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Just Before Dawn (1981) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (7)
Director Jeff Lieberman said that countless strangers showed up at the filming location on the day that the scene of Jamie Rose swimming topless was to be filmed. Lieberman said that word of this shoot had apparently gotten out amongst the local Forest Rangers.
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Director Jeff Lieberman cited Deliverance (1972) as the film's primary influence.
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While shooting in the woods one evening, the lighting went out without explanation, leaving the cast and crew in total darkness. After several minutes, the frustrated producer yelled out, "Let there be light!", and sure enough, the lights came back on. It was never determined why they went out, nor why they came back on.
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According to Jeff Lieberman, despite numerous reviewers who have stated that the film was inspired by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) or The Hills Have Eyes (1977), he had not seen either film when he began shooting this film.
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According to Composer Brad Fiedel, many of the ominous sounds in the music score were electronically altered audio clips of him vocalizing droning noises.
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The title of the original screenplay was "The Last Ritual". It was changed after the script's heavy religious theme was axed, and the story was rigorously revised.
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The eerie whistling motif heard in Brad Fiedel's music score is a reference to the rescue whistle that Warren (Gregg Henry) carries in the film.
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Despite its authentic, weathered appearance, the "old" church house used in the film was built for the production.
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Roy McLean (George Kennedy) refers to the potted plant that he's so carefully grafting as "Lucille". This is possibly a reference to Cool Hand Luke (1967), in which Kennedy also starred.
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The movie's producers originally wanted to edit the rope bridge from the production in hopes of saving money and time. Jeff Lieberman argued to keep the rope bridge part of the movie, as it would be a unique element that would help the movie create more excitement, and thus be more successful. Lieberman won out and the rope bridge was kept. Later, during distribution, one U.K. poster for this movie featured artwork of the characters crossing the rope bridge.
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Every time someone appeared from the darkness in the woods, the crickets stop chirping just prior to their appearance.
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During the production, the cast and crew were rocked by an earthquake one Sunday morning. It was the eruption of Mount St. Helens in neighboring Washington.
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The original script included a sixth camper named Eileen, who dies when she is thrown off of a cliff. It also included a climax involving Constance (Deborah Benson) being forced to handle rattlesnakes by the inbred villains.
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The tombstones in the abandoned church yard have the name Logan on them: the same name as the mountain family in the film.
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The first draft of the script that would become this movie was written in 1978, and originally titled "The Tennessee Mountain Murders". The script went through rigorous revisions (and two title changes) before being filmed.
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According to Jeff Lieberman, the film was almost picked up by Universal Pictures for release. Unfortunately, business issues with the distribution company prevented it from happening.
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According to the sign in front of Roy McLean's (George Kennedy's) forestry outpost, the movie takes place in Madison County, Oregon.
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The film's German release title is "Blutige Dämmerung", which means "Bloody Dusk" in English.
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Jeff Lieberman considers this to be his personal favorite of his films.
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An early draft of the script had Jonathan (Chris Lemmon) attempting to seduce Merry Cat (Katie Powell), instead of Merry Cat flirting with him after putting on Megan's (Jamie Ross') make-up.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Chris Lemmon was performing a dangerous stunt when he was shot clinging to ropes after his fall into the rushing river. Lemmon had to physically hang on to the ropes for a while as the powerful river pulled at him. Only a few feet away him was the top of a huge waterfall that was notorious for people falling to their deaths from it.
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Originally, the revelation of the film's twin killers occurred when Jonathan (Chris Lemmon) is attacked on the rope bridge. He was to be attacked by one twin at one end of the bridge, then he turned and struggled to the other side, only to be greeted by the same massive inbred on that side, too. It was then that he would turn to see that there were two huge men at each end of the bridge, both of whom intended to kill him.
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Jeff Lieberman's idea for the fist-choke finale of the film came about as he was trying to think of a way to kill someone that had never been done in film. The close-up shot of this quirky killing was done with a prosthetic over-sized mouth placed on John Hunsaker and Lieberman's wife used as a stand-in for Deborah Benson. It's her fist that's used in the shot.
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According to director Jeff Lieberman, in the scene where Daniel (Ralph Seymour) is stabbed, the camera hanging from Ralph's neck flew upward and smacked him in the face as he fell backwards onto the ground. So the expression of pain on his face was real.
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Richard Kiel was auditioned for the role of the film's dual killers.
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Though never mentioned in the film, the names of the murderous mountain twins were originally Lucas and Luther.
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The characters hitting the deer early in the movie was suppose to be an omen of the danger to come. The sound of the crying deer is heard again in Connie's (Deborah Benson's) mind after she and Warren (Gregg Henry) discover Jonathan's (Chris Lemmon's) body. In the director's cut of this movie, Connie mentions the dead deer to Warren during the same scene. However, this dialogue was edited out of the theatrical version of the film.
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