Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

Deathdream 1974
Director: Bob Clark
Writer: Alan Ormsby
Starring John Marley, Lynn Carlin, Richard Backus, Henderson Forsythe and Anya Ormsby

The Monkey's Paw is probably one of the most well known horror stories and is always ripe for retelling. It really brings home the phrase "be careful what you wish for", because you just might get it. This version also plays on the feelings of people at the time of the Vietnam War and what it felt like to lose a loved one during this turbulent era. It was brought to life by the team of Clark and Ormsby, who already did great work with Deranged and Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things. This film really touches on the obsessive love some mothers have for their children that they will overlook anything, no matter how heinous.
The plot basics are this, Charles (Marley) and Christine (Carlin) are missing their son who is in Vietnam and Christine, keeps praying for him to come home alive and safe. One night he arrives home, but all does not seem right with him, he is pale and doesn't interact with anyone much and doesn't want anyone to know he is here, and he spends all the time in his room, with it dark and rocking in a chair. There also seems to be a killer running around the neighborhood ripping up peoples throats and injecting them with a syringe. Charles suspects and gets the town doctor to check out his son, and it doesn't end well for the good doctor. This all leads to a tragic incident at the drive-inn and Andy (Bachus) runs home to Mama but the police are closing in and he is quickly deteriorating, and this leads to a tragic and sad ending to the story.
Clark and Ormsby have created another classic. Clark's direction is great, he plays the film out like a gothic horror film and it works really well. Ormsby's script is grim and really quite a despondent piece. The acting is good, especially Bachus as the soldier coming home with a thirst for blood. There is not much gore, until the end when you see how Andy has decayed and that is done very well. I also thought the soundtrack was excellent, it was so gothic I thought I was watching a Poe film. The film has a grim inevitability to it, and you feel as no one in the film is going to survive unscathed. Not a pleasant experience, but still one that is well worth watching.
I give this one 3 out of 5

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