BROOKSVILLE — Clearwater has “Dolphin Tale,” St. Petersburg has “Cocoon,” Tampa has “Magic Mike” and Brooksville has “Deathdream.”
In 1972 a horror movie called “Deathdream” was filmed in downtown Brooksville. Those who never have seen it, much less heard of it, will get a chance Friday, Oct. 17, when it will be shown in an outdoor setting on Main Street as part of the city’s 2014 Founder’s Week events.
Bob Martinez, publisher of “Old Brooksville in Photos and Stories” magazine, recalls when the actors and film crew arrived in Hernando County to shoot the film.
“My parents owned the local motel and that’s where they all stayed,” he says. “We were booked solid for three months.”
Martinez said he knows the movie well. He has a copy of it at home and likes to watch it occasionally. He says he is on his fourth copy now because he loans them out to folks.
“I was hired as an extra in the film,” he says. “I played an ambulance driver in one scene and in another, I helped bring out a dead body on a stretcher.”
“But that’s all I’m going to tell you because I don’t want to spoil the plot,” he says.
The movie is directed by Bob Clark and written by Alan Ormsby. It was inspired by the short story “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs.
The film stars Richard Backus as Andy Brooks; John Marley, who also appeared in “The Godfather,” as Charles Brooks; Lynn Carlin as Christine Brooks; and Anya Ormsby as Cathy Brooks.
In the movie, U.S. soldier Andy Brooks dies in combat and his family receives notice of his death.
The family begins to grieve but Andy’s mother refuses to believe her son is dead. Hours later — yes, you’ve guessed it — Andy arrives in the middle of the night at his home in full uniform and apparently unharmed.
But Andy is not OK. He displays strange and erratic behavior. And that’s when odd things begin to happen.
Mike Walker, director of Brooksville’s Parks/Facilities and Recreation, says he watched the movie a couple of months ago because he wanted to see if he could identify any of Brooksville’s streets and buildings.
“I enjoyed the movie very much and was able to identify many locations in the city,” Walker says.
“I spotted Coney Island Drive-In, the Hilltop Lounge, Allen’s Florist, Main Street … and Brooksville Cemetery.”
Walker says the PG-rated movie is not horror in the sense of what we see these days at the cinema: “Remember it was 1972 when it was filmed.”
Martinez says he published a volume of “Old Brooksville in Photos and Stories” in December 2003 that tells about the making of the movie. “I took lots of photos, too, and they are all in the magazine,” Martinez says.
“Deathdream” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Friday, between Broad and Jefferson streets in downtown Brooksville, as part of the city’s 158th anniversary. The city’s parks and recreation department, in conjunction with Friends of the Children and Bright House Networks, are hosting the free movie. Bring blankets and chairs and pay tribute to the 42nd anniversary of the making of “Deathdream.”
For more information, call (352) 540-3835 or visit www .cityofbrooksville.us
“Old Brooksville in photos and Stories” is a monthly magazine dedicated to preserving the history of Hernando County. It is published by Martinez and distributed free to the public. Some back issues are available for purchase for a fee, plus postage. For more information, call Martinez (352) 799-1945.
Email Hernando Today correspondent Sue Quigley at firstname.lastname@example.org.