6.7/10
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83 user 79 critic

Dead of Night (1974)

A young soldier killed in Vietnam inexplicably shows up to his family home one night.

Director:

Bob Clark

Writer:

Alan Ormsby (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Marley ... Charles Brooks
Lynn Carlin ... Christine Brooks
Richard Backus ... 'Andy' / Andy Brooks
Henderson Forsythe Henderson Forsythe ... Doc Allman
Anya Ormsby ... Cathy Brooks
Jane Daly ... Joanne
Michael Mazes Michael Mazes ... Bob
Arthur Anderson Arthur Anderson ... Postman
Arthur Bradley Arthur Bradley ... Army Captain
David Gawlikowski David Gawlikowski ... Truck Driver
Virginia Cortez Virginia Cortez ... Rosalie
Bud Hoey Bud Hoey ... Ed
Robert R. Cannon Robert R. Cannon ... Drunk (as Robert Cannon)
Raymond Michel Raymond Michel ... Policeman in Diner
Jeff Becker Jeff Becker ... Young Boy
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Storyline

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 <rs080455@pacbell.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He was a madman on a orgy of blood curdling terror... See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 August 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deathdream See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$235,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Quadrant Films,Impact Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film and its themes can in many ways be seen as an early reflection of the popular awareness of the effect of combat trauma on soldiers that the Vietnam War helped bring to light. Much of Andy's disposition and symptoms, e.g. sudden violent behaviour due to the re-living of traumatic experiences, would later be associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, defined by the American Psychiatric Association in the Third Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1980). See more »

Goofs

As the shot of Andy's mom in the chair fades into the truck which picks up Andy, you can see the shadow of the movie camera pass across the front of the truck. See more »

Quotes

'Andy': I died for you, Doc. Why shouldn't you return the favor?
See more »


Soundtracks

Camptown Races
(uncredited)
By Stephen Foster
Whistled by Arthur Anderson
See more »

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User Reviews

Scared the ---- out of me
24 July 2004 | by BornJadedSee all my reviews

So many horror films, both then and now, exist solely to provide cheap titillation to gore hounds and casual thrill-seekers. 'Dead of Night' (aka "Deathdream"), however, is serious business, and seriously scary. Comparable to 'The Exorcist' in its exploration of the parent-child dynamic when the child is given over to something sinister, I personally liked this more than I liked 'The Exorcist.' It's leaner, more suspenseful, and less pretentious.

Richard Backus is Andy, a soldier who returns from the war (presumably Vietnam) the very night his parents and sister are informed of his death in combat. The homecoming is not a happy one, however. Andy just isn't quite himself. Laconic, humorless and irritable, he doesn't want to go out and isn't interested in seeing visitors. Worse, there could be a link between him and the gruesome murder of a truck driver that occurred the night of his return.

Like 'The Exorcist,' 'Dead of Night' - a reworking of "The Monkey's Paw" -- aspires to be more than simply a horror film. It aspires to be a Vietnam allegory, and it aspires to be a family drama. Remarkably, it succeeds as all three. It makes a compelling statement about returning soldiers, is a truly frightening horror film, and also a harrowing family drama. John Marley, as a Andy's father, conveys torment and confusion effectively, and Lynn Carlin is especially good as Andy's mother, a woman who has disappeared completely inside of her denial. The suspense is unbearable, and there's skillful use of both sound and space in creating it. The chills are never cheap and are consistently hair-raising. The movie marches headlong into its inevitable conclusion and is utterly uncompromising throughout. That it was rated PG at the time is a shocker.

The movie has some flaws and lacks visual polish, but this is almost irrelevant given how brilliantly everything works. The director is Bob Clark, who would go on to direct the first two 'Porky's' films, 'A Christmas Story,' and 'Baby Geniuses,' and he has made a rare horror film, one that is intelligent, thoughtful, and damn scary.


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