Games Reviews

DEADBEAT AT DAWN Blu-ray Review – Jim Van Bebber’s Poetry of Blood

DeadBeatAtDawn 259x300 - DEADBEAT AT DAWN Blu-ray Review - Jim Van Bebber
DeadBeatAtDawn 259x300 - DEADBEAT AT DAWN Blu-ray Review - Jim Van Bebber's Poetry of BloodDeadBeatAtDawn 259x300 - DEADBEAT AT DAWN Blu-ray Review - Jim Van Bebber's Poetry of Blood

Starring Jim Van Bebber, Paul Harper, Megan Murphy, Marc Pitman

Directed by Jim Van Bebber

Distributed by Arrow Video

Jim Van Bebber, the author / director / editor / make-up results division / stunt choreographer of Deadbeat at Daybreak is a real visionary, even when his imaginative and prescient is a bit of skewed, slightly mad. Within the early 80’s he gained a scholarship to Wright State in Dayton, Ohio (his hometown), however dropped out in his third yr, utilizing his $10,000 scholar mortgage to finance Deadbeat, the cash primarily going to buy movie inventory. A good friend of his who was nonetheless attending Wright “borrowed” the movie division’s 16mm digital camera for Bebber to make use of. For this and different causes, the film took 4 years to shoot.

Van Bebber’s type is dreamlike, with deliberately one dimensional characters and over-the-prime violence that smashes up towards the hardscrabble realism of the streets of Dayton. Van Bebber explains within the commentary monitor to the brand new particular version Arrow Video Blu-ray that he needed to make a “hyper-realist cartoon.” On this, he definitely succeeded. In his quest for the last word hyper-stylized exploitation film, he places many of the extra well-known exploitation genres in a blender and out comes Deadbeat at Daybreak. Kung-fu, biker films, gang movies — they’re all right here. Even when you don’t like his type, it’s exhausting to argue that Van Bebber isn’t one of probably the most artistic voices within the historical past of the films. I promise, I ain’t kidding. Van Bebber realizes, in contrast to so many different administrators, that a film might be something, particularly the product of one individual’s creativeness. Films don’t should mirror our personal actuality in any respect. On this, Van Bebber has the temperment of a surrealist.

The plot, comparable to it’s, includes Danny and Goose, leaders of two Dayton gangs. Goose (Jim Van Bebber) is the chief of the Ravens and Danny (Paul Harper) leads the Spyders. The 2 determine to satisfy in a cemetery, their respective gangs behind them, to settle some undefined points. The 2 face off in a knife struggle, and it’s within the battle that follows the place we see Van Bebber doesn’t intend to tug any punches so far as the violence is worried. Knife wounds pour waterfalls of blood. This film ain’t enjoying round.

Medicine, violence, and abuse of all types are handled as a matter of course. There’s definitely no good guys right here. Goose, the movie’s protagonist, offers crank to individuals who promote it to youngsters. He’s additionally fond of hitting individuals over the top together with his nunchucks and stealing their bikes. And that’s simply within the first act. There’s a sort of redemption arc for his character as his girlfriend convinces him to go away the gang and begin a traditional(ish) life together with her. After a bit of preventing, he lastly agrees, telling her that he’s going to promote some crank to get some cash to variety of prime the pump in order that they’ll have some cash to start out out with. Whereas he’s gone, although, his girlfriend is killed by two of Danny’s acolytes, one of whom is a psychopath who goes by the superior identify of Bone Crusher (Marc Pitman). Bonecrusher later marvels that when he pulled the girlfriend’s guts out, they appeared like snakes. Properly then.

There’s lots of bizarre particulars like that scattered all through the film. Goose and Danny put on masks to the cemetery brawl, however they take them off for his or her knife battle. Danny does select a Batman masks, so factors there for positive. A bunch of the Spiders put on jock straps over their denims for no discernable purpose (although Van Bebber admitted within the commentary that it was an homage to A Clockwork Orange). And who stacks two TVs on prime of one another which are tuned to the fuzz between stations? Goose and his girlfriend, of course. And when Goose finds his girlfriend’s lifeless physique, after mourning for some time, he decides to wrap her in some blankets, toss her into the again of a rubbish truck, and crush her. As one does.

These are all nice bizarre particulars, of course, however my favourite needs to be the random man in a restaurant arguing together with his waitress. Despite the fact that he’s the one one on the desk, he’s giving her hell for not bringing him two breakfasts. So who’s the second breakfast for? The Lord, of course! This results in one of my favourite strains within the movie: “Go to the kitchen and make him some breakfast, ya heathen bitch!” Nicely. I hope he gave her a great tip, at the least.

All of these surreal particulars are in service to Van Bebber’s very distinctive inventive imaginative and prescient. He was single mindedly targeted on this venture for over 4 years, and was prepared to do no matter it took it see it get made the best way he needed, together with performing some harmful and typically extremely unlawful stunts. Fortunately for the opposite actors, Van Bebber does the most important stunts himself, together with rappelling down the aspect of a parking storage in broad daylight. I can assure there weren’t any permits for that. There’s additionally a scene the place Van Bebber is hanging out the aspect of a automotive that’s barrelling down an alley. It’s shot at an angle that makes it seem like his proper arm is getting its pores and skin ripped off, nevertheless it very simply might have led to Van Bebber truly getting harm. Or worse. That was an actual automotive taking place an actual slender alley with an precise human hanging off the aspect.

There’s additionally much less harmful, however no much less guerilla photographs the place the characters escape of the world of fantasy and into actuality. In a method, a minimum of. That parade that the gang runs by way of? Nicely, there’s no means that Van Bebber had the funds to rent a marching band and pay extras, in order that’s actually a bunch of maniacs operating by means of an precise parade, adopted by a cameraman. I assume you’d marvel what individuals considered all this if their reactions weren’t already captured on digital camera. Their puzzled seems at the moment are immortalized on Blu-ray.

As you may anticipate, the performances weren’t going to win an academy award, however everybody acts the hell out of their elements. My favourite efficiency needs to be that of Charlie Goetz. He performs Goose’s alcoholic / drug addict / Vietnam vet dad with PTSD. Goetz, a area people theater actor, knew that he was principally enjoying a caricature, so he hammed it up, chewing the surroundings just like the goddamn professional that he’s. It’s…unbelievable. You actually need to see it. Excessive screaming, completely out of his thoughts, paranoid, all the time freaking out and shouting. You anticipate the man to fall lifeless from a stress associated coronary heart assault at any second. “You drank my last beer!” is a chorus heard various occasions. Look, I’d by no means advocate heroin, however hopefully it at the least has a relaxing impact on the man. Jeeze. It’s no marvel Goose turned out the best way he did. And what of his mom? She’s by no means talked about. In all probability left as quickly as she had the prospect. Maybe within the lifeless of night time, screaming, “I’m free!”

On a technical degree, the movie is usually a multitude. The lighting is just not all the time nice, and a few of the guerrilla  photographs that needed to be taken on the fly don’t look so fantastic, however that’s sort of to be anticipated once you’re actually on the run. Typically, although, there’s flashes of some really lovely imagery. Many of the kind of nonetheless photographs of gravestones within the many graveyard scenes are virtually breathtakingly lovely. This Arrow Video particular version is full of particular options, none of that are filler. The most effective complement is the just about hour and a half documentary referred to as Deadbeat Ceaselessly!, which covers not simply Deadbeat at Daybreak, however Van Bebber’s filmography as an entire. There’s additionally a commentary and a few further interviews, however what I favored greatest have been the 4 brief movies that have been included. This makes the disc a fantastic introduction to Van Bebber’s work as an entire. Watching these movies, remodeled numerous durations in his profession, proves that Van Bebber knew from the start what sorts of films he needed to make and succeeded in doing so. There’s no higher accomplishment for an artist.

Particular Options:

  • Model new 2K restoration from unique movie parts by Arrow Movies, supervised and accredited by author-director Jim VanBebber
  • Excessive Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Unique uncompressed PCM mono audio
  • Non-compulsory English subtitles for the deaf and arduous of listening to
  • Model new free-wheeling audio commentary with Jim VanBebber (’Goose’, The Ravens’ Gang Chief), actor Paul Harper (’Danny Carmodi’, The Spyders’ Gang Chief) and visitor Cody Lee Hardin, moderated by filmmaker Victor Bonacore (Diary of a Deadbeat: The Story of Jim VanBebber)
  • Archival 1986 behind-the-scenes documentary – Nate Pennington’s VHS documentary on a failed Deadbeat shoot
  • Outtakes, newly transferred in HD
  • 4 newly-restored VanBebber brief movies – Into the Black (1983, 34 minutes), My Candy Devil (1993, 19 minutes), Roadkill: The Final Days of John Martin (1994, 14 minutes) and Gator Inexperienced (2013, 16 minutes)
  • Jim VanBebber Music Video Assortment, that includes by no means-earlier than-seen Director’s Cuts
  • Chunkblower – promotional trailer for an unfinished Gary Blair Smith-produced gore-soaked function movie
  • In depth Picture Gallery – By no means-Earlier than-Seen Stills!
  • Reversible sleeve that includes newly commissioned paintings by Peter Pressure
  • Deadbeat at Daybreak

  • Particular Options


Deadbeat at Daybreak is the the perfect 70’s exploitation movie made within the mid-80’s. As with most Arrow Video releases, that is the definitive model of the movie, with sufficient supplementary materials to maintain viewers entertained for days.

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