Theme Song: No theme song, but the score was done by Clay Smith and his dad, Arthur Smith of “Dueling Banjos” fame.
Interesting Dated References: 1920s period dramas featuring heating vents, drywall, and plastic shelving.
Best Line: Said by potential investor — “You give me something I can put my hands on and I’ll spit cash like tobacco. Ask me to buy that cloud, my hands run through it and I dry up.” There are a few other gems of good dialogue buried in A Day of Judgment, but that one is the finest.
Social Context: A Day of Judgment is an 80s version of a liturgical drama with inadequate lighting set in the 1920s. Deceptively marketed to look like a slasher film, there’s nothing even remotely slasher-like within.
There is this grossly-out-of-place decapitation at the very end of the movie, but that’s it for blood and guts.
Summary: The sad sack preacher in the sad sack town is sad because nobody goes to church anymore. He decides to leave town, but not before saying his goodbyes to the townsfolk. There’s Harvey, the greedy businessman, Kenny, his womanizing salesman, Missy, the adulterous wife, and several other characters to fill out the cast, including the greedy bank owner whose fucking name I forget, some crabby old woman who gets enraged when children toss their ball into her yard, and the guy who hates his parents and wants to have them committed.
The audio has so much echo and reverb I feel like I’m super high and listening to Lee Perry. On top of that, the acting is pretty stiff. There’s nice dialogue, though, and that can be attributed to writer Tom McIntyre. A Day of Judgment is his sole writing credit.
After we meet a few other townspeople and see their misdeeds, nightfalls and they begin getting off by a scythe-carrying shadowy figure. At least I assume that’s what’s happening. It’s so fucking dark and the killings are so insinuated it’s hard to tell what’s going on. One by one they all get killed: the adulterer, the greedy banker, the venomous old woman, the womanizing salesman. It goes on for like 6 hours.
After everyone is murdered, they are led to Hell (represented by a single landscape painting) by the shadowy figure, only to be startled awake in their own beds the next morning. You see, it was all a dream! Everyone is so thankful to be alive, they stop their lowdown, dirty ways, and all go to church to meet the new pastor, who is wearing the same cape the shadowy scythe killer was wearing!
– Nothing. There is nothing worth mentioning.
– This will be my last Betamax review and I hereby declare this site finished.
Poster and Box Art: The poster for A Day of Judgment is nice looking. It’s ominous and has a nice Halloween-aping tagline: “The night HE came to collect his own.” We can assume the production company knew they had a fairly miserable movie on their hands and put most of the remaining budget into making the poster look awesome. The video box is the same art but with a different slogan.
Availability: Used VHS.