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

  • Aug 30, 2015

    Really well done, insightful, and surprisingly level-headed and objective for a film made at the time.

    Really well done, insightful, and surprisingly level-headed and objective for a film made at the time.

  • Oct 27, 2012

    Documentary on the case where metal gods Judas Priest stood trial after two teens shot themselves in the head due to backward messages on their Stained Class album. Thankfully they were acquitted and followed up with the landmark Painkiller album.

    Documentary on the case where metal gods Judas Priest stood trial after two teens shot themselves in the head due to backward messages on their Stained Class album. Thankfully they were acquitted and followed up with the landmark Painkiller album.

  • Aug 27, 2011

    While the events of Dream Deceivers may be ancient by some peoples standards, it is a documentary the demonstrates one of the dangerous pitfalls of modern day America -- our separation from reality. Following the trial of James Vance (and his friend) accusing a Judas Priest song for having subliminal messages that made them shoot themselves (although Vance survived), DD demonstrates how many of us are unwilling to face the reality of our lives and take responsibility for our actions. While it is natural to not want to accept guilt, in America today it has become the current mode of life to blame others for our own mistakes. In doing so, however, we deny the fact that we all make mistakes and that it is human to do so, creating a schism in our personal realities and what truly is the real world. After viewing DD it is clear that is what the families of the victims have done. And like so many issues throughout history, the problems appeared to be influenced more by Christianity than the issue the victims were blaming. Like many, Vance's mother put complete faith in the church and the spirit. Many do this because the outside world appears to be a scary place. They are then taught to ignore the external and focus on the internal. But by doing so, these people ignore reality. They do not see what is truly happening right before their very eyes. They focus on the life they want to have, even if it is an impossible one. This is what appears to have happened in Vance's case. He was a lonely, troubled boy, part of a family that wanted to be ideal, but wasn't. He was simply looking for acceptance, and he found it in the friend he tried to end his life with (another boy with similar issues). While the music we listen to definitely influences us, the choices we make, even under influence, are our own. Dream Deceivers demonstrates this wonderfully. A great documentary.

    While the events of Dream Deceivers may be ancient by some peoples standards, it is a documentary the demonstrates one of the dangerous pitfalls of modern day America -- our separation from reality. Following the trial of James Vance (and his friend) accusing a Judas Priest song for having subliminal messages that made them shoot themselves (although Vance survived), DD demonstrates how many of us are unwilling to face the reality of our lives and take responsibility for our actions. While it is natural to not want to accept guilt, in America today it has become the current mode of life to blame others for our own mistakes. In doing so, however, we deny the fact that we all make mistakes and that it is human to do so, creating a schism in our personal realities and what truly is the real world. After viewing DD it is clear that is what the families of the victims have done. And like so many issues throughout history, the problems appeared to be influenced more by Christianity than the issue the victims were blaming. Like many, Vance's mother put complete faith in the church and the spirit. Many do this because the outside world appears to be a scary place. They are then taught to ignore the external and focus on the internal. But by doing so, these people ignore reality. They do not see what is truly happening right before their very eyes. They focus on the life they want to have, even if it is an impossible one. This is what appears to have happened in Vance's case. He was a lonely, troubled boy, part of a family that wanted to be ideal, but wasn't. He was simply looking for acceptance, and he found it in the friend he tried to end his life with (another boy with similar issues). While the music we listen to definitely influences us, the choices we make, even under influence, are our own. Dream Deceivers demonstrates this wonderfully. A great documentary.

  • Nov 02, 2010

    Made by amateurs but they got their point across. I get why Vance's parent's brought up the lawsuit and all after I saw the (very sad) shape that he was in but the fact remains that the parent's main goal in front of the camera seemed to be to get people to empathize with their lawsuit (not James) instead of encouraging ANY form of communication with the likes of someone in Vance's shoes, not what type of music they were listening to. That was more depressing than anything.

    Made by amateurs but they got their point across. I get why Vance's parent's brought up the lawsuit and all after I saw the (very sad) shape that he was in but the fact remains that the parent's main goal in front of the camera seemed to be to get people to empathize with their lawsuit (not James) instead of encouraging ANY form of communication with the likes of someone in Vance's shoes, not what type of music they were listening to. That was more depressing than anything.

  • May 13, 2010

    Documentary on the case where metal gods Judas Priest stood trial after two teens shot themselves in the head due to backward messages on their Stained Class album. Thankfully they were acquitted and followed up with the landmark Painkiller album.

    Documentary on the case where metal gods Judas Priest stood trial after two teens shot themselves in the head due to backward messages on their Stained Class album. Thankfully they were acquitted and followed up with the landmark Painkiller album.

  • Dec 15, 2009

    very well-done, even-handed, and mostly forgotten documentary about one of the more ridiculous court cases in the history of popular music. it's a shame that the VHS is long out-of-print and no DVD release is imminent - hope for yr local PBS affiliate to air this one, or grab a VHS rip from the 'net (there's at least one HQ version floating around). we all remember the footage of rob halford on the witness stand, which mtv and various tv newsmagazines caned to death, but this shot-on-video doc goes a bit deeper, providing a gilmpse into the near-hopeless lives of reno metalheads. these kids have nothing but their music, and it's not hard to see why two of them entered a suicide pact - one judas priest tune had nothing to do with it. disturbing imagery of james vance (the guy that "survived" his self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head) is included throughout, and his facial reconstruction makes the recent chimp-attack lady look a beauty queen by comparison. he should've been allowed to die, instead of being forced to look on in misery and constant physical pain, while his parents filed suit against his favourite band (he did, eventually, succeed in taking his own life). david van taylor takes no stance here, but it's clear to see what's going on - vance's parents have thrown themselves into their faith, unable to deal with what has happened. their wish to absolve themselves of any guilt with regards to their son's desire to end his existence has left them looking for a scapegoat, and they've found one in judas priest. we're left with an artist that is (rightfully) cleared of any wrongdoing, but parents that still don't want to take responsibility for the role *they* may have played in their son's death. the viewer is relieved for the band but full of despair for the parents and the community. (as an aside, you get to hear a 1990 rob halford say "ghetto blaster" in this, which is reason enough to seek it out, if you ask me.)

    very well-done, even-handed, and mostly forgotten documentary about one of the more ridiculous court cases in the history of popular music. it's a shame that the VHS is long out-of-print and no DVD release is imminent - hope for yr local PBS affiliate to air this one, or grab a VHS rip from the 'net (there's at least one HQ version floating around). we all remember the footage of rob halford on the witness stand, which mtv and various tv newsmagazines caned to death, but this shot-on-video doc goes a bit deeper, providing a gilmpse into the near-hopeless lives of reno metalheads. these kids have nothing but their music, and it's not hard to see why two of them entered a suicide pact - one judas priest tune had nothing to do with it. disturbing imagery of james vance (the guy that "survived" his self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head) is included throughout, and his facial reconstruction makes the recent chimp-attack lady look a beauty queen by comparison. he should've been allowed to die, instead of being forced to look on in misery and constant physical pain, while his parents filed suit against his favourite band (he did, eventually, succeed in taking his own life). david van taylor takes no stance here, but it's clear to see what's going on - vance's parents have thrown themselves into their faith, unable to deal with what has happened. their wish to absolve themselves of any guilt with regards to their son's desire to end his existence has left them looking for a scapegoat, and they've found one in judas priest. we're left with an artist that is (rightfully) cleared of any wrongdoing, but parents that still don't want to take responsibility for the role *they* may have played in their son's death. the viewer is relieved for the band but full of despair for the parents and the community. (as an aside, you get to hear a 1990 rob halford say "ghetto blaster" in this, which is reason enough to seek it out, if you ask me.)