I love rock and metal related horror movies. I’ve seen as many of them as I have been able to over the years, and they’re all well worth watching. Don’t get me wrong– most of them are terrible, but as I have probably proven over the last 10 years, I’ve got quite a bit of tolerance for garbage (coincidentally, so have you, OMGJeremy readers). This movie though, this is hands down my favorite in the genre. It’s not good by any reasonable standard, but it sort of becomes so bad that it loops around to being brilliant.
The movie starts and looks like a regular horror movie, a family is in their farmhouse getting ready for a regular day in their lives. Dad is upstairs shaving, mom is in the kitchen making breakfast, son is in his room getting dressed for school—you know, an average day for an average family. Out of nowhere, you hear mom scream from the kitchen, and dad runs downstairs to find an empty kitchen. While he’s standing there, the oven door shoots open and perhaps the most unconvincing rubber demon skeleton thing sort of calmly moves forward in a non-threatening manner, causing the dad to start screaming. Then we see the son sitting on the stairs looking at the kitchen and screaming and… we get ready to waste a lot of time.
Now we get to watch the extremely long opening credit sequence, which has a bunch of shots that appear to be from the viewpoint of things running through the farmhouse in the dark. This continues for a solid 2 minutes and 35 seconds, which is a long time to just watch what looks like a glorified “Cat Cam.” Thankfully that scene ends, because now we get to watch an exciting 3 minutes and 40 seconds of casual driving scenes. I’m not kidding, we really watch a van drive down the road . This isn’t a chase scene, or a van recklessly driving down the road on fire, or even a van running a stop light at an empty intersection. This is just a van moseying down what I would consider country roads. For almost 4 minutes.
Who’s that fancy lad driving that van? That’s Jon Triton, played by Jon Mikl Thor, who is coincidentally the writer and director of this movie. It’s normally a terrible sign when the writer and director of the movie play a major role in the same movie, and this movie will prove to be a textbook example of why. Aside from working on movies, Jon Thor was a very busy man– he was (and still is) also the frontman of hair metal / performance rock band Thor and also a professional bodybuilder. Keep these facts in mind as we continue, and it might actually make sense that this movie even exists.
So now that we’ve padded our movie with about 10 minutes of an intro, credits, and a driving montage, we actually start the movie– or at least we move on to more completely pointless scenes. John Triton and his band (cleverly named “Tritonz”) and some of their girlfriends have been driving this whole time to rent a farmhouse in Canada that has a studio in it to write and record their next big album. The farmhouse is… (DUN DUN DUN!!!) the same farmhouse that we saw at the intro to this movie! I think we’re supposed to just know that the house is haunted or possessed or something, because that family from the beginning will never be mentioned again.
After another pointlessly long scene involving getting the keys to the house from some old burnout dressed entirely in denim, the band loads themselves into the farmhouse to have a casual dinner. I need to point out that so far, there is not much rocking or rolling going on in this Rock and Roll Nightmare. In fact, the Tritonz are possibly the lamest Rock and Roll band ever. When I think of Rock and Roll in the 80s, I think of Motley Crue doped out on heroin and whiskey trashing hotel rooms, or Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a live bat, or even a collection of prettyboys like Poison or Winger having sex with an army of fans and probably spreading STDs to thousands of questionably aged women. By comparison, the Tritonz are like the Mormons of Rock.
Tritonz consists of Jon Triton, who we mentioned before. He is by far the most convincing member of this band. Their drummer is Stig, who at least acts like you’d assume—kind of dopey in an “I’ve obviously done a good deal of drugs” sort of way, but he is I believe supposed to be Australian, although the actor playing Stig has apparently never heard an Australian talk. The keyboardist is Dee Dee, who must be amazing at keyboards because she’s not there for looks — she might have the biggest underbite since Trapjaw (He-Man reference 2010, my quota is filled). She might also be there just to stare at her nipples, which you will be able to do in pretty much every scene where the band plays. There are two guitar players, I have no idea if there is a lead or not, but they are Max and Roger. Max is fairly non-important, except that he and Dee Dee awkwardly flirt with each other for the whole movie, and Roger looks like he might be the band’s accountant, except that he shows up on stage with a guitar. They look like someone’s idea of a rock band who have never actually seen a rock band.
The other occupants of the house are Jon’s girlfriend Randy, Stig’s girlfriend Lou Anne, Roger’s wife Mary, and their manager Phil who looks modeled entirely on Ducky, Jon Cryer’s character in Pretty in Pink. Conveniently, except for Phil, all the members of the band have a love interest in the house (since Dee Dee and Max are constantly staring at each other it’s pretty obvious they will hook up at some point), so there’s potential for a lot of awkward love scenes, especially since pretty much none of these people should be seen naked. I’m getting way ahead of myself though, because so far we’ve watched these people do nothing but sit in a living room and eat dinner. Thankfully something finally happens and the Tritonz go to the old barn out back to rehearse in the studio.
First off, the studio in the barn is a stage. I’ve been in a series of unfortunately named and unsuccessful bands in my time, and I’ve been into my fair share of studios. Some are even what I’d call “professional.” Even the worst studio has most of the band members in separate sound-proofed rooms so that you don’t bleed into a microphone. This “studio” doesn’t have that, or soundproofing, or even microphones. It’s just a stage built into a barn with a soundboard. I am only picking this out because Jon Mikl Thor was in real bands and has been to real studios. Can’t he point out that this is wrong? I am probably the only person who has ever cared about this detail, so I apologize for being anal about this. After all, we’ve probably seen 30 minutes pass by with nothing remotely resembling Rock and Roll or a Nightmare. However, this is all about to change as they rock out and play an entire song, “We Live to Rock.”
There’s a lot wrong with this video, not the least of which is that the song itself is pretty bad. I’ve now seen this movie about 50 times, and I hate to admit it’s growing on me — but at the same time right now in my iPod I have a “Best of Survivor” CD that I can’t stop listening to, so I probably don’t have the finest musical taste. Did you notice that awful slowdown effect about 2 minutes in? It’s not a mistake or a poor youTube selection… the movie has that in there, and I’m not sure why. You might have noticed the dickmonster that appears towards the end of the song and essentially vomits semen into the manager’s cup, but I won’t be shocked if you all missed that because you kept just staring at Dee Dee’s nipples, which should have gotten top billing in this movie. Go back and check if you have to – yep, that’s a dickmonster.
While the dickmonster might be a fairly unimpressive monster, it is at the same time a very likely candidate for “Nightmare” material, so I am at least starting to regain interest in this movie. After all, we’re just over half an hour into this thing, and we finally see something resembling a horror movie starting. If it wasn’t for the intro and the ovenmonster, I’d think I was watching the worst Behind the Music ever.
Apparently that one song, while relatively slow and boring sounding, is one of the most demanding songs ever written to perform, because it’s the only song they play that night. As soon as they finish the song, Stig breaks a stick. This is fairly common, because drumsticks are mostly made of wood they are apt to break after a while. Most drummers will have extra sticks nearby because of this, but Stig apparently was never a Boy Scout (because their motto is “Be Prepared”—that joke was pretty much targeted at my dad) and has none. Thankfully Phil the manager planned for this and has a large box of sticks conveniently in the basement of the barn. While the band makes terrible jokes (Phil is a wonder manager – it’s a WONDER he’s our manager…. Waka waka), Phil goes downstairs to get the sticks.
While he’s downstairs fumbling around not finding drumsticks, Phil is confronted by Stig’s girlfriend Lou Anne, who has decided that the best place to come on to the band’s manager is in the basement right below where the band is practicing, while the band is taking a break so that there’s no chance that she won’t get caught. Phil, attempts to fight her affections off, but then she pulls out her secret weapons (spelled T-I-T-S) and he is forced to succumb to her seductions. However, I don’t know if this is the real Lou Anne or not, because “Lou Anne” then turns into a demon and bites a giant chunk off his shoulder. Then again, I don’t know much about Lou Anne, so maybe this is how she humps — I know it’s how I do.
Phil understandably is not looking to get his shoulder eaten, so he screams, sending the rest of the band downstairs to find that Stig and the demon Lou Anne are nowhere to be seen. As the Tritonz search the rest of the barn and house, they realize that their van is gone as well, so they come to the conclusion that Phil has obviously gone into town because he forgot to buy drumsticks. However, Thor finds the box of drumsticks in the basement… so if Phil didn’t go get drumsticks, then maybe something worse is afoot. Obviously then they must do something– and that something is break up into groups and go to bed. Apparently having a missing manager and someone stealing your van aren’t big deals when you can instead have a series of sexually awkward encounters.
After watching Thor and his girlfriend discuss how Phil is probably lost, then watching an awkward scene between Dee Dee and Max, and then watching a really awfully written love scene between the newlyweds (“Hello Mister Ebert” “Hello Misses Ebert — how do you like married life so far?” — seriously, it’s like George Lucas wrote this romantic interchange), we come to Stig and Lou Anne who are finishing up the final awkward twosome of the evening. After Stig finishes up, he goes to the bathroom to “Shake the Monkey” (he says it, not me). You’d think that means he was going to pee or maybe even rub one out again, but apparently Stig likes to stare at himself in the mirror and pose like the world’s shittiest bodybuilder. As he’s going to leave the room, there’s a mildly attractive woman standing there in some sort of lingerie. This is a woman none of us have seen before, and they’re in a house way out in the middle of nowhere, so obviously he would scream “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!” or at the very least kick this random stranger out of the house. No… of course he doesn’t do that, he tries to make out with her. Then, as Stig approaches her, she turns into some sort of blood vomiting demon who is obviously not there to make out with him. So wait — now is when he screams out, right?
No of course not, he stands there like a fucking douche and the monster grabs him by the face. Who knows what happens to him after that, but Stig then shows back up in his room and convinces Lou Anne to have sex with him again — this time attacking her like a man possessed and giving it to her apparently so well that she doesn’t even notice that from here on out he doesn’t have his terrible Australian accent. That is the power of a good ol’ Australian hot dicking.
At some point after the rest of the band goes to sleep, four groupies show up at the house because they have heard that the Tritonz are staying there. At first, I thought “why are these chicks showing up at 4am?” but then I realized they thought they were coming to see their favorite metal band who obviously party all night. They didn’t realize that the Tritonz are as exciting as white toast in real life, and are all asleep by like 9pm. Lucky for them, Phil the manager is back, and he lets them in, and then proceeds to trick them into going into the basement by berating them and yelling at them like a demon. Why is Phil back? What will happen to these girls? Are they going to get molested by the dickmonster? None of these questions (and more!) will be answered, because these girls are never mentioned again! It’s just one more example of things added to make this longer than the original 20 minutes of plot that was here.
Rod and Mary (the newlyweds) are having fun washing dishes and are more or less written out of the script by having a gloved monster hand pull them off-camera. The rest of the band however is in the barn (including the possible-demon-Stig), and assume that Rod and Mary are consummating their marriage yet again, so they decide it’s time to have another awesome music video!
This time the song is “Energy,” which I think is even worse than the first song. They also play this in full, making sure to loudly state that Stig is a much better drummer than he was the previous day. I would like to point out that there’s obviously two guitar players on this song, and only one guitar player– but I’m not even sure it matters. Again, the Tritonz prove that they are the laziest band in the world, because after playing this one song they call it a day and break back up into couples to go make out in different places. Well, everyone but Thor who decides that he is going to use this time to work on his new love song. Thankfully they choose not to play this song.
Stig and Lou Anne walk outside to some sort of drainage area that looks like a lake, because Stig wants to fuck outdoors. Lou Anne agrees, since the new Stig is apparently the best lover in the world, and so she removes her clothes yet again while Stig attacks her with a bad rubber hand that rips out of his chest. Unfortunately, that scene, the actually cool looking one with the hand ripping out of his chest, ends after like 30 seconds so that we can watch about two minutes of Max and Dee Dee finally having sex and… well, it’s sort of gross. Neither of these people are all that attractive or all that good at movie sex, so it’s just a bunch of goofy looks and groping each other while sort of gyrating on top of each other. It’s sort of like if I filmed myself having sex and played it for you… I’m sure I was enjoying it at the time, but there’s pretty much no way you would enjoy watching that. However, not to be outdone by his bandmates, Thor has saved the most amazing sex scene for himself. After his girlfriend literally throws herself at him naked, Thor takes her into the shower for a long, hairy, unappealing sex scene that focuses on his chest for 90% of the time. Seriously, there’s a whole lot of man-chest in Rock and Roll Nightmare.
We thankfully only watch Thor and Randy shower for about two more long minutes before it cuts back to Max and Dee Dee, dressed again and probably filled with disgust over what they just did. A small boy walks into the room, and then runs down the stairs and out to the practice-space barn. They run after him because they are apparently looking to die, and after they corner him in the basement of the barn he turns into some snarling dog monster and attacks them.
Much like the rest of this movie, we won’t see what happens to Dee or Max and really who cares. At this point I’m just waiting for the next music video. I think that even Thor knew we would be running out of patience at this point (or they ran out of money), so his girlfriend Randy meets her assumed end by just standing at a sink and saying “hello little boy.” This is an even worse death than Rod and Mary had — at least they had the decency to die to a rubber hand. This means the only person left alive is Thor, who is currently sitting in the barn writing sheet music (again, completely unrealistic that anyone in Tritonz even reads sheet music). While he’s there, multiple dickmonsters appear around the room, but Thor is so busy writing his amazing new song that he is oblivious to them, until Randy shows up to basically slap him in the face and force him to realize that all his bandmates and friends are missing.
So let’s just do a quick recap of what we’ve seen so far. In the past hour or so, we’ve watched a van drive down a road for hours, we’ve watched two music videos, and about 10 minutes total of awkward sex scenes. There has been about 5 minutes of actual plot. Of the original 9 people in the house, one died to a demon, three died to a dog child, and four people died essentially to a mysterious monster-shaped rubber glove. Four groupies were randomly sent to a basement, never to be heard from again. There has been about 2 minutes of monster effects, and about 15 minutes of chest hair effects– which are far superior to the monster effects. Really, this has been a sub-par metal video from start to finish.
It is at this point this movie blows your mind to pieces.
See, Thor knows his bandmates are missing. Thor has known all along that something in the house has been killing everyone, and he also knows that this isn’t the real Randy. Thor keeps on drinking his Coke and writing his song and tells Randy that she’s crazy and that his bandmates are all okay and she needs to relax. Demon-Randy has had enough to this, and so in a fit of rage she transforms into a ridiculous tall and skinny demon puppet who tells Thor that it’s time for him to die, and begins to call all his dickmonster minions together because once they kill Thor, these demons will all be permanently summoned into the world… or something like that. It’s sort of hard to understand what the demon is saying since he talks like Cookie Monster, and because I was too busy laughing to really make out words.
This demon starts spouting off his evil plans, counting back how he killed all Thor’s friends and will use the power of rock and roll to bring him and his demons into the world like an Evil Genius villain is supposed to (it’s in the handbook), but in the middle of his speech, he is interrupted by Thor. Like I said before, Thor knew his friends were dying. And here’s where the movie goes 100% batshit insane. Thor explains to the demon that he knows who he is… this demon is no run-of-the-mill demon… this is the Devil himself! And Thor himself made his former housemates up as illusions to trick the Devil to come out into the open so he can fight him. Thor is really The Intercessor — some sort of heavy metal angel sent to fight the Devil in the timeless battle of Good and Evil!
And then Thor gets bathed in light and then reappears almost fully nude in a metal codpiece and cape and pretty much nothing else to do battle with this giant rubber demon.
No seriously, this is what happens. Look!
Yup, the rest of the movie was completely pointless, as I would have paid just to see the previous five minutes of exposition explaining this whole mess and the last 5-10 minutes. Thor, who previously was just hanging out with his bandmates and playing questionable music, is really some sort of heavy metal holy warrior and he’s been in control this whole time. This scene literally turns this movie from an embarrassing experience in home movie rental into a masterpiece. For the next five minutes, Thor and the Devil will fight each other while loud metal music blares, which is pretty much exactly what I want to see at any point in any day. Ever. And it’s quite an incredible fight scene, which I will detail piece by piece.
(I know I’ve been trying to rely less on images for my writing, but seriously in this case it’s well warranted).
The fight starts with the Devil throwing some sort of starfish-things at Intercessor-Thor. I’m sure this seemed awesome on the action scene art board, but the reality here is that we see about 30 seconds of Thor dodging these stars in slow motion while the Devil puppet basically waves its arms around like it’s trying to fly away. After he manages to catch two of them and stick them to his chest, Thor then pretends to pull them off of his body, allowing for yet another close up of his naked chest. Thor really thinks people want to see his chest. After pulling off the last throwing star, Thor then makes ridiculous faces while pulling apart the rubber throwing star puppet– with the power of the Gods!
After ripping apart that sad little starfish thing, Thor then trudges his way over to the Devil puppet and grabs onto its arms to grapple against the very forces of Evil. However, this puppet really doesn’t have any moving parts outside of flappy arms, so this wrestling match consists of Thor holding onto the Devil and slowly spinning around getting the camera to zoom into the fight from different angles. Also he continues to make ridiculous faces. The puppet, having no moving facial features, continues to look mildly menacing while Thor and he essentially perform the world’s saddest waltz. This continues for over a minute.
After successfully grappling the Devil and making the audience motion sick, Thor manages to find a hole in the puppets grasp and delivers a flurry of punches to the Devil. This is one of my favorite parts because it’s a series of shots of Thor alternating left and right jabs over the camera, as if everything he learned about boxing came from Punch Out!! and Doc Louis. Every once and a while you see a fist hit the side of the face of the Devil, but since the puppets face doesn’t move, it looks exactly like a man smacking a rubber head. I don’t think that was the intended effect, but it looks even worse than you think. Wonderfully bad.
After a stunning set of punches from Thor, the Devil manages to get one awkward swat on him, and Thor goes down to the ground hard. It’s not looking good for the Intercessor, until he comes up with the perfect plan!
In a remarkably stunning display of actual thinking, Thor grabs the Devil’s legs and pulls them out from under him. As the Devil has no moving parts, this results in about 15 seconds of watching a puppet get shaken back and forth on the ground while nothing else happens. It’s pretty impressive actually, because if I was being attacked by a giant puppet without knees, I would do the same thing. Now things are looking good for Thor, so he gets cocky and helps the Devil puppet back up from the ground and then finishes the Devil off with one more impressive move.
He pretty much chokes the shit out of that puppet, making faces and shaking his head as if to simulate the puppet fighting back. This is the final straw for the Devil puppet, because after being forced to stare at Thor’s nipples for the last five minutes, he has had enough. He admits defeat to the Intercessor, vanishing into the nether and giving one more victory to the forces of Good in the eternal battle for the earth.
Or, you know, we just watched a grown man wrestle a puppet badly for about five minutes straight. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
And that ends Rock and Roll Nightmare. The world is saved by a bodybuilder / glam rocker wearing a cape and codpiece combo, and Evil has been defeated … for now! In one more puzzling piece of this movie, before we roll credits we see a house on a street, and then the camera pans back from the house and the credits come in. Does this mean that the Devil is moving to a new battleground? Is that the house he will be in? Could it even be YOUR house? Really, even putting a “To be continued…” at the end would make a little more sense, but then again as this movie has proven in spades — making sense is boring.
I need to say that I love this movie. I’ve watched it about 20 times since I grabbed it for reviewing, and every single time I watch it, it gets better. The absurdity of what I am watching hits home harder and harder each time. Not only is it a pretty terrible movie with fairly dated music in it, if you cut out all the extra unnecessary footage — most of the first 30 minutes, the groupie scene, the 2 full length songs played at practice, and the lengthy lovemaking / shower scenes– you are left with maybe 20 minutes of movie. But man, what a 20 minutes it is. Over half of that 20 minutes involves terrible puppetry and a rubber hand monster, and none of it makes sense. In fact, if you cut out the explanation right before Thor turns into the Intercessor it would make absolutely no sense whatsoever. But with or without that forced explanation, this movie has quickly become one of my favorites of all time, solely for the last 10 minutes.
Now to go find the soundtrack.
Author: Jeremy P
Jeremy P is a game-playing, film-watching workhorse from Baltimore. He wants to be left alone, but you can follow him on the Twitters. @DelishBoloney
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