Saturday, July 20, 2019

4,000th Post Celebration!!!: Dream Deceivers (The Story Behind James Vance vs. Judas Priest)

After all these Posts, I still find new areas to cover.  This is Dream Deceivers, a 1991/2 Documentary about a Court Case.  Yeah, no Zombies or Aliens in this one.  In its place, human tragedy and the desire to get an easy explanation for it.  This is a less 'fun' Review than normal.  I have range- I can do this!  This is a semi-famous Documentary, although its subject matter is fairly-forgotten these days.  It's all about a sad event in 1985 and the repercussions of it in a Court Room.  It's an interesting slice of history and a Documentary that wasn't exactly a big box-office hit.  To celebrate a new milestone for the site, it's important to do different things and this is pretty different.  Well, unless you count that Slender Man Doc I covered at one point.  As I teased, it does also relate to another Anniversary post from long, long ago.  To end the teasing and get with the interesting sadness, read on...
This Film begins with a human tragedy.  It also gets pretty close to straight up showing you the aftermath of a death scene, so I'll just use this Screen Cap.
These deaths lead to a Trial nearly 5 years later in Reno, Nevada.  The Families want Judas Priest to pay for the deaths (for no good reason).
Priest- as the Defendants- claim that they made no attempts to put 'subliminal messaging' in their Songs and point out the many, many issues that actually led to the two suicide attempts.

It's really weird to see Rob Halford out of the leather, no?
The Doc switches focus between the Families, Priest and people in town for the Trial.

Big shout out to the guy on the left for the very deep sign.
Here's a tricky thing to discuss...

So the Movie takes place in 1990 during the Trial.  They intercut bits with James Vance, the young man who survived his suicide attempt.

The problem: he died in 1988 (due to most likely a more successful suicide attempt) and the Film wants that to be a 'surprise stinger' at the end.  Why?
Speaking of James, seeing him in his condition- you can Google it if you really want to see it- is tragic.  There is no other word for it.
The Film shows snippets of the testimony.  It varies from the Family admitting problems they tried to hide to Experts trying to prove 'back-masking' on the Record.

This poor Judge would have made a great Meme Face if this was released in 2019.
The parts with the 'metal heads' in Town is actually deeper than you might think and a nice distraction from, you know, all the talk of death.
Ultimately, the Case was settled in favor of Priest, although done in a way that left the door open for more Trials.  Thankfully, they never came.  The End.
Considering the subject matter, I think I made it through without saying anything stupid.  This is an interesting Film, but it's also a bit of a mine field.  If I sound like I'm mocking the family, I'm an asshole.  If I sound like I'm agreeing with them, I'm 'pro-censorship.'  Neither one of those is really true, mind you- it would just sound that way.  The Doc has been accused of not being objective.  I don't really see that.  They seem to do their best to show you all of the evidence.  You hear from both sides.  You don't get much on the idea of 'back-masking' from outside of the Court Room, so maybe that's an oversight.  Again- I don't see the issue that many do.  The Story is a sad, but interesting one.  When bad things happen, there must be a reason.  When we can't accept that reason, what are we left with?  It's obvious how I feel about this case by now, no?  The Doc is a pretty interesting one as, again, this story has kind of been lost to time in recent memory.  I will warn you that seeing the tragic state of James Vance may be too much for many of you.  There's a reason I blurred it (also to not feel like I'm exploiting a victim of tragic violence) both times I featured it.  Yes, footage from this Film ended up in Traces of Death, the 2nd tier knock-off of Faces of Death (made when it became an underground sensation).  That Film- aside from just being awful- seemed to use a worse master version of the Footage.  To note, this Film was shot on Video for Public Television...and still looks miles better than the other footage...
Next time, something less about real life and hopefully lighter.  Knowing me, it could be just about anything.  Stay tuned...

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