AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Hard Rock Zombies (1985)
Having recently revisited Return of the Living Dead I wanted to watch something similar in tone and execution. Sort of a hard rock zombie horror movie. Searching hard, REALLY hard, I thought I’d found exactly the movie I was looking for. It’s called Hard Rock Zombies. The tag line says it all, “THEY CAME FROM THE GRAVE TO ROCK N’ RAVE AND MISBEHAVE!” I don’t know how familiar all of you are with this movie, but I was only aware of the poster (above). Which is pretty awesome. I’d never seen the movie nor had I really ever given much thought to actually watching the movie. So, thanks to AWESOME-tober-fest 2013, I have finally had a chance to watch it. Let’s start with my expectations.
This came out the same year, 1985, as Return of the Living Dead. The very next month, actually. Which surprises me because I totally thought this movie was a direct reaction to the underground popularity of ROTLD. However, to come out the next month I would assume it would have been mostly filmed by the time that came out. Which is interesting. Anyway, that’s where my expectations were. Something along the lines of a Return of the Living Dead. A funny, hard rock horror movie that may make little sense but has lots of fun with not only the genre but itself. Did I get it? Let’s find out.
Well, the first scene in the movie is sort of bonkers. Two guys on a leisurely drive pick up a hot chick on the side of the road. This chick is Elsa.
The group stop off at a lake and go skinny dipping. Elsa drowns and slashes both of the guys while another weird guy and two dwarves watch and take pictures. Both bodies are carried out of the water and put in clear plastic wrapping and then Elsa cuts off one of the guys’ hands and immediately holds it lovingly up to her cheek while singing, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles.
And that’s where we BEGIN. The movie centers around a rock band named Holy Moses who are on the verge of a record deal. Their next gig in small town Grand Guignol will be attended by a record exec that will hopefully sign them. On the road trip to the town the band’s singer plays a song that continually reanimates a dead fly. He says he discovered the song in a book he’d read.
THIS book perhaps?
The band picks up the blonde from earlier, Elsa, and they go stay with her in Grand Guignol. And they meet her weird ass family. The creepy mom and dad, who we see for the first time while they are doing it. And they wind up letting their weird dwarf grandchildren watch them do it. Yeah, that happens.
Meanwhile the band is harassed by the overly zealous moral community of Grand Guignol who arrest them and cancel the gig (who booked the damn gig in the first place?!) The manager manages to get them out. However, Elsa’s weird ass family starts to kill the band one by one, even killing the lead singer with a weed whacker to the chest. Next it is revealed that Elsa’s father is actually a disguised Adolf Hitler and the mom is Eva Braun…who’s now a werewolf. I’m totally not sh*tting you on any that. Here’s the dad ripping off his mask to reveal he’s Hitler.
Like I said, BONKERS. Next, this chick I neglected to mention earlier, Cassie, who has freaky monster eyebrows, warned the band not to come to the town, plays a recording of the resurrection song over the band’s graves (the four band members were buried together inside the town?) and they reanimate as the titular hard rock zombies. Hard rock zombies that look a lot like a KISS tribute band. The band kills the crazy Nazi family and go on to play the rock show for the music executive. Yes, the band, who are now undead zombies, go on to play a set for the record executive. And he LOVES it (of course he does). However, the crazy Nazi family comes back to life (undead Hitler!) and turns the entire town into zombies. Now the hard rock zombies must help destroy the town to prevent the zombies from escaping and spreading.
I don’t even know where to begin with this movie. It’s clearly low budget. Even more so than ROTLD. It looks like it was filmed with a camcorder in someone’s hometown. And the actors, are terrible. I like the absurdity of the story and the characters, but the acting is atrocious. Everytime I would be delighted by Elsa’s nudity or a particularly crazy scene with Hitler, I’d be brought out of the movie by terrible acting by the band’s lead singer or the chick playing Carrie and her freaky ‘brows. But, I didn’t hate the movie. It definitely has a small amount of quaint charm. It’s not as good, funny or charming as Return of the Living Dead, but it’s worth a “so bad it’s good” viewing.
Another movie I’d compare this to would be Troll 2 which I got to watch recently for Cult Film Club. Both movies are poorly made and acted, but I think I enjoyed Troll 2 a little bit more than this movie.
So gather some horror fan friends for beer and subs and have a blast making drunken fun of this movie for an hour and a half.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.