The author died writing this review, lets hope you don't too!
Steven Lessey is a hard working writer. Absorbed by his passion to write meaningful horror stories, the Deadline set by his associates begins to wear thin, leaving no choice but to be consumed in the b grade 'schlock' style of writing that holds no value to him. Driven by the search for new, inventive and horrific ways of Killing the victims in his films, these ideas eventually emerge in his own life to haunt him and his family.
Deadline is dark and has a very unique perspective of writing from a storytelling standpoint. The decision for a horror film to be from the perspective of a successful Horror writer feels fresh and manages to build a significant anticipation for where or when the horror segments are shown. Due to this the elements of horror are incorporated very inventively by writer Richard Oleksiak and Director/Writer Mario Azzopardi, with the horrific scenes of gore spread throughout in random segments of the story, portrayed as Lessey's thoughts and ideas rather than actual events in a narrative. This brings the film to a more grounded and realistic presence, as the unbelievable and ficitonalised material is subject to one mans imagination, rather than his reality.
The world around these characters is brought to life with outstanding performances from the cast, the main 3 being Young, Masters and Goldhar. Even some of the child actors deliver a really solid, tragic display that really cement the assets within the 90 minutes to feel like genuine events rather than a script.
Deadlines $600,000 budget manifests some very eye catching cinematography from Manfred Guthe along with several stylish in camera Visual Effects by Martin Melaver, which are all complemented in the greatest respect by Vinegar Syndrome's restoration team.
Directed by: Mario Azzopardi
Starring: Stephen Young, Sharon Masters, Marvin Goldhar, Jeannie Elias, Cindy Hinds
1980 / 90 min / 1.85:1
• Region Free Blu-ray/DVD combo
• Newly scanned & restored in 2k from 35mm vault elements
• “Producing Something Horrific” - an interview with producer Henry Less
• “Embracing the Horror” - an interview with cinematographer Manfred Guthe
• Reversible cover artwork
• SDH English subtitles
The 4k scan on the original 35mm print offers so much clarity and enticement as you move through the story. The print being from 1979 has been restored to its best capability and only shows its 40 year age in some of the audio which can feel a little distant and obscured at times.
The Special Features have a fantastic range of insight into production of the film. "Producing Something Horrific" has producer Henry Less' detailing where and how he and Director Azzopardi first came in contact and how the origins of 'Deadline' came to fruition. You come away with knowledge about some of the challenges Less and Azzopardi experienced in production, how the two of them Journeyed to Cannes in 1981 to promote the film and how their relationship, careers and lives drifted after the films release. "Embracing the Horror" offers the thought process of cinematographer Manfred Guthe during filming, why he chose to shoot things in certain ways and how his main vision was to express the Horror elements as Steven Lessey's fantasy and solidify his actual life to differentiate the two. The interview manages to create an idea of how Guthe's decision process and full control allowed him to shoot something that was important as to how messages in the film could be told visually playing an integral role in the storytelling.
Reviewed and edited by William Tozer