Review: Deadbeat at Dawn

Blu-ray: Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)

Full disclosure to begin: I have loved Deadbeat at Dawn since 1st watching it on a grainy VHS copy many years ago, then buying it on an official VHS and later on DVD. So having Arrow Films release it on Blu-ray, accompanied by their always superlative set of special features, has me very happy indeed.

Goose (writer/director/editor/stuntman Jim Van Bebber) is the leader of ‘The Ravens’ street gang who have on ongoing fued with fellow gang ‘The Spiders’.

When his girlfriend Christy (Megan Murphy) threatens to leave him if he doesn’t leave gang-life behind him, he quits The Ravens, but not before one last drug deal to make some money to live on.

However, The Spiders kill Christy which leads Goose down a violent path of revenge and redemption.

A low budget indie movie that that packs as much love, enthusiasm, and passion into its 80 minute running time as it does action packed fights, crazy stunts and violent bloodletting, Deadbeat at Dawn is an action classic that deserves to be seen by everyone.

Being a similar age to Van Bebber and also making low budget movies at the same time as him, I’ve always looked up to him and anticipated all of his projects; which are also covered in the extensive special features which are an absolute joy to watch.

Always one to never let anything get in his way, Jim literally risked life and limb (see how he almost got an arm ripped off in one particular stunt!) to get his ideas onscreen.

Deadbeat may well alienate viewers who prefer the bigger budget end of the movie making system, and it’s crude (yet effective) cinematography and violence are also to a certain taste, but if you enjoy being taken on a wild ride where the filmmakers passion oozes from every frame, then this is the movie for you.

Thank you Arrow Films for this fantastic release.


• Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, supervised and approved by writer-director Jim VanBebber

• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation

• Original uncompressed PCM mono audio

• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

• Brand new free-wheeling audio commentary with Jim VanBebber (’Goose’, The Ravens’ Gang Leader), actor Paul Harper (’Danny Carmodi’, The Spyders’ Gang Leader) and guest Cody Lee Hardin, moderated by filmmaker Victor Bonacore (Diary of a Deadbeat: The Story of Jim VanBebber)

• Jim VanBebber, Deadbeat Forever! – a brand new retrospective documentary on VanBebber and the Deadbeat legacy by Filmmaker Victor Bonacore, featuring first-time interviews, super-rare footage, VanBebber’s college films and much, much more!

• Archival 1986 behind-the-scenes documentary – Nate Pennington’s VHS documentary on a failed Deadbeat shoot

• Outtakes, newly transferred in HD

• Four newly-restored VanBebber short films – Into the Black (1983, 34 mins), My Sweet Satan (1993, 19 mins), Roadkill: The Last Days of John Martin (1994, 14 mins) and Gator Green (2013, 16 mins)

• Jim VanBebber Music Video Collection, featuring never-before-seen Director’s Cuts

• Chunkblower – promotional trailer for an unfinished Gary Blair Smith-produced gore-soaked feature film

• Extensive Image Gallery – Never-Before-Seen Stills!

• Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Scott Gabbey and Graham Rae

Deadbeat at Dawn is released on 22nd October 2018 and you can buy it by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes.

Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.