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Jon Mikl Thor having a bad hair day in “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare”!
I am a bad movie fan, but not all bad films. Some bad films are dreadfully boring and I hate them (such as “The Conqueror” or “Cracking Up”). However, a small group of film are bad but hilariously bad–so bad, so silly, so unbelievably stupid that you can’t help but like them. I love films like “The Apple” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare” because they don’t take themselves seriously–and they revel in their badness! Now this isn’t to say the film is all bad–the music, for 80s hair band tunes, is great stuff and made a wonderful soundtrack to an apocalyptically bad film.
This film is basically like taking “Halloween” or “Friday the 13th” and injecting them with great tunes–along with taking about about 98% of their budget! It’s hard to imagine, but the film was made in only seven days and cost a paltry $53,000 to produce. This budget, adjusted to inflation, makes it even cheaper to make than Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space”! The film begins with the slaughter of some family. Then, many years later, a rock band goes on a retreat in the middle of no where (Canada) to work on their music and cut their next album. However, the place is infested with demonic hand puppets who wipe out the cast one by one until their is a final climactic battle between a large-breasted guy and a giant Satan puppet that throws evil starfish at him! You really have to see it to believe how bad it is–but also how incredibly funny it is.
By all means watch the film–it’s horrible and funny. But be prepared–like so many slasher films of the day, there is LOTS of nudity. But, considering that the movie is all about Satan and his hand puppets butchering rock stars, you wouldn’t think to show this to kids or your mother! So amazingly bad AND cool at the same time, you just have to see it. And, if you can’t stand the film (because it is dumb), just listen to the songs–they really are awfully good. And, fortunately, it IS available from Netflix!
One thing I love about Jon Mikl Thor is that he does not take himself too seriously. Watch the special features on the DVD–you’ll see what I mean. Plus, he seems like he really is a pretty nice guy and keeps it all in perspective.
Al Adamson is a name not familiar to most readers. Much of it is luck. In the 1970s and 80s, bad movie fans rediscovered Ed Wood and his ‘masterpiece’, “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. However, they just as likely could have chosen Adamson and his films…they were THAT bad. Also, in one way he was more than Wood’s equal–with titles that rank among the worst of any director. Titles include: “Psycho A Go-Go”, “Satan’s Sadists”, “Hell’s Bloody Devils”, “Horror of the Blood Monster” and “Brain of Blood”—just to name a few!
My favorite Adamson film, though, has a relatively normal title, “Dracula vs. Frankenstein”. Here is my review of the film:
This is a very painful movie to watch if you love old horror films. That’s because both J. Carrol Naish and Lon Chaney, Jr. both starred in this film shortly before their deaths. As for Naish, he was so sickly that he acted in a wheelchair. Additionally, he had lost an eye and could not remember his lines, so he read from cue cards–and you could literally watch his one good eye darting back and forth while the glass one remained still. A sad and creepy effect, I must say. As for Chaney, he was killing himself with booze and he naturally looks bloated and a shadow of his former self.
Not surprisingly, these performances reminded me of Bela Lugosi in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. Like Naish and Chaney, Lugosi was dying and many rather pointless scenes were dumped into PLAN 9 by director Ed Wood, Jr.. Like Wood, Al Adamson seemed to just dump film randomly into the film, as he took scenes from a planned sequel to SATAN’S SADISTS (a biker film) and dumped them into this horror of a film. Additionally, he hired a lady who looks like a stripper to play lead.
So is there any reason to watch this film? Well, if you want a quality film, then keep looking!! However, if you enjoy laughing at incompetence, then this film has it in spades. There’s a Dracula who looks nothing like the familiar Count (perhaps he looks a bit more like a gay porn Dracula–you be the judge). There’s also a Frankenstein that looks more like a mushroom man from ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE and his face is just,….well,…impossible to describe, though comparing it to Frankenstein is NOT possible! And, if that’s not bad enough, the dialog and acting are horrid and the film just screams “crap” from start to finish! So overall, the film is horrible and it begs the question “was Al Adamson perhaps a worse director than Ed Wood, Jr.”? With such great films to Adamson’s credit as THE NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES, LASH OF LUST, BRAIN OF BLOOD, HELL’S BLOODY DEVILS and PSYCHO A GO-GO, if he ain’t the worst director ever, he sure is a runner up!!
So what happened to Adamson? Well, the story gets rather sad. Only a few years after his leading lady and wife (Regina Carrol) died, he himself was murdered and buried under a concrete slab by some scum-bag who then tried to impersonate him but was apprehended. A horrible filmmaker, but I certainly wouldn’t have wished this sort of end for him.
In the next few months, I am planning on discussing several filmmakers and films that were so incredibly bad that they at least rival Ed Wood and his epic failure “Plan 9 From Outer Space” in awfulness. I will be discussing such auteurs as William Grefe, Larry Buchanan, Al Adamson and others–as well as weird genres such as the late 70s/early 80s sci-fi musicals!
This brings me to an important distinction for bad films. Some are simply bad–boring, dreadfully tedious and inept. These films are generally hard to watch and the films seem to go on and on and on and are just painfully unfun to watch. So, while “The Conquerer” and “Cracking Up” are horrible films, they are NOT particularly pleasant watching for bad movie buffs. Others are stupid–so stupid that they make you laugh. Of course Ed Wood’s films are often in this category but so would films like “The Apple” (already mentioned in an earlier post), “Zontar, Thing From Venus”, “Sex Madness” (from the makers of “Reefer Madness”) and “Blood of Ghastly Horror”. These films are a pleasure to watch with friends and you can laugh and comment about the sheer silliness and awfulness of the acting, direction and production values.
So, hold on tight–I have some amazingly silly suggestions for you. And, I’d love suggestions from you as well, because I am ALWAYS looking for a bad film!