måndag 4 februari 2013

Deadline (1984)

One of my favorite exploitation movies of all time is James C Wassons lovely Bigfootflick Night of the demon. While not exactly a good movie per se, it is shamelessly entertaining and has a story structure that in itself is absolutely brilliant - the movie stops on several occasions while a character relates a story about a previous victim of the nasty bigfoot. A prefect recipe for creating nonstop entertainment; as soon as the movie starts getting boring you add a scene of a biker getting his dick ripped off or a scene where a couple of girl scouts are gorily dispatched. Nothing but awesome.

Deadline uses a similar gimmick. While not actually a horror movie it still manages to find a clever way of inserting gory horror scenery, telling the story of a writer who perhaps delves a bit too deep into his own imagery. We follow the life of Steven Lessey, a successful horror novelist and screenplay writer who is under quite a lot of pressure. Not only is he getting bashed by members of the public who feels his writing is pure exploitation with the only intent of shocking and making money, the producer of a movie he is writing is pressuring him to add more and more nasty violence into the script. Adding to this mess, his wife is having an affair and a drug addiction, something she blames on him. And of course, their children are being neglected by both parents; something that will have some pretty horrible consequences in the end.

Deadline is basically a drama about a man who is losing control of his life, still wanting to believe that his work is of some literary value but slowly succumbing into writing exceedingly violent horror. I suppose there might actually be a point behind all of this, some sort of statement about cinematic violence but since the movie is more interested in showing us all of these gory scenes from the movie he is writing that point soon becomes lost. As for the human drama, it really isn't very interesting. All the characters are self-centered assholes who only think of themselves and their needs, be it artistic integrity or being high on coke. They are all very unappealing and very hard to root for so when tragedy strikes you really don't feel anything else than that they had it coming. It probably would have helped if there were any good actors but other than Stephen Young in the lead who is ok, the rest of the ensemble are all hovering slightly below mediocre.

Fortunately there are other redeeming qualities for the gorehounds out there. There are quite a few random scenes of violence in Deadline and all of them nicely bloody and gory with good special effects. They don't don't add anything to the movie other than confusion about the scripts purpose and more importantly - entertainment.

Nuns eating pounds of flesh from a priest? Check.

Young children setting fire to their grandmother? Check.

A new wave band using some sort of nazicontrolled soundwave to make bums melt? Check. (What the hell? Who came up with that?)

Yes, Deadline is not a very good movie. It tries but the message is muddled and unappealing so its only enjoyment comes from watching the nasty gore scenes, although I will admit that the final 10 minutes of debauchery are both pretty fun to watch and actually quite horrifying. Too bad you don’t care at all about the lead character by then.

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