Dream Deceivers: The Story Behind James Vance vs. Judas PriestClosed Captioning
David Van Taylor
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Just before Christmas 1985, 19-year-old James Vance watched his best friend Ray Belknap shoot himself to death with a .12 gauge shotgun in a churchyard outside Reno, Nevada. Then Vance pulled the trigger on himself. He survived but was severely disfigured. Vance later claimed his actions had been influenced by the heavy metal music of Judas Priest, prompting his family to sue the band. The drama of the ensuing trial provides the framework for David Van Taylor's disturbing look at teenagers today.
"Behind the Music" For Reals
The demonization of music (in particular heavy metal music) finds some kind of strange apotheosis when two depressed teenagers shoot themselves and the survivor blames Judas Priest. Backwards messages, societal fingerpointing, troubled lives, and rock stars suddenly feeling vulnerable, make for a fascinating and compelling tale of woe. Later a famous Mr. Show sketch too.
Fascinating documentary, very well done
That a family would blame Judas Priest’s music for a suicide and attempted suicide is such a bizarre occurrence and Van Taylor has made a fascinating film about this actual case. It is a very well balanced documentary with all sides being presented fairly and without sensationalism and one is left to draw one’s own conclusions. The film really captures a time and place and lifestyle with many characters very well drawn.
I'm biased, but
I directed this film--my first in a career that now spans over 25 years. Lots of people still think it's my best.
It's a thrill to finally have the remastered version available in home video.