Saturday, August 9, 2014

Judas Priest: Dream Deceivers 1992 trial documentary now available

"Dream Deceivers", the 1992 documentary about the infamous trial in which Judas Priest was accused of inserting subliminal messages into its music, has finally been released on DVD and digital after years of behind-the scenes work by director David Van Taylor.

Film synopsis: "Just before Christmas, 1985, 19-year-old James Vance watched his best friend Ray Belknap shoot himself to death with a .12 gauge shotgun in a churchyard outside Reno, Nevada. Then Vance pulled the trigger on himself. He survived but was severely disfigured. Vance later claimed his actions had been influenced by the heavy metal music of Judas Priest, prompting his family to sue the band. The drama of the ensuing trial provides the framework for David Van Taylor's disturbing look at teenagers today."

According to the Center For Media And Social Impact (CMSI), the delay in releasing “Dream Deceivers” was due to "a copyright nightmare" due to the music and lyrics of Judas Priest appearing throughout the film. Van Taylor, conforming to the "clearance culture" of the era, diligently sought the rights from Sony to it all.

“We cleared things that, even then, we shouldn’t have,” said Van Taylor. “People reciting lyrics in the court room, snippets of songs being played backward--everything.”

“Dream Deceivers” was a hit. It premiered at New York's Film Forum, garnered record-high ratings on PBS POV, and won an award from the Independent Documentary Association. But when Van Taylor tried to get home-video licenses, Sony refused, claiming the film would compete with a Judas Priest "greatest hits" video. With that arbitrary decision, “Dream Deceivers” became lost to posterity, seemingly forever.

But now, 20 years later, it’s out on DVD and digital. What changed?

“The fair use revolution,” said Van Taylor. What he meant was the sea change in the documentary field since the creation of the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use in 2005. Van Taylor, one of the documentarians who helped create the Statement originally, had closely followed the increased acceptance of the law’s limited right to employ copyrighted material without licensing, when repurposing and using appropriate amounts.

For more details on Van Taylor’s battles, visit

Judas Priest recently released their new album, “Redeemer Of Souls.”

The band will launch a North American tour in support of the new album – with special guests Steel Panther – on October 1 in Rochester, New York; the 6-week run will wrap up November 22 in Tacoma, Washington.

The project marks guitarist Richie Faulkner's studio debut with Priest; he replaced founding member K.K. Downing following his retirement in 2011.

See also:

VIDEO: Judas Priest reveal story behind bonus track Never Forget
VIDEO: Judas Priest share story behind new song Tears Of Blood
VIDEO: Judas Priest reveal inspiration behind new song Bring It On
VIDEO: Judas Priest share story behind new song Creatures
Search Judas Priest at hennemusic