Monday, November 3, 2008

Film Review: ROCK 'N ROLL NIGHTMARE (1987, John Fasano)


Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 83 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Jon Mikl Thor
Tag-line: "When you raise Hell ... the Devil must be paid ... IN FULL!
Best one-liner(s): "Let's tune our weapons!"

Since there's so much uninterrupted driving at the beginning of this movie, I was actually under the impression that I was watching Tarkovsky's SOLARIS until things got underway with the plot. Obviously, it was a well-considered homage to MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE. Regardless, you have to love it when movies pad their running time with some good 'ole unadulterated highway driving. That's one of the stylistic choices NIGHTMARE's director John Fasano shares with the likes of Tarkovsky and Reygadas. In short, however, this movie is fantastic. It's a movie where someone stuck in a conventional kitchen oven chars into a skeleton within thirty seconds. It's a movie where gratuitous nudity and getting fondled by a frankly creepy John Mikl Thor was rewarded with fifty bucks and a place in film history. It's a movie where Thor's hair defies gravity and he wrestles a puppet Satan. It's a movie where the critters that get the most screen time are actually sock puppets. It's a movie where you actually worry that Thor may burst a blood vessel, have a heart attack, or suffer an aneurysm because of how intently he's ripping apart a rubber starfish that he's making attack his own nipple.

(See Lugosi vs. Lugosi fake octopus fight in BRIDE OF THE MONSTER for a warranted comparison.) For a similar display of genius, try hunting down the VHS of 1981's ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE, a film that stars Thor and Adam West- a match made in heaven. In the meantime, however, sit back and listen to such greats as "Energy" and "We Live to Rock," and have the eternal question answered: "What would it be like if a heavy metal band's fanciful album cover featuring the band fighting/corroborating with Satan were to... COME TO LIFE?"

-Sean Gill

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