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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $34.99 Last Price: $49.95 Buy now! 3rd Party 36.18 In Stock
Release Date: May 21st, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1974

Deathdream - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

 Blu-ray Review By: Matthew Hartman
War is hell… coming home is a nightmare in Bob Clark’s 1974 Horror/Thriller Deathdream. One of the first films to confront the trauma of soldiers returning from Vietnam, the film plays with themes of the monkey’s paw collecting its tole and vampirism all through the lens of the powerless parents. Blue Underground unearths a terrific 4K UHD disc sporting a terrific Dolby Vision transfer, clean audio, and hours of extras. Highly Recommended!

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray - EXCLUSIVE NEW 4K 16-BIT RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265 Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Length:
88
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
English (1.0 DTS-HD MA)
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
May 21st, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Bob Clark may be better remembered by many as the director of classics like A Christmas Story and a slew of generally bad family-friendly films in the ‘90s. Horror fans will remember him best for his numerous creepy contributions. Nestled in between Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things and the terrifying Black Christmas, Bob Clark delivered the terrifying Deathdream (AKA Dead of Night). A low-budget and straight-to-the-point Horror/Thriller, it was one of the first films to focus on soldiers returning from war and their families attempting to deal with these changed men. In the case of the Brooks family - their son returns as a literal monster!

All Charles Brooks (John Marley), his wife Christine (Lynn Carlin), and their daughter Cathy (Anya Ormsby) want is for Andy (Richard Backus) to return home from Vietnam unharmed. On the night the military delivers the worst-possible news in a yellow envelope, Andy comes home in the middle of the night. Alive. Only Andy isn’t his old self anymore. Charles can see his son isn’t the same young man that shipped out, but Christine is blind by her joy. When a string of mysterious murders all point to Andy, Charles must face the monster his son has become. 

Right around the time I rented a tape for Deathdream, I was also reading Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. I mention this only because I’ve always wondered if this film wasn’t an inspiration for the terrifying segment of Timmy Baterman in King's novel. The returns of Andy Brooks and Timmy Baterman are strikingly similar and equally terrifying. Where King kept Baterman to just a brief segment of the novel (even more brief in the film), Bob Clark and screenwriter Alan Ormsby uses almost 90 minutes to tell this story of a family ravaged by grief and the monster that returns. 

And it’s a hell of a film! John Marley and Lynn Carlin are particular standouts delivering incredible performances. Marley is impressively adept at recognizing the situation and the truth but feels powerless to stop it. Carlin does an amazing job as a mother who knows the truth but refuses it because it’s more important to have a creature that resembles her son than face the loss. As this little family drama plays out, Bob Clark ratchets up the tension and horror with a steady pace and some incredible makeup work and gore effects from Tom Savini (in his debut as makeup artist with some uncredited help from Ormsby). 

I hadn’t seen Deathdream in so long I was worried that it’d hold up. In my head, I thought of it as “that movie that’s kinda like George Romero’s Martin but isn’t Martin.” Andy may kill and drain the blood of his victims in unique ways, but his vampiric tendencies aren’t completely fleshed out (so to speak). While some may get hung up that the rules of our monster Andy aren’t fully developed, I find that aspect even more compelling. Because we don’t know the power that brought him back like Timmy Baterman and we don’t know why he needs blood like Martin, we have a creature capable of anything for any reason. 4/5



Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 
Blue Underground resurrects Bob Clark’s Deathdream for a new two-disc 4k UHD Blu-ray release. Pressed on a BD-66 disc with a BD-50 reserved for the 1080p version and the bulk of extra features, the docs are housed in a black Scanovo case with identical slipcover artwork. The case insert art is reversible revealing the alternate title Dead of Night.

Video Review

Ranking:

If there’s ever a label that deserves incredible recognition for consistently delivering some of the finest 4K transfers - Blue Underground is it. Once again they take an older, semi-forgotten gem and breathe new life into it with a genuinely flawless 2160p Dolby Vision transfer. While the film itself may not compare to Clarke's more stylish efforts, Deathdream looks terrific boasting clear details like fine lines facial features, clothing textures, the production design, and Tom Savini’s ghoulish makeup effects. There are some soft spots here and there, but that's more of an in-camera issue than anything to fault the transfer over. The film grain is tight and clean without ever looking too noisy or intrusive. 

The Dolby Vision HDR grade is well applied giving the film’s drab-ish early 1970s color scheme some more life. Primaries are well managed without looking over-saturated. Blood work is beautifully crimson. Skin tones are natural and healthy without looking pinked or peached. Black levels and contrast are equally impressive letting brilliant bright whites shine without blooming and the deep dark shadowy places look nice and ominous. Image depth is excellent, especially in the last act at the drive-in and the final scenes. 4.5/5

Audio Review

Ranking:

And like the video transfer, Blue Underground also delivers an excellent DTS-HD MA 1.0 audio mix. I hadn’t picked this one up previously, but I’m impressed by the clarity and how clean the mix is. Some previous Blue Underground releases saw a range of audio options and I’m not sure why we’re not seeing bigger surround or object-based tracks here. Regardless, this mono mix is excellent. Dialog is clean and clear. Music cues are managed well without blowingout the mix. Sound effects have a natural quality without sounding like a canned audio effects library insertion. Free of any serious hiss, pops, or crackles, this is an excellent and damned creepy audio track. 4/5

Special Features

Ranking:

Blue Underground also goes the extra mile with their amazing assortment of extra features. A true 5-star effort, we have a mix of new and old. Since I didn’t have the last disc, it’s all new for me. The audio commentaries are all well worth the listen. Hearing Bob Clark talk about the film is a nice treat as is the second track featuring writer Alan Ormsby. The new commentary features the dynamic duo of Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson - if you’ve never heard these two talk shop on a commentary before, you owe it to yourself to give them a listen. After that we have a great collection of cast and crew interviews with a great new interview with Gary Swanson, the actor originally cast as Andy.

4K UHD DISC

  • Audio Commentary featuring Bob Clark
  • Audio Commentary featuring Alan Ormsby
  • Audio Commentary featuring Troy Howarth Nathaniel Thompson

BLU-RAY DISC

  • Audio Commentary featuring Bob Clark
  • Audio Commentary featuring Alan Ormsby
  • Audio Commentary featuring Troy Howarth Nathaniel Thompson
  • A Recollection with Star Anya Liffey & Writer/Makeup Artist Alan Ormsby (HD 29:29)
  • Notes for a Homecoming - Interview with Carl Zittrer (HD 19:08)
  • Flying Down to Brooksville - Interview with John ‘Bud’ Cardos (HD 5:21)
  • Tom Savini: The Early Years (SD 11:00)
  • Deathdreaming - Interview with Richard Backus (SD 11:43)
  • NEW The First Andy - Interview with Gary Swanson (HD 12:23)
  • Screen Test with Original Andy, Gary Swanson (HD 12:31)
  • Alan Ormsby Student Film (HD 10:12)
  • Alternate Opening Titles (HD 3:28)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD 3:49)
  • Still Galleries: 
    • Posters & Ads
    • US Pressbook
    • Publicity Stills
    • Behind-the-Scenes
    • Make-Up Effects
    • Video
    • Alan Ormsby’s Movie Monsters
    • Alan Ormsby’s Creations

Any number of filmmakers try to jumpstart their careers with Horror thinking the genre is an easy one to exploit. Most fail at that assumption. Bob Clark may be better known for more family-friendly material, but his early contributions to Horror filmmaking can’t be denied. Deathdream AKA Dead of Night is a great example of how effective a simple and uncomplicated low-budget horror film can be in the hands of talent who know how the genre works. A damned creepy film fifty years later, the film now comes home to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray thanks to Blue Underground. Deathdream looks and sounds amazing and complete with hours of excellent bonus features to pick through. Another amazing disc from Blue Underground comes Highly Recommended 4.5/5

Order Your Copy of Deathdream on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray