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Dream Deceivers


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Two young men shoot themselves in a churchyard. Ray Belknap dies; James Vance - severely disfigured - survives. Their parents take heavy-metal icons Judas Priest to court, claiming the band "mesmerized" their sons. The unprecedented trial is the framework for this one-of-a-kind, Emmy-nominated documentary.

Review

"Not for the faint of heart." --Vogue

"Destined to cause a stir. Not just the band, but the parents, kids, and maybe even the judicial system are all on trial before the camera. Even-handed, sympathetic, but ultimately heartbreaking." --The Hollywood Reporter

"A monumental showdown between irreconcilable generations. A nightmare glimpse into America's spiritual drought and the way people fill that void with diametrically opposed faiths." --Interview Magazine

Product Details

  • Actors: Rob Halford, James Vance, K.K. Downing, Ian Hill, Glenn Tipton
  • Directors: David Van Taylor
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2014
  • Run Time: 58 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00K7H3VFM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,559 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
83%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
17%
See all 6 customer reviews
The judge in this case still inspires me that we can do better.
lbrlartist
She repeatedly minimizes horrible, tragic situations and takes no responsibly for exposing James to a life full of physical and emotional abuse.
Dr. KTGrrl
Elvis, the Beatles, Kiss and other groups have all rose to prominence among the young to the consternation of their elders.
Charles Ashbacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dr. KTGrrl on August 9, 2014
I've never listened to Heavy Metal or even remember this legal case when it happened but after watching Dream Deceivers I was so haunted by it, it stayed with me for days.

The story is sad and the images are gruesome. Those unfamiliar with case, it's about two teenagers who attempted suicide by shooting themselves with a sawed off shotgun; Ray Belknap died instantly but James Vance survives only to be horribly disfigured. He's difficult to watch and later blames their actions on subliminal messages embedded in Judas Priest songs; essentially the music literally drove them "to do it." The argument seems ludicrous now and having grown up with N.W.A's, Straight Out of Compton incomprehensible to me. Dream Deceivers documents the court case, explores their unhappiness, briefly touches on issues of personal responsibly and attempts to give you a better understand of their lives through interviews with like-minded Heavy Metal fans.

While the court case and debate over subliminal messages are interesting I found the cast of characters to be far more fascinating. The members of Judas Priest are featured and their perspective is essential to the story but I was riveted by the interviews with James, his parents and Ray's family. Each has different reasons for blaming the music and I found the psychology behind their motives intriguing.

For me, James's mother Phyllis was the most unnerving. Although his disfigurement is depressing I found her to be far more disturbing. She's prominently featured in the film and it's easy to see why she blames Heavy Metal for her son's problems. This sanctimonious, "born again," woman easily quotes the bible but cannot remember if her son was unhappy.
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When their child does something terrible, it is natural for the parents to blame others for the event. In this case, two teenage boys put a loaded shotgun to their face and pulled the trigger. One of the boys died immediately and the other lived but was horribly disfigured. The boys were major fans of the heavy metal rock group Judas Priest and their parents launched a lawsuit against the group for damages. Their claim was that there were subliminal messages in the Judas Priest songs that influenced the boys to pursue the suicide route. This movie sets the context and covers the trial of that lawsuit against Judas Priest.
The movie is disturbing on several levels, while you feel for the parents; once the trial is underway the revelations demonstrate that all was not well in the homes where the two boys lived. There was a history of alcoholism and drug use among the parents as well as the boys. Both of the boys had been in various levels of trouble for many years, so there were many warning signs of problems before they shot themselves. The two boys rebelled against authority as well, but that just meant they were fairly normal teenagers. This type of problem persists today; unfortunately today the boys take their guns to school instead.
It seems to be a permanent aspect of the human progression that children adopt behaviors and interests that scare their parents, especially in music. Elvis, the Beatles, Kiss and other groups have all rose to prominence among the young to the consternation of their elders.
The result of the trial is announced at the end of the video and it was a reasonable verdict. While you do have some empathy for the parents, it is obvious from all the evidence that is given on the video that this was just a tragedy of extreme teen rebellion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lbrlartist on December 9, 2014
Verified Purchase
I saw this when it originally aired on PBS many years ago. In fact, I taped it and a few years ago, I burned it to dvd - that's how strong an impression it made. I was both pleased and very surprised to find it for sale all of these years later. It still packs a real punch.

I watched my new dvd today and what surprised me most was how much my own perspective had changed. When I first saw it in the early 90's, I was completely outraged at the parents/families of these two young men. I was outraged at their dysfunction, how out of touch they were with their children, their inability to own their own responsibility and most of all, I was outraged at their determination to pin the blame on metal music (specifically Judas Priest music), a genre of music I loved then and now, for the actions of their sons. The bible-thumping offended me to no end and I was convinced that these families were suing Judas Priest to not only make themselves feel better, but to perhaps collect some nice settlements too.

Although I still have ALL of these same feelings, in watching this again 25 years later, I found that my outrage has softened a bit.
I can appreciate now what a tragedy this event was on ALL sides. Ultimately, this was simply a powerful documentary for me; for the families, it is a tragedy that never goes away; For the guys in Priest, judging from their demeanor in the film, I'll bet the memories still pop up now and then too.

For me, even then, what makes this documentary so powerful is that despite a horrific tragedy, justice did prevail.
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