Dream Deceivers: The Story Behind James Vance vs. Judas Priest

Dream Deceivers was streaming on 4:3 October 2019

dream deceivers is a TV documentary about the infamous judas priest ‘subliminal messages’ case. two metal fiends from nevada shoot themselves just before xmas 1985 in a church playground after getting high and looping the band’s LPs all night. one is killed and the other is mutilated beyond recognition. did killer backwards messages concealed on judas priest’s records by the band make them do it? a witch trial is held to find out.
sweet lord, it’s a dark tale, a southern gothic murder ballad for the time of prince and ronald reagan. behold america’s incredible haunted-ness, like in the paradise lost trilogy or silence of the lambs: sunshine in graveyards, downers mixed with miller lite, mad faith, dead parents. nevada looks like a boring version of hell.
i think the movie’s about being bewitched unto ecstasy by a dark force (or ‘god’) in the middle of the wilderness: the parents get feverish for jesus; the surviving kid, james vance, talks about how he used to soar through his favourite priest tracks like he was riding on the back of a heavy metal falkor . (the prosecutors are lost in a demented parody of scriptural interpretation, trying to locate those evil commands hidden in rob halford’s shrieks.)
meanwhile, james is a tranq’d up ghost in the wrong dimension, desperate to escape this wicked world. his face looks like a halloween pumpkin built from dead flesh. it’s eerie and amazing how you get to wander around with him. the director, david van taylor, resists any freak show theatrics. james smokes alone; james reads lyrics about being spirited away by a peter pan-like sprite to another galaxy. a graveside epilogue tells us of his suicide a few years later. what’s it feel like to be a zombie? is that sometimes the same thing as being a teenager or is that just life in the USA? dream deceivers knows.
i kind of regret exhuming such ghoulishness for you to ogle. i wish i could’ve picked a VHS rip of spielberg’s hook (1992) but, alas, dude, my demons are strong.

Charlie Fox