BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Just Before Dawn (1981) - Blu-ray Review

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Just Before Dawn (1981)

Because we all need to take a lesson from the Ty (Mike Kellin) and Vachel (Charles Bartlett) playbook!

"You go right on telling yourself that there are no demons in woods.  The fans of Just Before Dawn know better. "


If you, perhaps out on a hike or maybe camping overnight somewhere, ever think you are being watched, well, you probably are.  That’s one thing you will definitely pick up from watching Just Before Dawn.  The forests are full of creatures big and small and some of them might even be inbred and carry some pretty nasty weapons of choice with which to slash your asshole with.  Everyone out of the woods!  Just Before Dawn is back on shelves!

Code Red and Ronin Flix have done fans of backwoods slashers a solid with the release and handling of this cult classic.  For the first time in HD, the film is presented in its original and uncut form.  It is also newly remastered from the original Internegative and, as a result, looks damn fine-o.

The first thing you will notice about the backwoods slasher Just Before Dawn is Brad Fiedel’s mesmerizing synth score.  It comes bursting forward alongside a picture perfect sunrise that is damn haunting thanks to the cinematography of Dean and Joel King.  Combined, these two elements of sound and vision work together to create a mood that is, at once, unforgettable.  That is one of the grand cinematic majesties of this B-grade horror film.  The next, obviously, will be the unforgettable monsters who track down these unsuspecting young adults as they traverse deep into the beautiful (and unending) Oregon Mountains.

Just Before Dawn, directed by Jeff Lieberman (Squirm), stars Chris Lemmon, Gregg Henry, Deborah Benson, Jamie Rose, and George Kennedy and will haunt you for days as a fat killer, laughing and grunting maniacally while wearing a hunter’s orange hunting jacket, stalks them all.  They are in his territory, after all, and, while skinny dipping, he makes his presence known to them.  It is a scene that is eerie – especially when you can barely make his shape out against the waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park – and damn right chilling.Just Before Dawn (1981)

Because, as you can guess, the further these kids go into the forest and woodland area – for drinking, photography, and skinny-dipping – the further they get from actually being saved by the things that are stalking them.  Thing is, they were warned by almost every adult that came upon them on the journey into the mountain areas.  And they paid them no mind . . . which is how the inbred family of grunts, squeals, and all sorts of unnerving chortling caught up with them. 

One by one, they are taken out by this nutty family of spastic twins, an angry set of parents, and a flirty female.  And you thought your family outings were horrible?  Nah, this flick and all its raising the devil shenanigans have got your trips licked.  I mean, with bodies lurking about everywhere, there literally is NO SAFE SPOT away from these freaks.

You go right on telling yourself that there are no demons in woods.  The fans of Just Before Dawn know better.  The cult classic is now on blu-ray thanks to Code Red and Ronin Flix.  Get your slipcovered copy right NOW!

5/5 beers

Just Before Dawn (1981)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red
Available on Blu-ray
- May 6, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Restored from the original uncut version and using the original internegative, Just Before Dawn looks as good as these low budget flicks are ever going to get.  Sure, there is some instances of fuzziness but the depth of clarity here is fantastic.  Browns, reds, greens, and blacks are all solid.  Lines are held together quite nicely, too.  There is depth to the picture which wasn’t there previously and, as this was shot on location, the area and its waterfalls look amazing.  The sound is presented in a mono track that is serviceable at best.  This is solid work from Code Red.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Fans are in for a treat thanks to this release: original uncut version from the internegative, extended Cut for international distribution, new interviews with Gregg Henry, Chris Lemmon, Jamie Rose, producer David Sheldon, vintage interviews with Chris Lemmon, Jamie Rose, David Sheldon, John Hunsaker and writer Mark Arywitz, a Theatrical Trailer and a Reversible Cover.  The blu-ray is also slip-covered for a limited time. 

  • Original uncut version from the internegative
  • Extended Cut for international distribution
  • New interviews with Gregg Henry, Chris Lemmon, Jamie Rose, producer David Sheldon
  • Vintage interviews with Chris Lemmon, Jamie Rose, David Sheldon, John Hunsaker and writer Mark Arywitz
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4.5/5 stars

Just Before Dawn (1981)

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
90 mins
Director
: Jeff Lieberman
Writer:
Mark Arywitz, Jeff Lieberman
Cast:
George Kennedy, Mike Kellin, Chris Lemmon
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The Nightmare Has Begun.
Memorable Movie Quote: "There's nothing out there but God's little creatures, more scared of you than you are of them."
Theatrical Distributor:
Picturmedia
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 27, 1981
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 6, 2019
Synopsis: Five friends set out on a weekend camping trip to drink and have fun on an isolated piece of land that one of them inherited. Despite a warning from the sheriff, strange backwoods families and the local drunk hunter, they make their trek into the woods. Will any of them survive just before dawn comes?

Just Before Dawn (1981)

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