Sunday, June 24, 2018

Junesploitation 2018 Day 24: Heavy Metal!

When the band starts to rock, heads start to roll!


  1. ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE (1987, 83 min.) on DVD for the first time.

    I was saving this one for the upcoming Canuxploitation! Day, but screw it. A group of hair metal musicians, their wives/girlfriends and "wonder manager" Phil (Harry Andrews-lookalike Adam Fried) drive to an isolated farmhouse to rehearse new material for their next album. As we know from the inspired-by-"Evil Dead" pre-credits opening scene set ten years prior, though, something sinister lurks within the walls and barn of this place. One by one the band members, who are more interested in having awesome sex with their partners (and perhaps the underage groupies that show up in the middle of the night) than playing with their instruments (ahem!), start disappearing and turning into... something else. What's the entity behind this? And who's the creepy kid that keeps showing up throughout the house?

    I had no idea who Jon Mikl Thor was before seeing "Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare"... but I do now. He doesn't have much to do than play a 'rocking' version of himself until the very end, when Mr. Thor literally lifts the movie on his shoulders and takes it in for a touchdown of an ending. Too bad the rest of the film was seriously underwhelming before the finale kicks in. From the visible headlights of passing cars next to this "isolated farmhouse" to shots that linger for way too long on average-at-best rubbery monsters (which the producers couldn't shorten or the flick would have been too short), the ambition of the filmmakers (and Jon Mikl Thor's) exceeded their miniscule budget and skills. A 'D+/C-' for execution but a 'B+' for effort, which averages to a recommendation with reservations from 'moi.' Now to rewatch this on Amazon Prime as a Rifftrax commentary... YES!!! :-)

  2. Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal (2001, dir. Jorge Montesi)

    Controversial heavy metal star (and Marilyn Manson knock-off) Slade Craven stages a special show for his biggest fans aboard a (surprisingly roomy) 747 on its way from L.A. to Toronto, and broadcasts it live over the internet. So naturally, a Satanic cult tries to hijack the plane, because if they crash it when the broadcast hits 10 million viewers, the Gates of Hell will open. Or something.

    Yeah, it's stupid, but occasionally it slips into the funny kind of stupid. Not often enough to be worthwile, though.

    American Satan (2017, dir. Ash Avildsen)

    An aspiring band moves to Hollywood to chase their dream, then a mysterious Malcolm McDowell shows up and offers them all they've ever wanted, for a price of course. They gain fame and fortune, but things start going wrong faster than you can say "Mephistopheles".

    The story's not the most original, but it's well told. The music kicks ass and the young cast play their parts well, backed up by a scenery-chomping McDowell, the always great Mark Boone Junior and Bill Duke in a tiny role. Denise Richards playing a 23-year-old's mom makes me feel old. Oh, and there's a tenuous Finnish connection: the 80's Finnish band Hanoi Rocks is mentioned in passing. Always a plus in my book.

  3. Stunt Rock (1979, dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith, First Time Viewing) I enjoyed the stunts a lot more than the rock.

  4. River's Edge (1986, dir. Tim Hunter)

    A group of metalhead, stoner teens try to deal with a murder that one of their own committed.

    This teen crime drama is incredibly dark, but also very good. The cast and the script are really amazing. Keanu is terrific, but I also love the idea that Crispin Glover was casted as the leader of this group. And of course, anytime Dennis Hopper is in a film you know you're in for a treat.

    While the metal soundtrack works, the score itself is the film's weakest part. It sounds too "tv movie". But a small complaint for a very interesting film.

  5. Rocktober Blood (1984)

    One of the Beverly and Ferd Sebastian movies I'm watching this month, this movie is a bit uneven. I guess I'm not really watching this for the plot, but the twist towards the end regarding the identity of the killer brings up a whole lot of questions that don't get answered. Part of the reason they don't get answered is because the last chunk of the movie is three musical numbers and it ends with a moment that feels heavily borrowed from the end of Life at Last from Phantom of the Paradise. It's an ok movie, although a bit slow for long stretches. The last song is kinda ok I guess.

  6. Trick or Treat (1986)

    Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne is heavily advertised on the cover, but they are only in the movie for 5 minutes total. The movie follows young Ediie who is an outcast on his school because he listens to heavy metal. His big idol, Sammi Curr, dies in a fire, and while grieving and listening to an album with him. He figures out he can communicate with him through playing his records backwards. Curr soon shows himself as an evil avenging spirit.

    It’s a good movie with some really great effects, and a really cool Soundtrack. The kills are a bit bland and the ending isn’t great, but it’s worth it.

  7. Deathgasm (2015, dir. Jason Lei Howden)

    A rewatch, but it felt to me like THE movie to watch today. It's so damn fun. I don't even like heavy metal at all, but the film gives me so much affection for these characters and their passion for it. Brodie and Madina are the best. If by chance you haven't seen it, today is really the day.

  8. Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal (2001)

    So, do you remember the long-ago time of last Thursday (we were so young then!) when I said that Most Wanted was incredibly, almost spectacularly dumb? Turns out Keenen Ivory Wayans and co ain’t got nothing on this incredible 32-piece extra-crispy bucket of stupid. Worse, it’s also a criminal waste of Rutger Hauer and Joe Mantegna (though Mantegna at least gets a couple of possibly intentionally funny lines).

    A Marilyn Manson-esque shock-rocker named Slade Craven is set to perform on a plane in mid-flight, but the plane is taken over by...Slade Craven. Or is it? The answer will shock you (with how dopey it is). The only man who can stop all this is bandana-sporting super-hacker Craig Sheffer (who also starred in the completely unrelated Turbulence 2 as a different character because existence is meaningless), and he’s been recruited by rogue FBI agent Gabrielle Anwar who has nothing to do but give him “oh Craig Sheffer, you so crazy” looks. I’m worried this might be making it sound watchable, but I assure you it’s actually hot garbage.

  9. Heavy Metal Parking Lot (Short) (1986, dir. Heyn/Krulik, First Time Viewing) A documentary of the parking lot pregame of heavy metal fans at a Judas Priest concert in 1986. This is a very cool time capsule of a simpler time. No phones, no social media, just metal-heads partying and enjoying each other’s company. Highly entertaining and hilarious.

    1. Classic and local to me. I saw my favorite show at the Capital Centre in MD, 1990 and will never forget it. Local filmmaker who went on to do others like "Harry Potter Parking Lot" but couldn't capture the purity of what was filmed without thinking about it.

    2. Whoa awesome! What was the show if you don’t mind my asking?

  10. The Devil’s Candy (2015)

    Any movie with Sunn O))) in the opening scene and on the soundtrack can’t miss, can it?

    I planned to watch Meat Loaf concert films today, only to learn there are dozens of them. It seems each tour got its own movie, somehow. This is the earliest I could find, in which Meat sings (and sweats!) his way through the whole Bat out of Hell album. This show features the original ridiculously long 30-minute version of Paradise by the Dashboard Light, and songwriter Jim Steinman joins the band on piano.

    DEAD RINGER (1981)
    Bizarre semi-autobiographical movie where Meat Loaf plays himself, navigating the ups and downs of being a rock star while also aimlessly wandering the sidewalks of New York for no apparent reason. Meat also plays Marvin, an introvert who follows Meat on tour hoping to meet him. I don’t even know what genre this movie is. There’s not enough songs to call it a musical. There’s an overall sense of absurdity, but not enough to call it a comedy. Can “a bunch of random stuff happens” be called a genre?

    Here’s where we see Meat adding a lot of theatricality to his live shows, remembering that he was a musical theater guy before being a rock star. He acts out the songs with his band and backup singers as if the songs are mini-plays, playing different characters for different songs. Backup singers the Goff sisters are great fun, and their ‘80s wardrobe and hair are perfectly, perfectly ‘80s.

    Schmaltzy, treacly TV-movie retelling the ups and downs of Meat’s life and career. The paint-by-numbers script is obnoxious in how it’s trying so very hard to elicit tears from the audience at every turn. I’m not convinced Meat’s life could make a good biopic, but it could certainly do better than this.

    Here’s where Meat’s theatricality combines with overblown arena rock, in an almost three-hour extravaganza. There’s multiple costume changes, pyrotechnics, graphics on big screens, the whole deal. Now that he’s older, Meat doesn’t have the sweaty intensity from earlier, and instead he’s taking time here and there to slow down a little and interact with the fans. Backup singers Aspen Miller, C.C. Coletti, and Marion Raven are unbelievably stellar, threatening to steal the show. Really enjoyed this one.

  12. Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

    That guitar drill is just about as heavy metal as it gets. I love this movie. The best part is that 75min runtime.

  13. Trick or Treat (1986)

    Watched Black Roses for Scary Movie Month, so thought I'd round out the whole high school haunted metal singer genre. It was fine, always better when the demonic Sunny was on screen. Actually found the Gene Simmons and Ozzie Osbourne cameos to be quite charming. I just would love to see less "music making high schoolers" horny in these flicks, but I get it was the 80s and all the rage. More nerdy best friends, though!

  14. Trick or Treat (1986, dir. Smith)

    What a blast. The lead is super likeable, and when the movie is leaning heavily into being a teen film in its first half, it's genuinely great. It starts to lose me when Sammi starts electrocuting kids at the prom, because it starts to get away from the hero being tempted by revenge theme it established, but it's still a great time all the way through.

  15. Rocktober Blood (1984) Dir: Beverly Sebastian

    Proof that sometimes a movie can be so inept, incompetent and incoherent that it comes all the way around to being totally entertaining. An apparently executed lead singer of a metal band comes back from the dead to torment the the remaining members of his old band.

    That synopsis doesn't do justice to crazy turns this story takes, which only adds to its appeal. Acting that doesn't even rise to level of your local high school's drama club, and a fundamental misunderstanding of editing and story construction only add to the fun. I could never call this good, it's barely even a movie, but I had a great time watching it. Also, you WILL be singing "Rainbow Eyes" for days after watching it.

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  17. The Gate (1987):

    My second Tibor Takacs film this Junesploitation, a cute Amblin-era (era) kids' horror jawn. Like Creepshow, I really wish I'd seen it at age 12.

  18. I’m a few days late, but so be it. I think moving to a new city is a good enough excuse.

    The Gate (1987)

    One of the best gateway horror films for kids, it also contains all the spoopy-doopy shit we were told by many talk show hosts would happen if we listened to Heavy Metal™ . I seriously wish more metal bands would include grimoires with their LP releases. Life would be way more rad. I’ve always loved this movie and I shared it with my youngest brother for this viewing. The relationships between the characters is so genuine and sweet and it creates such a strong desire from the viewer for them to survive through this demonic infestation. The effects are still really solid, even if you know exactly how they work. Everything comes together in a way that really lets you jump in feet first and enjoy the ride.

  19. Don't Kill It (2016) - rewatch - Heavy Metal

    I love, love this movie. Dolph just seems to be having so much fun in this role, and excellently plays to the semi serious/comedic tone of the movie.