Dream Deceivers


I’ve been watching the hour-long documentary, Dream Deceivers — The Story of James Vance & Judas Priest. It’s an independent documentary made surrounding the events of the court trial where James Vance’s parents sued Judas Priest, because the teenager killed himself soon after listening to one of their songs. The documentary is kinda scary — it’s like Paradise Lost meets Jesus Camp. It’s nothing new, but it chills me all the more when they’re trying to burn Judas Priest at the stake. I mean, Judas Priest is potent stuff but…I don’t think it makes me want to kill myself. If anything it inspires me to meet my own full potential! It’s also quite depressing when one considers that there is much dopier, depressing music out there that people have intentionally killed themselves to — and that still doesn’t make any credible argument that it’s the musician/artist’s responsibility.

I’m no expert, but it seems like when someone kills themselves, there are many factors at play. Their lifestyle, their environment, their peers, their family, their own personal choices. It’s obvious to comment on, but it’s ridiculous for people to either: (A) place the blame on a single person or group or (B) place the blame exclusively on the victim. When you do that, you’re contributing to another suicide by acting like an asshole right now! Really, if James Vance knew his parents were suing Judas Priest, he would kill himself all over again.

Ah, another light-hearted post from yours truly! Well, here’s the whole film, embedded from Google video. I’d like to get a high-transfer DVD release of this, but I don’t think one exists.

I don’t know what’s up with that exploitative comment on the side of the google page, quoted from Kids and Gummo writer Harmony Korine. Well, I know what’s up with it, but…

Anyway, the kids from this documentary were actually the inspiration for the comic books series, Preacher, published in the ’90s. I remember my mom reading the first issue when she took me to the comic book store and being thoroughly unimpressed.


*Edit: Apparently I’m a complete idiot and forgot that James Vance is the name of the kid who survived his suicide attempt and helped his church-goin’ parents sue Judas Priest. So uh, yeah. Always remember to watch the actual documentary before you write about it, kids.


~ by chaosrexmachinae on April 4, 2008.

4 Responses to “Dream Deceivers”

  1. Hi Chaos !
    Yeah, the dead one kid is named Ray Belknap, James Vance was his friend and survivor, but he died 3 years after the facts : suffering of heavy depression issues, he was hospitalized and died of medication overdose… Suicide ? Euthanasia ? Who knows ?
    Sad story indeed…
    About that suicide pact : Rumors said that James freaked out when he saw his friend dead, and shot himself to make believe there had been an assault from other people. He then put the barrel under his chin and wiped his face off.
    I had seen a documentary called “Dance with the devil” about all those Heavy metal trials and scandals… and James was interviewed : his face had been somewhat fixed, he was less damaged and seemed pretty clear-minded about this whole story.

  2. Oh wow, thanks for the heads up! When you say he was clear-minded I guess you mean he changed his tune? It became clear upon watching the documentary I posted, that Judas Priest was one of the few positive influences in James Vance’s life. Or, at the very least, it was one of the few escapes from his depressing, abusive, evangelical home life. But then he agreed to sue the band at the prodding of his parents… Yeah, pretty depressing.

  3. Hi man.
    I can’t seem to find track of that “Dance with the devil” documentary about those “parents committees to protect youth from Metal satanists (oops)”, but I remember that interview with James… He had long hair, and a long beard. He had gained a bit more of some self-insurance but had not changed his story, claming he was “like possessed”, “couldn’t stop what he was doing”, and so on (clear-minded was not the right word, sorry for that).

    You may find a very long and detailed report on the case by checking out this URL :


    and search for string “metal on trial” in the page.
    See ya.

  4. There are some good quotes on that page.

    “Both of the prosecuting attorneys have children and we were giving them autographs and albums and all of those nice things during recesses, and it was quite strange to have to stand there and sign autographs for a person that’s trying to destroy you, but that was the kind of thing we were up against – it was very bizarre to say the least!”
    – Rob Halford, Rockline, August 20, 1990

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