Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987)

If I’m gonna do a bunch of Roger Corman movies, it is high time I return to the realm of the Great White North.  So, here we are again with another Canadian horror movie.  This also bring us back into the world of good ol’ fashioned rock and roll horror with demons and shit.

And Jon Mikl Thor.  Let’s not forget Thor!

This is the second time I’ve gotten into some Thor with Zombie Nightmare being the first of these treasures of cinema.  Like the treasures you pick out of your nose.  These movies are boogers.

Let’s talk about Jon Mikl Thor, shall we?  Thor, who he normally goes by as a stage name, is from British Columbia.  He’s kind of a well-rounded guy.  He likes to act in horror movies, enjoys sports (particularly hockey because of course he does – he’s Canadian), he’s a competitive bodybuilder, and is considered a historian.  Thor’s mostly known as a heavy metal artist.  He’s pretty well renown as a rocker and has released some 33 albums over the last 45 years.  That’s pretty damn impressive.  He even released an album in 2001 under the band name Thor and the Ass Boys.

I would not fuck with him by joking about his Ass Boys.  You’ll see why later.  He is a monster.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare was shot for $100,000 in only seven days.  It looks and feels like it too.  As you can tell from the cover art in the image above, the movie was originally released in the days of VHS as The Edge of Hell – which is a way more metal name for your movie than Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare I might add).  Like many rock and roll horror flicks, the movie is about a band who is recording a new album and run afoul of demonic creatures.  Thor fights the monsters and learns something new about himself that must stand up to the forces of evil!

Well holy shit.  Let’s get into this demon-filled nightmare that is made of rocks and/or rolls!

I’m not gonna lie…  I’ve been really excited to get back to some good ol’ Thor horror action.  For one, he doesn’t fuck around with his movies.  No extra bullshit.  They are tight 80-85 minutes in length each.  That means my time will not be terribly costly – even if the movies aren’t that good.

This movie starts with a family getting ready for a meal.  The mom has finished cooking, the dad is shaving, and the kid is… doing kid stuff?  He’s just chilling in his bedroom probably reading comics.  That’s what I would be doing.  The mom opens the fridge and she gets attacked by an unseen growling thing.  The dad rushes downstairs to see what all this commotion is and sees the oven door jostling.  Thinking, as anyone would, that his wife has somehow shoved herself into the oven, he fears the worst.  When he opens the door, a skeleton demon like thing comes reaching out to him.  The kid screams and we cut to credits.

That’s not a bad opening.  I’m in, movie.  Show me what you got.

After the credits we get some rockin’ music as a van comes truckin’ down the street.  Driving the van is our main man of the hour – Jon Mikl Thor.  In this movie, he’s playing John Triton.  He’s the lead of a band named The Tritonz, because… sure.

After the entirety of a song plays, Triton finally gets to the house where the cold open took place.  A bunch of people file out of the van.  I didn’t know there were like 9 people in the van – and you wouldn’t have either.  All we saw were shots of a van driving out into the country to the farmhouse they are going to use to get some extra inspiration.  There was a single shot of Thor driving, but we never saw anyone else.  We learn that the house has been left abandoned for the last 10 years.  The caretaker tries to tell the band’s manager about stuff that is in the house, and, presumably, stuff that’s gone down in the house, but the manager basically sluffs him off so they can get inside and start messing about.

Cold winds start blowing through with some scary music to let us know there is trouble afoot.  Seriously, we’ve spent about 5 or 6 minutes so far with credits and rock and roll song while the van drives down roads, and now we’ve got lots of exterior shots with spooky music.  This movie is only 83 minutes long and so far about 11 minutes of these first 17 have been nothing but shots of stuff with music.

One weird thing that is awfully specific.  In this movie, one of the band members, Roger (who is also married to a character named Mary) has the last name Eburt.  Like Roger Ebert, the critic.  That is really odd.  Like I can’t even come up with a reason for this other than just to have there be a tip of the hat to a pretty famous movie buff and critic.  What makes it even weirder is that they only once mention that.  But not in conjunction with his first name.

But enough of that shit, it’s time to fuckin’ rock!

While the band practices, the drummer’s girlfriend watches him do his thing while licking her lips and playing with her shirt a little bit.  You know, how girls do when they are making eyes with you.  Or at least that’s I’ve heard they do.  There’s some weird sound effects and camera work going on here.  I don’t know if something is messing with her, or with the drummer, or with me.  Maybe that PCP I smoked to prepare for this movie was a bad idea.

Anyway, a little cyclops dick monster puppet pukes into a cup.

Wait…  What?

What’s weird about that is that earlier, we saw that skeleton demon thing and that looked fucking awesome.  The little cyclops dick monster looks like a joke.  It’s not that it looks bad.  It just looks like this is suddenly a kid’s show.  I know that’s not the case because in just a moment, I’m gonna see some tit.  However, I can’t help but to think these little guys are like really really low on the demon totem pole, you know?

So, the band’s manager, Phil, has to go find a new set of drumsticks for the drummer, Stig.  While down there, he is approached by Stig’s girlfriend.  She just peels her top right off to show us her assets and comes on pretty hard.  Phil tries to stop her, but she’s kinda hot, and kinda into the whole geeky band manager look Phil has, so he gives in.  While she kisses his shoulder, she turns into a scary demon monster lady and takes a chunk out of him!  Talk about your cock blocks!

Everyone hears Phil screaming, but the band can’t find him.  After looking for about a half minute, the band decides to go back upstairs.  Members of the band look all over the house for Phil, but don’t find him.  They do discover that the van is gone.  They decide that Phil has probably gone into town.  I mean I guess that’s just as believable as Phil being eaten by a sexy demon.

And speaking of sexy, it’s nighttime and all the members of the band are in bed with their girlfriends and ready to hunker down for a sweet ass night full of rock star titty and drug-induced shenanigans.  Or maybe not.  I forget this is a Canadian production.  That means they are going to just settle into bed and work on songs and read magazines and shit.

Well Stig does get laid and while he’s mugging to himself in the mirror, he sees a beautiful seductress who turns into a monster thing and kills him.  He goes back to the bedroom, and he fucks his girlfriend again but he’s also like a monster now, maybe?  I dunno.  This movie is like trying to make a sandwich out of the heels on the loaf.  It’s, like, not the worst thing you’ve ever digested, but it’s not that good either. It leaves you with questions like “What would have happened if I bought a new loaf of bread while I was at the store earlier?” or “Why did I make so much toast earlier in the week?”

In the middle of the night, a carload of local girls show up at the house because one girl heard the band was hanging out there.  “Phil” answers the door and tells the girls they have four openings for road groupies.  When he demands they take off their clothes, the girls get a little unsure of the whole situation and leave.  And that was a scene that was in this movie.

The next morning, the band goes back to their rehearsal.  However, Stig is there drumming, so I don’t know what that’s all about.  Like, is he a monster in a Stig suit?  Is it something the filmmakers aren’t all that worried about because this is just another music video segment of the movie where an entire song is played.  Oh, and they realize that Roger is not there.  That’s because he and Mary were both taken by monsters.  They say it’s no big deal to let them sit this one out, so is this the type of band where 20% of the members are not required for them to still make a complete sound?  Are they struggling as a band because they have five members when they only need four?  I think they would be able to save some money by axing a guy from the band.

But what do I know?

Members of the band begin to pair off with what is implied to be fuck buddies.  “Stig” takes his girlfriend to this lake on the property where he reveals that he is, indeed, just a Stig suit as a monster hand comes reaching out of his chest.  When the hand is close enough to grab the girl, he grabs her by the tit – which is funny.  Because if I was a monster hand coming out of a dude’s chest, I think it would be pretty funny for the very first thing I grab for as I ooze out of a guy’s chest is to honk some titty.

The fatal error of this movie isn’t that it lacks in the effort department.  It’s trying hard to have something for people to hold onto – particularly with creatures.  However, the movie has long stretches in which the band is performing a song (to camera I might add which feels a lot like a music video more than a movie), or it moves from one room to the next in this house.  It doesn’t stay in one place too long as it has all these extra characters that need to have some screen time and make sure we show them having tender moments with their girlfriends.

We have these little cyclops creatures roaming around the house.  We also have John clearly feeling something is off with the house.  We have the opportunity to do more with the movie in the horror side of things, or in a comedic way and the movie constantly turns the other direction – or maybe instead of turning the wrong direction, it just totally shits itself and then runs the car off the cliff to hide any evidence of it shitting itself.

It’s nice that this movie has like 10 characters to play with, but when none of the characters are all that interesting, it’s like getting cinematic blue balls.  It’d be like you meet this girl and she’s super cute and has a great haircut or something.  Then, you go out on a few dates and you realize that she only agrees with everything you say or she laughs at all your jokes in a way that makes it seem patronizing.  Then, you get to have sexy time with her, and you find out that when she orgasms, she makes donkey sounds.  It’s a bummer because there’s something there you want.  There’s something there you like, but it’s buried under all this other uninteresting stuff.  I wouldn’t even call it bullshit, because sometimes bullshit is interesting.

We’re also 60 minutes into an 83 minute movie and we’ve not seen much demonic activity or interesting deaths.  For a movie that spends a lot of time, and puts a lot of attention, on the special makeup and creature effects in the credits, we’re not seeing enough of it.  Okay, sure, we’re seeing some monsters, but we’re not seeing the makeup effects guys do death effects.  That’s a bummer.  Sometimes, when I watch a horror movie, I just wanna see what people look like after they got killed.

Just when you think this movie is a complete lost cause, the last 20 minutes of the movie veers right into crazytown.

So, everyone but John has been killed.  While he’s working on some new songs, monsters start popping up and messing with him.  It starts with a couple little puppet monsters, then his girlfriend shows back up and tells him all the members of the band are all dead.  She has scary possessed voice and John doesn’t notice.  But when she tries to get his attention again, this time, he can’t ignore what she turns herself into:

The main demon monster guy summons all his little cyclops monsters to help him remove the human who dares enter their home.  All these little cyclops start appearing.  One of them has a smoking habit.  No shit, one of these little cyclops puppet things is tokin’ on a smoke.

This monster demon starts saying that John doesn’t know who will be killing him and how he’s killed all his friends.  John just states, “Nah, you didn’t kill anyone, bub.”  He then goes on and on about how he knows who this demon is and lists off all the different names based on all the languages.  He keeps calling him “bub” as in Beelzebub.  Turns out, John knows all about demons and stuff.  He tells him all his friends were creations of his to lure out the little monsters.  The big demon realizes that John is telling the truth…

Wait wait wait wait wait wait hold the phone gimme a second wait what?

All of a sudden, we learn that none of the characters we’ve seen or John himself has had conversations with or even had sex with (like his girlfriend for example) are real.  They are all figments of his imagination…?  I guess the band isn’t a real thing?  Or maybe it is?  Or…

Turns out John is something called “The Intercessor” and holy shit does that title come with some sort of look…

Holy fuck.

Guys…  Seriously, bros.  You gotta just see this.  I can’t rightly put it into words.  Do all yourselves a favor and spend the 7 minutes to watch the below YouTube clip.  For real.

I…  I can’t put the end of this movie into words.  It’s like a heavy metal album cover came to life and started fucking my skull.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone wrestle with little toy starfish or a giant devil puppet with so much gusto and glee than in this movie.  Like…  I mean…  Woo boy…

So if you think there might be some sort of ending that explains that he does have a heavy metal band and he does have friends, there isn’t.  He just walks away into the night alone.  Oh, and go fuck yourself if you don’t think John takes on the devil again in a sequel, because he did.  In 2005 a sequel called The Intercessor: Another Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare was released to video.

I’ll get to that one day.  Not today, not tomorrow…  Just… someday.  I think I need to let this one sink in a little bit, or allow myself to fully cleanse myself from it before I look at the sequel.

When compared to Zombie Nightmare (which did come out after this one if you’re keeping track of the Jon Mikl Thor filmography), it’s hard to provide advice on what you should watch.  Zombie Nightmare is slightly better because there is a much more consistent plot.  But that 7 minutes of Thor fighting the devil, tho.  I mean it, it’s like pick your poison, motherfucker.  Do you want a weird little homegrown voodoo zombie movie or do you want the craziest 7 minutes of your fucking life?

I think it’s best for you to decide for yourself.

Next week, tackle a movie that I have not seen, but have been aware of for a little while now.  I start August off hot with a movie about a talking vagina.  Come back in a week to see what I think of 1977’s Chatterbox!

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