Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 30th, 2017
BluRay released: November 28th, 2017
Approximate running time: 88 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region Free / Region Free NTSC
Retail Price: $39.98
Deathdream was directed by Bob Clark a versatile director who other notable films include, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Black Christmas, Breaking Point, Porky’s and A Christmas Story. Key collaborators on Deathdream include, cinematographer Jack McGowan (The Intruder, Mardi Gras Massacre), screenwriter Alan Ormsby (Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile, Popcorn) and composer Carl Zittrer (Prom Night).
Throughout the history of cinema, there have been countless films, that have explored the horrors of war. And though there have been a handful of horror themed films, that have explored this subject matter. One would be hard-pressed to name a horror film that delivered this subject matter as effectively as it is executed in Deathdream.
This film is clearly an allegory about war and yet, the actual war from which the film’s is never mentioned. With that being said, when one takes into account, when this film was made. There is a strong indication that film is referencing the Vietnam war.
From a production standpoint, this film’s premise is superbly executed. And nowhere is this more evident, then when it comes to this film’s eerie visuals. With this film’s finale, serving up a very satisfying resolution to the events that have just unfolded.
Performance wise, the cast are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being Richard Backus in the role of Andy Brooks, the young man who returns home, after dying in combat. Other notable performances include, John Marley (Love Story, The Godfather) in the role of Andy’s father and Lynn Carlin (Faces, Taking Off) in the role of Andy’s distraught mother, who refuses to acknowledge the truth about her son.
Deathdream comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was created from a brand new 2K restoration from the 35mm negative. The source used for this transfer is in excellent shape. Black levels and image clarity look solid throughout, grain remains intact and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. The audio sounds, clean, clear and balanced throughout. Included with this release are three subtitle options, English SDH, Spanish and French.
Extras for this release include, a stills gallery, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 48 seconds), alternate opening credits (3 minutes 28 seconds), a student film directed by Alan Ormsby (10 minutes 12 seconds), screen test with Gary Swanson, the original actor cast in the role of Andy (12 minutes 31 seconds), an interview with production manager John ‘Bud’ Cardos titled Flying Down To Brooksville (5 minutes 21 seconds), an interview with composer Carl Zittrer titled Notes For A Homecoming (19 minutes 8 seconds), an interview with actress Anya Liffey and screenwriter / make-up artist Alan Ormsby (29 minutes 27 seconds), an interview with actor Richard Backus titled Deathdreaming (11 minutes 43 seconds), a featurette titled Tom Savini: The Early Years (10 minutes) and two audio commentaries, the first audio commentary is with co-producer / director Bob Clark and the second audio commentary is with Alan Ormsby.
Topics discussed in the interview with Carl Zittrer include, his origins as a composer, Bob Clark, his creative process and his thoughts about Deathdream.
Topics discussed in the interview with Anya Liffey and Alan Ormsby include, their background in films, Bob Clark, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Deathdream / the cast / locations / Tom Savini / their thoughts about the film, Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile, special effects / makeup effects and background information about various other films that he worked on.
Topics discussed in the interview with Richard Backus include, his audition for Deathdream, the screenplay, the cast, onset memories, Alan Ormsby / special effects / makeup effects and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the extra titled Tom Savini: The Early Years include, his origins as a makeup effects artist, how he was a combat photographer in Vietnam and how this influenced his work as a makeup effects artist, Deathdream / the cast / Bob Clark, Alan Ormsby, Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile and George A. Romero.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Bob Clark include, locations, casting / the cast, background information about the pre-title opening scene, Carl Zittrer / the score, Alan Ormsby / the origins of the film, other production related topics and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Alan Ormsby include, the opening prolog and why it was added to the film, the screenplay and what scenes what scenes where not in the original screenplay, the cast and other production related topics.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a twenty-page booklet with cast & crew information and an essay titled “I Died for You, Doc. Why Shouldn’t You Return the Favor?”: Revisiting “Deathdream” written by Travis Crawford. Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo. Overall Deathdream gets a definitive release from Blue Underground, highly recommended.