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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

Director Jeff Lieberman cited Deliverance (1972) as the film's primary influence. 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

Warren: There's nothing out there but God's little creatures, more scared of you than you are of them.
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

Referenced in There's Nothing Out There (1991) 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

 
impressive early 80's slasher.
19 February 2009 | by jhpstrydomSee all my reviews

Five teens set out to do some camping in the Oregon wilderness, and despite being warned by the park ranger, they soon realize that something is lurking around in the backwoods waiting to strike.

When it comes to old horror movies, the only one that keeps popping up in every conversation is Friday THE 13th, so I took it upon myself to find those good old horror movies that fell short for simply being compared to Friday THE 13th, JUST BEFORE DAWN just so happened to be among the ones I found, and was really very impressive, it wasn't as bland as some of the stuff you find today, it was very sharp in terms of character development as it had quite a few likable ones, and it has this very casual pace, its not in a hurry to get to the hack and slash bits, it takes its time to set the proper mood and tone and is very atmospheric and builds some killer suspense by letting you always have that sense of dread like, somethings out there but you don't know where it is or when it will strike.

Where I live its definitely an overlooked gem simply because people never heard of it or won't give it a chance, but I'll state that it is not a Friday THE 13th rip off, the two concepts don't even go near each other, but in my mind, it is overall one of the more impressive slashers I've seen in a while.


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