Halloween Review: ‘Rocktober Blood’
Earlier this year while browsing through the “Newly Aquired Oddities” section of my local video store, Black Lodge, I saw that they had a DVD for a 1984 film that looked too cool to pass up. The owner of the shop informed me that if I dig cheesy 80’s horror with a rock n’ roll element then Rocktober Blood was pure gold. Luckily for him, I am such a person who can dig on that.
One night years ago, famed rock star Billy “Eye” Harper, goes on a spree where we are told he killed 23 people (though the movie blatantly shows it was only like two, but I digress) leaving only his bandmate and girlfriend Lynn Starling alive. He receives the death penalty for his crimes and years later Lynn becomes a big rock star. Only now, at the peak of her fame, the rocker finds herself haunted by the return of Billy. Given the fact that he is dead, everyone believes it is all in her head, from her manager who sometimes has a British accent to her security guard who wears short-shorts. Ghost or not, “Billy” begins to rack up a body count until the night of Lynn’s biggest concert where the revelation emerges that it is all the machinations of Billy’s long lost twin brother. Now live on stage he will finish Lynn once and for all.
I placed this movie as a “Halloween” review because I deduced from the title the movie was probably set in October. Rather Rocktober Blood has nothing to do with the spookiest month of the year. In fact, the only thing it has to do with Halloween is the fact the make-up and some of the props were apparently picked up on-sale at the Halloween section of the local Party City. This is to say the lack of filmmaking resources and know-how is on full display. The brainchild of Beverly and Ferd Sebastian, credited as the writers/producers/directors of the flick who spent the 70’s and 80’s simply churning out cheap exploitation flicks. It shows here in Rocktober Blood, as the budget obviously went towards renting out a place with a stage for the concert scenes. From all appearances they had little leftover to obtain even decent production equipment. At one point they go for the obligatory 80’s horror movie nude scene, but the quality of the camera in use is so poor the viewer can only see a blurry person obscured by shadows from bad lighting.
While I am saying all this stuff to drag this film on a technical level, the true measure of Rocktober Blood is how much ass does it kick? My friends, this film kicks so much ass. There are some nice kills, a certain enjoyable weirdness, implausible storyline, and above all a killer soundtrack. Helping out the Sebastians on the music front was the band Sorcery, who were popular on the LA music scene for their Alice Cooper-esque live shows. With their skills on a musical presentation level, the songs from the movie kick all kinds of ass. The legit involvement of a real metal band brings a certain swagger and coolness to Rocktober Blood that can not be denied. ln fact, everything about the climax of the film is pure metal. Lynn is forced to perform while the killer tries to subtly slash her up while onstage with a mic stand that is turned into a stylized spear of some kind. The music is killer, the crowd is wild, girls are in bondage gear, there is a cool weapon present, and the slasher is at the height of his lunacy as he even violently kills the back-up dancers live onstage and everyone just keeps rocking on.
Oozing of 80’s hair metal coolness, Rocktober Blood is a sadly overlooked gem of a flick. It is pure madcap enjoyment from the opening scene on. It is the perfect blend of rock n’ roll and horror and these two elements elevate each other. Rocktober Blood should appease anyone looking for a fun flick this Halloween season.