Monday, October 27, 2008

13 Nights of Hallowe'en: Night #9 Just Before Dawn

Here we have a nature lover’s horror movie. “Just Before Dawn”
Just Before Dawnis an absolute joy to watch for the seemingly endless shot after shot of breathtaking scenery on location in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. Not only is the landscape beautiful and majestic, but also it is incredibly lonely and creepy. It is especially creepy with the film’s score backing it, and the pace and quality of the horror that begins to build in the movie. The sales link on this blog points to an excellent edition of the movie from Shriek Show. The video quality is not pristine, but it doesn’t diminish the impact of the gorgeous backwoods, and maybe actually accentuates the horror. The film’s score has a wickedly cool music queue that repeats for great punctuation throughout the film and ties everything together emotionally.

“Just Before Dawn” is low on big names. It has the son of Jack Lemmon, Chris Lemmon, who isn’t horror noteworthy. It also has George Kennedy who is a familiar face from “Creepshow 2” and a lot of other movies and TV appearances. Then we have writer/director Jeff Lieberman who has a fair cult following thanks to his writer/director work on “Squirm” and “Blue Sunshine”. “Just Before Dawn” is one of the gems of the ‘should have listened and not gone wherever’ genre of slasher movies. It was released in 1981, a year after “Friday the 13th”, and became somewhat lost in the flood of similar movies spawned from that. Like that other famous movie this one fits the bill of ‘please don’t reveal the secret ending to your friends’ on not just one count but two!

Mood: calm.
Music: Wake the Dead by Alice Cooper off of Along Came A Spider.


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