Saturday, October 26, 2013

SYNAPSE FILMS APPRECIATION WEEK: Rock N' Roll Nightmare - How's the 80's Were Won

Today Synapse Films Appreciation Week continues with a movie that is near and dear to my heart on a few levels. I will admit that it is not my favorite movie of the 80's nor is it even my favorite Heavy Metal Horror hit, but it epitomizes the subgenre and represents a period in my life when music started to become as real as the demons lurking under my bed and as fantastic as the groupies lurking in my dreams. We're going to discuss Rock N' Roll Nightmare as released by Synapse Films a few years back. It's a great release and essential piece of 80's horror; a gateway horror movie for fans of good music and naked women.

I've been in more than a few bands over the years, but I've never had the chance to go to a house in the middle of nowhere to record an epic, bitchin' album with my Aquanet capped friends. Let's lock ourselves up in a secluded place and pour pills and hallucinogens down our throat, bring the hottest honeys we know and make love and music and dreams come true. I think I've had that dream or something like it since I first discovered dad's naked playing card deck and my sister's Poison "Look What the Cat Dragged In" tape. That being said, we've arrived at damn near the premise of Rock N' Roll Nightmare save for one outlandish, but fate altering fact... the devil is real and he's unleashing all his baddies on a group of Metal gods. Epic battle or easy pickin'?

Yes... that's a cod piece built for a demon slayer.

Full synopsis from Synapse Films:

A hot new rock group… their sexy young girlfriends… It should’ve been the best time of their lives, but it ended up being a ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE!

Recording some new music in an isolated farmhouse, the band Triton gets more than they bargained for when something horrifying stirs in the darkness. Eternal evil haunts this place and the band members start turning into demons from Hell itself! After a day of making music – and making love – this band is starting to break up… one by one… limb by limb. The bands lead singer, John (Jon-Mikl Thor) Triton, holds the key to defeating this horror once and for all – a secret that culminates in a battle between good and evil! Triton versus the Devil himself!

Rock N' Roll Nightmare fulfills every testosterone laden fantasy I had as a kid and probably more as an adult. It's filled with beautiful naked 80's girlies. I'm a sucker for them. I'm fairly certain that this is in fact a fetish. It's not the fake tits. It's the damn hair! You know what would have made Rock N' Roll Nightmare better? Valerie Hartman in a starring role (Ally from Sleepaway Camp 2). I could go all adolescent on your all night, but there's so much more to love. No time for groupies, Dr. Terror.

The effects are laughable in an extremely positive way. All practical effects of course given the time. 1987 was a year where computers were for playing games that could start WWIII. We're not talking Squirm bad or Shot On Video poor quality. The creature design has a few original takes on some conceptions of demons. Oversized mouths full of teeth, aged faces and crazy sunken in eyes... good fun.

I suppose the main thing you want to know about when watching a movie called Rock N' Roll Nightmare is just how the music stacks up to other films of the subgenre. The music by Thor and the Tritonz is characteristic of the period. As hairy as it comes with blistering guitars, fun, danceable, fuckable. While it isn't my favorite soundtrack or score, it adds to the movie and isn't a cheap cop out pretentiously trying to capitalize on the soundtrack boom or music trend purely in namesake. In other words, it's legit.

Here's the track listing for the CD:

1. RNRN Intro 2:09* 2. Spiralling Terror 3:03* 3. Wild Life 2:09* 4. The Magic Voice 2:33** 5. Winds of Evil 1:24* 6. Live It Up 3:05** 7. Heads Will Turn 3:04** 8. Calm Before The Fear 2:04* 9. We Live To Rock 3:26** 10. Damage Control 1:56** 11. Energy 3:31** 12. Nocturnal Invader :26* 13. Mad As Hell 2:09* 14. Ghost Walker 2:53* 15. Steal Your Thunder 3:35** 16. I Heard Luanne Scream :29* 17. March Of The Purple Star Fish 1:27 18. Somewhere When Rises The Moon 3:22* 19. Attack Of The Minions :22* 20. Face Off (The Final Confrontation)1:58* 21. I Knew If I Pissed You Off 22. We Accept The Challenge 4:11 23. See You Again Old Scratch :16* 24. Unknown Stranger 1:54* 25. Rock N' Roll Nightmare 4:07* 26. Tritonz Theme 2:29* 27. Lend Me Your Ears 7:58

You can either buy it HERE or download it HERE. There are plenty of samples if you follow the second link so fans of the metal, maybe we have the new soundtrack to your Camaro commute to the office.

Director John Fasano went on to do Black Roses, another Heavy Metal horror classic. He worked with real life musician Jon Mikl Thor who wrote Rock N' Roll Nightmare, starred in it and would go on to star in Zombie Nightmare. He's got an interview in the special features that is in depth and perfect for fans of his music and of this movie. 

Let's talk about extras for a second because there's a fuck ton of them.

- New Anamorphic Widescreen [1.78:1] Mastered in High-Definition
- Audio Commentary from Director John Fasano and Star Jon-Mikl Thor!
- DD 5.1 / Original 2.0 Mono Mix Included
- REVELATIONS OF A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL WARRIOR – Featurette on the Life and History of THOR!
- CREATING A CHILD-WOLF – Behind-the-Scenes Make-Up Featurette
- ROCK ‘N’ SHOCK MEMORIES – Rare on-Set Footage from the Shooting of ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE
- MUSIC VIDEOS for the Songs “”Energy”" and “”We Live to Rock”"
- Liner Notes from Ian Jane
- New Video Introduction and Afterword by Jon Mikl-Thor!

For a movie shot in seven friggin' days, it looks and sounds great. It isn't perfect or even excellent. It simply fills a niche in our metal loving heart. Is it Trick or Treat from 1986? No. Is it better than Rocktober Blood? I'll say yes (though nothing beats the cover art for Rocktober Blood's VHS release). This particular release is filled overflowing with goodies (see above). The music videos are hilarious and perfect. The liner notes are actually thoughtful, insightful and complete. The whole package is traditional cover art, and while it isn't a Blu-ray disc, it looks damn good. The biggest surprise for me was seeing the on-Set footage. Given the vintage and the production value, it's an impressive extra and one that I find very surprising.

When the band starts to rock... heads start to roll. Let one of them be yours.

You can pick up Rock N' Roll Nightmare NOW!!!

 Synapse Films Appreciation Week continues tomorrow!