Deathdream (1972)

Article #442 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 5-31-2002
Posting date: 10-24-2002

The soldier son of a couple returns home despite the fact that his death had been reported. They notice that he’s not like he used to be, and unusual murders are starting to be committed in town.

In some ways, this is a companion piece to Director Bob Clark’s and screenwriter Alan Ormsby’s CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS; if that movie was a zombie flesh-eating comedy, this is a zombie flesh-eating tragedy. As such, the characters play a much greater role in this movie than the other one, as do the themes (war, dysfunctional families, etc.). Ultimately, the actions of the zombie son are less compelling than the dilemma of the parents; one is left wondering how the realization of what their son is will effect them. Actually, it’s the father who is the most compelling, because you really don’t know what he’s going to do; mother is fairly predicable once you get her number. Still, one is even more shocked in some ways by the mother’s revelation that she doesn’t care for her daughter than one is by the zombie’s actions. There is a great creepy atmosphere to the movie and some excellent use of sound. This one was a fascinating surprise.

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