A young Soldier is killed in the line of duty in Vietnam. That same night, the soldier returns home, brought back by his Mother's wishes that he "Don't Die"! Upon his Return, Andy sits in his room, refusing to see his friends or family, venturing out only at night. The Vampiric horror is secondary to the terror that comes from the disintegration of a typical American family. Written by
R. L. Strong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Between the time that he made his delightfully campy debut film Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1972) and his horror masterpiece Black Christmas (1974), Bob Clark made this under-mentioned little horror gem.
Vietnam soldier dies during battle, but then inexplicably returns home to his family who soon enough discover that there's something very wrong with their now-ghoulish loved one.
Known under numerous titles (Deathdream, The Night Andy Came Home, The Veteran, The Night Walk) Dead of Night is one effectively haunting low-budget horror film. The story serves up not only scenes of shocking violence, suspense, and scares, but actually manages to strike some strong emotional notes as well. Aside from it's unsettling storyline, director Clark creates an atmosphere of eerie dread that energizes this smart horror film. The unnerving music score by Carl Zittrer (who also created the warped music score for Black Christmas) strongly adds to the tense atmosphere. Also great are the makeup FX of a young Tom Savini. Dead of Night marked his cinematic debut as a makeup artist.
The cast is quite good. Richard Backus delivers a creepy performance as the haunted young soldier. John Marley is strong as Backus' understandably troubled father and Lynn Carlin is sympathetic as his unstable mother.
Dead of Night is another of those low-budget horror gems of the 70's that got lost after the death of the drive in. But horror fans owe it to themselves to resurrect this forgotten film from the late-great Clark.
*** 1/2 out of ****
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