Deadline (1981): Movie Review

Deadline Movie Review by Chris Wright for
Review by Chris Wright

A horror writer with a "Deadline" who has lapsed reality with his writing fantasy couldn't possibly go wrong can it? Why yes it can!

In 1981 a strange Canadian horror movie came out called "Deadline". Paragon released this psychological terror that is filled with strange imagery and at times truly depressing. It has only been given the Paragon VHS release that is fairly difficult to find today. Paragon had a tendency to release unknown movies back in its heyday. They did release things uncut and had many trailers on their releases. It does deserve a re-release as it was made in 2:35:1 so a new release in its original aspect ratio would give the movie justice.

The world of Steven Lessey (Stephen Young) , horror writer and movie maker, isn't looking so great. His movies are not well received by recent critics who excoriated him at a discussion panel. Apparently Lessey's movies are too "degenerate" for society, which various scenes in this movie proves it is. Lessey's reality is full of stress with his manager, Burt Horowitz (Marvin Goldhar), demanding he meet constant deadlines and be constantly caught up in his work. He is so caught up he is stressed out by his kids being kids. The stress is not helped with the fact that his wife (Sharon Masters as Elizabeth Lessey) is a drug addict who stumbles in late at night.

Some of the gruesome disturbing movie scenes from his work are rather graphic: A satanic goat that controls construction work and makes a shredder tear apart a guy; a couple of kids tie their grandmother down to a bed, throw fuel on her, and light her on fire; fetus' inside of multiple women committing suicide inside of their mother over being born (killing her in the process); a bunch of nuns who kill the Catholic priest to have communion by being cannibals and eating his flesh from a cross; punk rockers having a low frequency concert with a special drink that makes watchers urinate and defecate on themselves and die.

The movies turns for a depressing turn through the stress when Lessey's children want to watch his movie "The Executioner". Unfortunately, they reenact a scene from it and it turns tragic. Philip (Phillip Leonard) and David (Tod Woodcroft) accidentally kill their sister Sharon (Cindy Hinds) by a hanging. The entire family is literally spit at that point. Steven gets verbal with older son David, in which David tells him how much he hates him. The children go to stay with their Grandmother. The wives seemingly leaves Steven instantly. While all this is giong on, Steven's heartless manager Burt insists he keep all his deadlines or else. Burt is over demanding and even threatens to sue if he doesn't produce non stop during his daughters death.

Steven, soon, decides he has had enough of Burt's deadlines and has an orgy with females at his house. He turns on his movie "The Executioner" that soon in his mind starts to replay the death of his daughter. Steven goes ballistic at the women he invited over only for them to knock him out with a bottle of wine. Steven sees reenactments of his movies all through the house to where he eventually passes out on his bed. To conclude, he calls Burt to say he will continue the movies to meet the deadlines. We are left with a cliffhanger of a gun being taken from a drawer to be fired.

A truly creative early 80s Canadian jewel. It's not perfect by any means but it does have hidden meanings. What was Mario Azzopardi's purpose of this movie? It deals with critics hating horror movies and anybody who dares think they are good for society, where have we heard this before? It has B style movies that appeal to some as the lowest common denominator as Lessey is demanded to write from his egotistical agent. Lessey wants to do "better" work but is told to feed the masses. Even the depressing life of the horror writer can resonate with many. The only flaw is there are no real likable characters but to me that is on the back burner as I think Steven Lessey has some small level of redemption at the end. Overall, a solid horror flick. I recommend it. 5 out of 5 stars from me. It has a 5.6 out of 10 on IMDB If you can find any copy of it, watch it!

Deadline (1981)
Directed/Written By: Mario Azzopardi
Starring: Stephen Young, Sharon Masters, Margin Goldhar, Cindy Hindes, Phillip Leonard, Tod Woodcroft

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