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Just Before Dawn (1981)

Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by Forest Ranger Roy McLean that a huge machete-wielding maniac has been terrorising the area.... See full summary »

Director:

Jeff Lieberman

Writers:

Mark Arywitz (screenplay), Jeff Lieberman (screenplay) (as Gregg Irving) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Kennedy ... Roy McLean
Mike Kellin ... Ty
Chris Lemmon ... Jonathan
Gregg Henry ... Warren
Deborah Benson ... Constance
Ralph Seymour ... Daniel
Katie Powell ... Merry Cat Logan (as Kati Powell)
John Hunsaker ... Mountain Twins
Charles Bartlett ... Vachel
Jamie Rose ... Megan
Hap Oslund Hap Oslund ... Pa Logan
Barbara Spencer Barbara Spencer ... Ma Logan
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Storyline

Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by Forest Ranger Roy McLean that a huge machete-wielding maniac has been terrorising the area. Ignoring the warnings, they set up camp, and start disappearing one by one. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The nightmare has begun -- See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 November 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Justo Antes De Amanecer See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Oakland Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Jeff Lieberman, the film was almost picked up by Universal Pictures for release. Unfortunately, business issues with the distribution company prevented it from happening. See more »

Goofs

At 50:19, When Daniel approaches the cemetery to take pictures a boom mic is visible for a few seconds in the top left of the screen before it is realized and then pulled out of the frame. See more »

Quotes

[after Warren and Jonathan scare the group]
Daniel: I knew it was you guys all along.
Jonathan: Oh come on Dan you were more freaked out than the girls.
Daniel: I just wasn't sure it was you.
Jonathan: So you peed your pants to play it safe, huh?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the cinema version was uncut the 1986 UK MIA video was cut by 7 secs by the BBFC to edit a scene where a man is stabbed through the groin with a machete and the blade emerges from his back. The cut was waived for the 2005 Odeon DVD which also features an additional 9 minutes of dialogue scenes. See more »

Connections

References A Bay of Blood (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Heart Of Glass
Written by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein
Performed by Blondie
©(1979) Courtesy of Chrysalis Records, A Division of EMI
Under License from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great Backwoods slasher flick. A classic in all respects.
8 November 2007 | by Bub_the_zombieSee all my reviews

Just Before Dawn came out during the golden days of the slasher film. The backwoods slasher pretty much started with films like Friday the 13th, The Burning, and Madman. Just Before Dawn is a step ahead of the typical backwoods slasher flick. The cinematography is gorgeous. The acting is top notch. The heroine of the film is not your typical 'final girl'.

Constance is a 'woods' girl, but when it comes down to the primal instinct of survival, she's a step behind. Not until it comes to saving the life of her and her boyfriend, does the primal notion of survival kick in. There's a subtle transition that gradually focuses on the final girls hidden sexuality - coinciding that alongside her will to survive.

Just Before Dawn isn't for everyone, but for the slasher fan, it's as close to perfect as you can get. The killer(s) are very menacing - Almost like it's a game to maim and murder anyone who crosses their territory. The end scene is a bit off kilter. For the first time viewer, it may be a little shocking. I'd recommend this to anyone who's a fan of the backwoods slasher. Even non-slasher fans will find something to like about it. The setting is eerie and makes one feel uneasy. The death sequences aren't particularly gory, but I'm not sure the film needed gore. See it!


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