Monday, November 7, 2011
JUST BEFORE DAWN (1981)
As far as slasher flicks go this has always been one I've really dug. Directed by the great Jeff Lieberman who also did the equally great killer worm flick SQUIRM and the LSD-crazies epic BLUE SUNSHINE, I first encountered JUST BEFORE DAWN playing at a horror convention in a little conference room. The two people I was with got up after about 30 minutes of stalk and slash goodness and left in bored disgust. That made me like this movie even more because clearly those people were not as cultured as I and could not appreciate the simplistic elegance of this ode to backwoods breeding mishaps. Seeing this more recently on a big screen as part of an all-night horror marathon just reinforced my positive vibes towards this film.
What you basically get here is a FRIDAY THE 13TH rip-off predictably set in the woods with a group of campers/victims. The one main drawback is there are only about 10 people in the whole movie so your body count is obviously not very high but it makes up for that by having a family of inbred weirdos running around and one final kill scene that's totally over-the top ridiculous. You get some boobs, some nasty crotch violence, a totally out of place disco-dancing scene, that guy who ran the camp in SLEEPAWAY CAMP as a Crazy Ralph character and a goofy killer who laughs like Muttley from those old Laff-A-Lympics cartoons. You also get George Kennedy as the standard ineffectual sheriff character who talks to his plants and horse and only decides to do something helpful after people start showing up dead. There's also a sort-of twist ending that you can pretty easily figure out before it happens. You can do much worse than checking this one out.