Dead of Night (1974)

Dead of Night (1974)

Return of the Zombie Soldier

Richard Backus in Dead of Night (1974) (aka: Deathdream)

When a soldier shows up at their door carrying the brown envelope the Brooks family can't accept that their son Andy (Richard Backus) has died serving in the Vietnam War. So when Andy shows up in the middle of the night they are over the moon and think it must have been a mistake on the militaries part. Except war has changed Andy as he is now angry and it causes his dad Charles (John Marley - Love Story) to wonder if he was behind a murder especially when he kills the pet dog in front of some children. But Andy's mum Christine (Lynn Carlin) is so happy to see her son back that she refuses to see that he is changed the same with his sister Cathy (Anya Ormsby). The thing is is that Andy has changed in mores ways that one as he is dead and he is slowly decomposing but seems to want to make those back home pay for what they have done.

"Dead of Night" which is also known as "Deathdream" is the sort of movie which is now prime for a remake, I say that because as it stands it has a lot of great ideas but to me is a movie for those who watched it back in the 70s when it was made. It is a combination of things from being about a soldier who died in the Vietnam War to the expected 70s look which makes it feel like it is a movie with some sort of social agenda, anti war message which it wants to get across. But as such it doesn't translate so well for modern audiences which is why it could be remade

Lynn Carlin and John Marley in Dead of Night (1974) (aka: Deathdream)

But the whole idea of a soldier returning home changed by war because he is in fact the living dead who is slowly decomposing makes my mind go in to over drive with the potential for some entertaining zombie horror. And some of the things which I thought off crop up in "Dead of Night" especially how those closest to Andy deal with his change from being frightened by what they think their son is now capable off to being in denial that he is any different. Plus there is an aspect of Andy almost targeting those who become a threat to his existence which adds to the fear fact of Andy as a character.

Now in truth I don't think I would have gone out of my way to watch "Dead of Night" if I hadn't seen the name John Marley, and Marley delivers a solid performance as the father dealing with the horror of seeing that his son is changed but unsure of how changed he is. But John Marley is not the only good performance and Richard Backus in playing Andy as cold and emotionless ends up unsettling which is exactly what the role calls for and that smirk he has on his face just adds to that.

What this all boils down to is that the "Dead of Night" is one of those movies which I can see how it appealed to audiences on its release back in 1974 although it doesn't quite have the same appeal now despite having some very good ideas. It is why it is a movie which I am sure would work well now as a remake, being brought up to date for new generations.

Tags: Zombie Movies

Movie Recommendations

The Plague of the Zombies

The Plague of the Zombies (1966)

Following a curious letter from his protege, Dr. Peter Tompson (Brook Willi ...

Zombie Flesh Eaters

Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

When a small boat appearing to be unmanned floats towards New York, two cop ...


Re-Animator (1985)

Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) is a hard working student whose only dalliance from ...

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

For unknown reasons the dead have awoken and are walking the earth, attacki ...

The Plague

The Plague (2006)

In 1983 something weird happened all of a sudden leading to almost all chil ...

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

America is still in chaos following the zombie apocalypse and it's getting ...

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead (1985)

Now in many ways "Day of the Dead" is less about the zombies than a look at ...

Night of the Creeps

Night of the Creeps (1986)

In 1959 a test tube jettisoned from an alien space ship tumbles to earth wh ...

House of the Dead

House of the Dead (2003)

A group of teens heading for an isolated island rave miss the boat and so h ...

Land of the Dead

Land of the Dead (2005)

With the zombies now in the majority the living have move into secured comm ...

Children Shouldn

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1973)

A small amateur dramatics group under the leadership of Alan (Alan Ormsby) ...

28 Days Later

28 Days Later (2002)

28 Days after a group of animal activists release a bunch of Chimps infecte ...

Resident Evil

Resident Evil (2002)

When a virus is released in a top secret research facility known as "The Hi ...

Diary of the Dead

Diary of the Dead (2007)

As Jason Creed (Joshua Close) and his fellow students make a Mummy movie in ...

Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary (1989)

Having moved to a new home in the countryside the Creed family's pet cat, C ...

Follow The Movie Scene

Follow The Movie Scene on Twitter Like The Movie Scene on facebook Join The Movie Scene on Gplus Subscribe to The Movie Scene's RSS