Deathdream is an effective little metaphor about the Vietnam war, and the trauma it bought to families and veterans, wrapped in a gory reworking of "The Monkey's Paw" with a body count.
Even without the addition of the Tom Savini's creeptastic makeup, lead actor Richard Backus, playing the solider who returns home quite changed, is quite off-putting. He has this uncanny valley face, the type that reminds one of a Ken doll brought to life. In that respect, he reminds a lot of Keir Dullea, whose strangely molded features and slightly off-putting demeanor were put such good use in Bunny Lake is Missing (1965), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and Deathdream director Bob Clark's following feature, the unnerving prototypical slasher Black Christmas (1974). Funnily enough, according to Backus' wikipedia page, he was Dullea's understudy during the original Broadway run of Butterflies are Free. Having difficulty imagining either man playing genuinely nice, non-threatening individuals, but I guess that's acting for ya.
ANYWHO, interesting movie, recommend you check it out if you want a unique and surprisingly moving zombie movie.