Deathdream (aka Dead of Night) 4K UHD Is the Pick of the Week

I’ve only seen late director Bob Clark’s 1974 cerebral horror classic Deathdream (aka Dead of Night) once, but that was enough to be truly struck by it. It’s a genre film, but one with a disturbing but also heartbreaking edge.

Buy Deathdream 4K UHD + Blu-ray

After young Andy Brooks (Richard Backus) is shot in Vietnam, his parents (Lynn Carlin and John Marley of Faces) are informed of his death. While they and his sister (Anya Ormsby) are in constant grief, he suddenly comes back home. Everyone is confused but ecstatic to see him. However, they start to catch on that something is really off about him. They discover that Andy is dead, and that he has developed a sinister taste for flesh. So obviously, that throws the already-broken Brooks family into a dark tailspin for which there may be no hope for anyone.

The film is not particularly scary, but Clark infuses it with a frightening sense of reality with themes of PTSD, twisted psychology, and family trauma that actually ages it less than other horror films of the 1970s. The film is roughly shot but that’s what makes it so much more chilling than it would have been if it had a bigger budget. It easily looks like a documentary. It’s also really bleak and has effective gore by special-effects legend Tom Savini. I think it’s a genuinely great film that deserves a new appraisal.

Blue Underground’s brand new 4K/Blu-ray is stacked with vintage and new special features, including an exclusive new interview with actor Gary Swanson (the original Andy Brooks); three commentaries (with critics Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson, co-producer and director Bob Clark moderated by David Gregory, and writer/makeup artist Alan Ormsby moderated by Gregory); interviews with composer Carl Zitter, production manager John ‘Bud’ Cardos, Savini, and Backus, among others. There is also a screen test, alternate opening titles, and more!

If you don’t already have the original Blu-ray, then this release of the horror gem is definitely for you.

Other releases:

Three Revolutionary Films by Ousmane Sembene (Criterion): A new box set featuring three searing classic Emitaï (1971), Xala (1975), and Ceddo (1977) from the renowned Senegalese filmmaker/auteur.

Bushman (Milestone): A 1971 portrait of 1960s turmoil where a Nigerian student in San Francisco experiences clashing cultures and elucidates society’s refusal at living humanely.


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