Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare what can I say, (other than they got the nightmare part right), had to be one of the cheesiest, nothing really happening, could have been a lot better, films I have ever seen. The story tells the snore inducing tale of a rock band Triton that travel to a deserted farmhouse to spend some time rehearsing/ recording, unaware that at some point in the past the last family who lived there were killed by a pack of blood thirsty demons. Of course on entering the house they awaken this malignant force and get taken over one by one, (sound familiar anyone?) and once possessed wreak havoc and violence on those remaining untarnished band members who have no idea what danger they are in. This premise, although a bit ‘Evil Dead’, could have been so good had it perhaps not been written, produced by and starring as the band leader Jon Triton, Canadian musician Jon-Mikl Thor, yes who the fuck actually? I thought he might be some sort of Canadian hair metal treasure, only having heard of him from some direct to video horror films, so I asked a Canadian and they have never heard of him either, why am I not surprised by this? Said Canadian apologised for Bryan Adams, Celine Dion and Nickleback but they sure as hell were not going to own up to this one, and seriously I can’t blame them.
Now I love a bit of Heavy Metal Horror but this cheesefest was going a step too far, being more metal and less horror, and only one type of metal, the music of Jon-Mikl Thor (which isn’t very good in my opinion). The pacing is so hit and miss on this feature that I had trouble not snoozing off, and don’t get me wrong I am all about awful production values and shitty direct to video horror if it is done right; that means fun story, gore, gratuity and all the other wonderful bits that can be put into these films as they are not governed by the rules of the mainstream. Sadly Nightmare, as I will call it, had very little of these, apart from a few boobs, and an overly long shower scene in which Thor gets it on with his lady and which proved to be less than titillating. I really did not want to see this waxen chested blonde Blackie Lawless lookalike sticking his tongue into a rather rough looking woman’s mouth, and it went on for ages, and ages; so long in fact I had time to consider how cheap the shower fitment looked, several times. Intermingled with the rare nudity were a few trashy action scenes with some monsters, and a lot of sitting about talking crap by the cast members, oh yes and band rehearsals which did nothing more than showcase Thor’s ailing music career. For a heavy metal band these guys sure were dull, there were drugs hinted at but not seen, a bit of sex which was all very meh, and no hard drinking or general metal head behaviour, weirdest metal band ever and one massive missed opportunity.
Cast and crew.
It is never a good sign when you start laughing at the names of the cast and crew when the start-up credits begin to roll, ok sometimes it is, but when this is one of the only faint avenues of entertainment you get from a film that is never a good thing. I have to admit to having not heard of anyone involved in this apart from John Fasano who along with this directed the equally cheesy, but hands down far superior cult classic Black Roses. I had hoped that this venture would demonstrate some of the pure 80’s gold which appears in Black Roses, and although there were moments, it is nothing in comparison.
With respect to the cast, well there is only one worth mentioning, the rest were a bunch of cardboard cut outs left to linger in the shadow of Thor’s oversized ego. Yes this really was a Thor promo video, with the heavy metal singer sauntering about looking like a life sized He-Man figure for most of the duration, flicking his hair, showing off his shiny, steroid pumped, waxed chest, and posing as a rock star. He also reminded me slightly (in looks) of WWE legend The Ultimate Warrior, only with nowhere near as much personality, outlandishness or fun.
When the film finally gets to an end and the credits roll (at this point it was like taking off a tight pair of shoes), you get a sense of why this movie was such a mess, literally, when looking at the FX. It seems that EVERYONE had a hand in making one creature or another and I am wondering if Fasano didn’t stop by his local Hobbycraft and pick up a ton of craft supplies, then whip out a couple of kegs of beer and just let everyone run wild, and perhaps there were also a couple of kegs of beer involved while they were ‘acting’ those scenes too. The creature ‘FX’, I loathe using this term in this instance, were especially diabolical; with most of the demon like monsters looking like they were constructed from paper mache or assembled by someone on a large amount of drugs. Back to talking about the credits, (it’s worrying I have mentioned them three times now, that has to be a first) check the sheer amount of Jon-Mikl Thor songs listed, really, was this guy trying to promote an album? I daren’t look to find out, it may lead to places I don’t want to go.
Ok so maybe I have been slightly unfair on this picture, it did have some amusing scenes so cannot be considered a complete waste of time on that score. First off there is a scene where a possessed band member (actually I think it may have been the manager, sorry they just blended into one at some point), takes a rock chick outside for a bit of a rumble, she gets her top off and a massive demon hand explodes from his chest cavity, that was actually pretty amazing, considering. I also have to mention the climactic battle scene with Thor versus WTF?!, as a demon bombardes him with what appeared to be starfish constructed out of blue plasticine, and probably were! This was especially dire, camp, and hilarious all rolled into one and I actually found myself jeering and cackling at the screen during the majority of this scene, so I am taking this as a plus point.
Well the lows, I don’t want to harp on, but let’s just say they probably spent most of the micro-budget on Thor’s hairspray and left nothing for anything decent. Had they even bothered to stick a ton of gore in it (how cheap is it to make fake blood for crying out loud?!) it could have improved the picture, but they didn’t, Thor probably didn’t want to get it in his hair.
Now I am not saying don’t watch this, as it really is a curiosity and one which proves just how bad things can get in regards to a low-budget vanity project, but I am saying if you do track this down make sure you have at least had a couple of hours drinking under your belt, it might help matters.