A tiny sidenote in a recent Variety article reports that Zero Dark Thirty (a remake of Bob Clark’s Deathdream) is finally being brought to life, much like the main character. Announced a year ago, the film finally appears to have been given the go ahead and will be produced by John Stalberg Jr. and Stephen Susco, who also are working as director and writer, respectively. Susco was the screenwriter behind The Grudge and The Grudge 2, as well as the (hopefully!) upcoming film adaptation of Jack Ketchum’s Red.
If you’ve never seen Deathdream, you’re missing out. Shot the same year as Bob Clark’s zombie classic Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, it’s definitely one of his more underrated films. It’s a story about a soldier who returns from Vietnam one night, which normally would be a good thing, but there’s one problem here. What’s that? Well, his parents had been told he had died in battle weeks before. And their son is definitely acting weird… refusing to see anyone and seeming to have picked up a thing for human blood. The movie always seemed to be more against parental persuasion than anti-war, but it really does a fantastic job of showing the alienation a soldier feels upon return from war.
Zero Dark Thirty will of course be updated to fit the times with a protagonist straight out of the Iraqi war.
I’m not as up in arms about this remake as I’ve been with others in the past. There’s plenty they can do with the subject material, and all sorts of unique takes one could make on it… as shown in Joe Dante’s Masters of Horror episode Homecoming and (dare I say it?) Bill Lustig’s impossibly fun Uncle Sam.
And any movie that give more people a reason to go back to watch a Bob Clark film can’t be all that bad. Pick up the Blue Underground dvd if you can.