that their son is not quite all there anymore.  

No dog, cat, or doctor is safe from this undead creature.  Deathdream is a warning that the things we lose in this life are best left ... gone.

Deathdream (1974) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
88 mins
Director
: Bob Clark
Writer:
Alan Ormsby
Cast:
John Marley, Lynn Carlin, Richard Backus
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The dead of night changed the lives of many... and ended the lives of some.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I died for you, Doc. Why shouldn't you return the favor?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Entertainment International Pictures
Release Date:
August 29, 1994
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 28, 2017
Synopsis: A young man killed in Vietnam inexplicably returns home as a zombie.

Deathdream (1974) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Blue Underground
Available on Blu-ray
- November 27, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Blue Underground presents this living dead cult classic on Blu-Ray with fabulous results.  As most of the film is shot in inside bars and homes, it is important to note just how vibrant the black levels are throughout.  Edges are clear and varied.  Colors are strong.  And the 2K restoration is a bravo move.  The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and preserves the cinematic look of the film with a new crispness that used to be lost to time.  Well, no more!  The film looks bloody brilliant.  The DTS-HD Mono / Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack is engaging and robust.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  •  There are two full-length commentaries included with the release.  The first is from Co-Producer/Director Bob Clark and the second features screenwriter/make-up artist Alan Ormsby.  Both are loaded with good information about the filming of this movie in Florida.

Special Features:

Blue Underground continues their stellar handling of cult classics and b-movies with this release.  Full of NEW supplemental materials, this release proves to be both important and interesting.  As a bonus, there is a collectable booklet featuring new writing about the film and its impact.

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

Deathdream (1974) - Blu-ray Review

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