Dead of Night | Chicago Reader

Dead of Night

When writer-director Bob Clark died, he was eulogized mainly for his nostalgic comedy A Christmas Story (1984), but he got his start with a string of eerily effective horror flicks like this 1974 feature (also known as Deathdream and The Night Andy Came Home). Four years before The Deer Hunter and Coming Home, it centers on an elderly couple (John Marley, Lynn Carlin) devastated by the news that their son (Richard Backus) has died in Vietnam. When he turns up on their doorstep they're overjoyed, not realizing he's a zombie that needs periodic injections of fresh blood. (“I died for you,” he tells one victim. “Why shouldn't you return the favor?”) The equation of post-traumatic stress disorder with the zombie genre's living death is a stroke of pop-culture poetry worthy of George Romero, and Joe Dante drew heavily on the movie for his recent antiwar chiller Homecoming. PG, 88 min.


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