Retro Review – ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare’
It is no secret I am always on the hunt for the craziest of B grade horror movies from a bygone era. Which is why I was more than intrigued when one of my colleagues pointed me in the direction of a Canadian direct-to-video flick from 1987 called, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare. The brainchild of 80’s body builder and rocker Jon Mikl Thor and director John Fasano, this obscure movie is beginning to find a following due to the complete insanity and abysmal production values in the flick.
When the rock band, Triton need to seclude themselves away to create their music they do so in a remote farmhouse in the Canadian wilderness. Because according to lead singer Jon Triton, Canada is where it’s at right now (I must have missed this time period). Little do they know a dark force which takes the form of Halloween decorations and sock puppets lies in wait in this house. One by one the band members and their companions are possessed and killed by the evil which resides in this house. Eventually Triton is the sole survivor and he must battle the stupidest looking Satan in film history, this Father of Lies is merely a rubber Halloween decoration which is moved around by crew members off camera. Viewers may wonder how a mere rocker can battle the Prince of Darkness, fortunately there is a plot twist nobody sees coming…..because it’s absolutely ludicrous.
The film was originally given only ten days for filming, but that was shortened to seven meaning they had to rush to make something even halfway decent. After filming was complete, star Thor and director John Fasano realized it was still too short to justifiably be a feature length movie. Their solution was to go back and film an extended sequence of the drive to the cabin to stretch out the run time (obviously they went to Manos the Hands of Fate Film Making School). Aside from this painfully long scene, Rock n’ Roll Hell proves to be one of the most entertaining flicks of the direct-to-video horror age. Then again any movie made by the bodybuilding lead singer of a Canadian rock band aping the Evil Dead better be damn entertaining. For anyone who may doubt the influence Sam Raimi’s classic had on this disaster I point not only to the plot and look, but also to Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare utilizing the same gliding shots around the house as is Raimi’s trademark.
The acting performances are your standard B-grade horror movie bad, except for leading man Jon Mikl Thor who delivers each line and performs each action with great gusto and confidence. This is why he benefits from the concluding plot twist I alluded to earlier. During the final confrontation, Jon Triton is quite confident against his adversary, stating that none of the other band members were real just shadows used to draw out the devil. He was able to do this because Jon Triton was actually…..the archangel Triton!!! Donning a metal speedo and cape, his majestic blond hair teased with several cans of hairspray, Triton battles the devil and the plastic starfish his enemy hurls at him.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare has no delusions about being a grand movie with important things to say, it knows it’s the dream of a Canadian rocker wanting to take part in an epic horror adventure on a limited budget. If you are the kind of person who enjoys bad horror, hair metal, characters who lose their accents half-way in, and gratuitous nudity this is a flick you must watch as soon as you can. For the normies out there, you can still watch this flick if you want but I doubt you will appreciate it as much. At least you can still enjoy the insanely terribly awesome climactic battle between rockin’ good and rubber toy evil.