“Deadbeat at Dawn”
Collector’s Edition, Special Edition
Jim VanBebber’s blood-drenched cult classic “Deadbeat at Dawn” is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has been newly restored and on Blu-ray. Written by, directed by and starring VanBebber, the film follows the story of Goose, a gang leader whose girlfriend is brutally slaughtered when he attempts to leave the thug life behind. He is soon pulled back into the gang, who’ve now formed an uneasy alliance with the thugs that butchered his girl and Goose sees an opportunity to get his brutal, deadly revenge.
Goose is the leader of a street gang, and always at war with a rival gang, and their leader Danny (Paul Harper). His girlfriend, Christie (Megan Murphy) wants him to break free so that they can start a fresh life together. Goose eventually agrees but that’s easier said than done. Their happiness is rudely interrupted by thugs determined to teach Goose a lesson, which leads to things going too far. When Goose finds out who is responsible for his heartache, he will be able be determined to exact his revenge.
The film suffers from some common flaws that low-budget exploitation movies have, such as scenes in which characters tend to ramble on about nothing of importance, but when things move up a gear this becomes a film equal to many that have more money and resources available. While the acting is often just mediocre, that does not bother us too much.
Murphy is one of the better performers, but Harper is never less than fun with his slightly unbalanced turn. VanBebber wrote, directed and starred in the film. He also did the editing, stuntwork and special makeup effects. The film that might require viewers to have a little patience. The opening is enjoyable, but clumsy, the middle section has some of the worst moments, but all of the rough patches are easy to view with fondness.
Whether you like or dislike it, “Deadbeat At Dawn” is worth your time. It is, in many ways, a great achievement, even if it doesn’t look like one. I love how natural the film feels. VanBebber captures the look and feel of the grainy and dirty street movies of the 70’s and early 80’s perfectly.
This is a simple story told in a simple way and the character of Goose is easy to connect to as he is a stand-up, likable character who is both cool and has a strong personal code of ethics. We spend nearly the entire movie with him we want things work out for him.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements by Arrow Films, supervised and approved by writer-director Jim VanBebber
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new free-wheeling audio commentary with Jim VanBebber (‘Goose’, The Ravens’ Gang Leader), actor Paul Harper (Danny Carmodi, The Spyders’ Gang Leader) and guest Cody Lee Hardin, moderated by filmmaker Victor Bonacore (Diary of a Deadbeat: The Story of Jim VanBebber)
Jim VanBebber, Deadbeat Forever! a brand new retrospective documentary on VanBebber and the Deadbeat legacy by Filmmaker Victor Bonacore, featuring first-time interviews, super-rare footage, VanBebber’s college films and much, much more!
Archival 1986 behind-the-scenes documentary Nate Pennington’s VHS documentary on a failed Deadbeat shoot
Outtakes, newly transferred in HD
Four newly-restored VanBebber short films Into the Black (1983, 34 mins), My Sweet Satan (1993, 19 mins), Roadkill: The Last Days of John Martin (1994, 14 mins) and Gator Green (2013, 16 mins)
Jim VanBebber Music Video Collection, featuring never-before-seen Director’s Cuts
Chunkblower promotional trailer for an unfinished Gary Blair Smith-produced gore-soaked feature film
Extensive Image Gallery Never-Before-Seen Stills!
Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain
First pressing only: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Scott Gabbey and Graham Rae