Rock 'N' Roll Nightmare (The Edge of Hell) (1987)

John Fasano

STARRINGJon Mikl Thor - John Triton
Jillian Peri - Lou Anne
Teresa Simpson - Randy
Frank Dietz - Roger Eburt
Liane Abel Dietz - Mary Eburt
Denise Dicandia - Dee Dee
Jim Cirile - Stig
David Lane - Max
Year - 1987
Score - 3 Howls Outta 4

As most of you know, I'm a huge fan of Guitar Hero. That comes from the fact that I'm an even bigger fan of rock music. As a product of the 1980s, I grew up on rock music. Dio, Twisted Sister, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Quiet Riot, Guns 'N' Roses, Dokken, Ozzy, RATT, and even earlier stuff like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Queen - I've always been obsessed with rock. I used to watch HEADBANGER'S BALL on MTV back in the day when MTV still was a music channel instead of a horrible "reality" driven channel to catch metal videos. Today, I do the same by watching METAL MANIA every weekend on VH1 Classic. I like to be reminded of the good ol' days when music was still great and made people feel good. That's what [raising the horns] METAL did for me.

I remember a few months ago when the first version of PHANTAMORTE reviewed an 80s metal-horror flick called ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE. I was surprised to have never heard about this Canadian film and how big of a following it has in the cult world. I saw the clips PHANTAMORTE provided and I was amused by what I saw. So I had to check it out for myself.

John Triton (Jon Mikl Thor - how [raising the horns] METAL is that name?) is the lead of the awesome metal band, The Tritonz. He and his band [and their women] arrive at a nice house in Canada to work on their next album. And to bang their ladies too - because that is so [raising the horns] METAL. Anyway, they party, rock with their cocks out [not literally...at least not out of the covers or shower], and spread STDs - not knowing a powerful demonic force has been unleashed inside the house and is taking over the bodies of its helpless victims. Members of the band [and their women] meet horrible fates because of this demon force. It's up to John Triton to fight this evil force after donning some eyeliner and putting on shiny banana-smuggling underwear before kicking some demonic puppet ass!

ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE is an experience. It's like having a really bad date and you can't stop talking about it because it is so bad. So in a way, you turned a negative into a positive. ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE is a bad film. It has bad acting, bad special effects, bad direction - yet it's absolutely brilliant at the same time. I can't explain how this film made me feel while watching it. It was like watching a car crash - I couldn't stop looking at it. I smiled. I laughed. I rolled my eyes at how ridiculous it was, especially the WTF? ending. ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE is a very good B-movie that worked beautifully. In other words? [Raising the horns] METAL.

The characters that make up The Tritonz and their significant others are so stereotypical that it's funny. You had the leader [Triton], the supportive girlfriend [Randy], the foreigner [Stig], the bad girl [Lou Anne], the goody-goody couple [Roger & Mary], the two shy bandmates who have a thing for each other [Dee Dee and Max] and the nerdy manager [Phil]. These characters barely have any depth. They don't have great dialogue. They can be somewhat annoying sometimes. Yet, you care about these people. I was invested in knowing what was gonna happen to each one of them. Hell, I would have loved to hang with The Tritonz and partied like a rock star. They needed it because this band didn't party at all! Sure they had lots of sex [and the girls showed their boobies - [raising the horns] METAL!], but they didn't do drugs or drink, use profanity, trash the house, or fight with each other to the point of a possible break-up. What kind of [raising the horns] METAL band is this? These group of characters were oddly appealing for all the wrong reasons.

The direction by John Fasano wasn't that great, but it didn't take away from the enjoyment of the film. He did love his "Raimi POV shots" with the demons roaming the house and the woods. And there were a bunch of reaction shots that lasted way too long, as if Fasano was afraid to say "cut". And what was up with that scene where Triton just drives and drives and drives in what felt like forever? If the music wasn't kicking my ass, I would fast-forwarded it. I've seen better direction, but then again, this is a B-movie and you're not expecting Martin Scorcese or Robert Altman behind the lens. If you are, then you're totally not [raising the horns] METAL.

The special effects were also bad, but they were bad in a good way. The monsters were ridiculous looking. I've seen more realistic monsters during the early years of the MIGHTY MORPHIN' POWER RANGERS. Hell, the Muppets are more realistic than these demons. There's a demon that looks like a penis. There are plastic bats or whatever they were being thrown at Triton [hilarious]. And Lucifer himself...hoo boy! I thought it was a giant praying mantis who went to Sunset Tan to get his red tint. Horrible monsters but I couldn't help but laugh at everything being thrown at me. Especially that final scene between Triton and Lucifer. First of all, it comes completely out of nowhere as if everything before it doesn't matter and this is the real film. It didn't make any sense how the "twist ending" was explained. But it doesn't matter. It's one of the most surreal sequences ever filmed for any film. Thor grappling with a giant puppet while glistening in a neon glow and flexing his shiny pecs. Accompanied by the awesome Tritonz's song, "We Accept The Challenge", this moment is one of the worst and at the same time one of the best film scenes ever. I bow down to the Triton/Lucifer fight. It's worth a DVD rental/purchase alone. It was so [raising the horns] METAL.

And there are other memorable moments in this film. Like the demon coming out of the dude's gut, which is pretty cool looking, I gotta admit. The sex scenes [am I watching a softcore porn or a horror film] and the extended musical sequences [music videos rock - Tritonz had some bitchin' songs] add on to the cheese. And you don't get to see people die. The deaths aren't at all graphic, probably due to budget constraints. But I'm glad for it because demons can kill in multiple ways, allowing the viewer to imagine what may have happened to the victims. So it actually works in the film's favor.

The acting was bad, of course, with dialogue even Uwe Boll wouldn't direct. But again, I was entertained by the horrible delivery and the fact that some of the actors seemed to be reading off of cue cards. Even the lip-syncing music interludes were horribly performed. But it just made the film's appeal and likability that much higher. It was like a bad dream that I didn't want to wake up from. Keep playing that "We Live For Rock" song and I'll be in a coma for a very long time. [Raising the horns

My big hair, masculine make-up, shiny man-boobs, and skin-tight undies tell me that ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE is a campy piece of crap that shines like a diamond in the rough. It's cheesy. It's ridiculous. It's a terrible piece of filmmaking. But it's B-grade entertainment in its highest form. Everyone needs to see this film. Buying the disc is definitely an option in my book. ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE will make you rock out with your cock out. Now that's [raising the horns] METAL!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, definitely check out the DVD, it's hilarious! The commentary track by John Fasano and Jon Thor is the funniest I've ever heard, and Fasano explains all the reasons for the various mistakes. From the prolonged van scene, to the shotty camera work, to the FX... There are very good reasons for all of it and it's hysterical to hear about!

    The other extras on the DVD are great as well. This is a must for any 80's/bad horror movie fan! I hear a remake is in the works also, which would be frickin' awesome!!! Get the word going about this cult classic, you metal-heads! WE LIVE TO ROCK!!!


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