Sunday, July 1, 2012
DEADBEAT AT DAWN (1988)
Jim Van Bebber is probably one of my favorite American directors. The man hasn't made a ton of movies but everything he has done is true underground transgressive cinema at it's best. It also helps that his movies are almost all full of blood and gore which appeals to the horror ghouls out there. Even this film, which is basically an action movie, features a finger bitten off, a throat ripped out, a woman beaten to bloody death with golf clubs and various other unsavory horrific elements. It also appears to have been filmed in some post-holocaust garbage strewn hellhole. If Dayton, Ohio is anything like it's depicted here I don't think I ever want to go there. Almost all of the characters here, just like in real life, are all morally offensive. Even our hero, played by Van Bebber, is a drug-dealing, gang-leader lowlife but compared to guys named Bonecrusher who spouts lines like "I hate people and I just don't fucking care!" he seems like a sweet guy. In my book this is a great gritty masterpiece that will appeal to fans of classic exploitation. The director/star does all his own stunts putting his body on the line for his art unlike most anyone making films today. The only thing I can think of that tops it in that department is Hong Kong action cinema where those guys just about kill themselves for a stunt. It's too bad Van Bebber wasn't making films 10 years earlier in this style when there were still plenty of places to show this stuff and he could have actually made some money and gone on to bigger budgets and more epic action and/or horror flicks.