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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Portions of Carl Zittrer's music score for this film were later expanded and reused for Bob Clark's later horror film Black Christmas (1974). See more »
The dead doctor can be seen breathing as Andy draws his blood. See more »
I died for you, Doc. Why shouldn't you return the favor?
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The version released under the title, The Night Andy Came Home contains an additional snippet of dialogue during the final scene in the cemetery. After Andy buries himself and dies, his mother, kneeling over the grave, can be heard saying, "Andy's home. My boy came home." In the later Gorgon Video release under the title Deathdream, this dialogue has been intentionally muted so as not to reference the previous title. See more »
Haunting Low Budget Zombie Horror With an Anti-War Message
After reading other reviews that compared elements of the film to John Carpenter's 'Halloween' and the mention that the film had deeper connotations regarding Vietnam veterans returning home from the war, my curiosity got the better of me.
From the very beginning of the film it is abundantly clear that the production is very low budget and the film looks dated. The war scene looks like it has been filmed in the local woods and there are glaring inaccuracies to their uniforms. However, what the film does well is to create a very creepy atmosphere from the moment he is shot and you hear Andy's mother reminding him of his promise to return home.
The acting is often wooden and sometimes quite strange which actually adds to the film's creepiness. The sound and camera work is lacking at times but occasionally it excels with a number of unconventional shots that are surprisingly effective. There is also some interesting use of sound used to convey Andy's confused and primal state that reminded me of 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre' (1974).
I felt the film started to drag a little in the middle but picks up again as it draws to a close. There are some memorable scenes with Andy that appear to be metaphors for PTSD in war veterans. It also touches on other issues such as alienation, depression and the Oedipus complex. The violence itself is not particularly gory or emphasized by today's standards and the film tends to focus rather on Andy's disposition and the effect it has on his family.
The film's conclusion is disturbing and unsettling. It left me feeling depressed but with a greater understanding of the loss experienced by victims of the war and their families. I was initially concerned that the film might reinforce prejudice towards war veterans that struggle to readjust to civilian life but the anti-war sentiment is so strong that I think the film is worthy of merit even if it makes for difficult viewing.
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