I mentioned Rock ‘N Roll horror in my post about John Fasano, and all this Rock ‘N Roll Nightmare/ Black Roses business has got it on my mind. Let’s talk for a moment about this as both a concept and a genre.
Rock ‘N Roll Horror forms the very foundation of Halloween Shindig; it is its ethos. Wherever a monster is dancing, you will find us. Whenever a ghoul grabs a gitbox, we are there. Should The Cryptkeeper or Elvira decide to rap, Halloween Shindig is lying in wait, ready to post that song.
As a genre though, Rock ‘N Roll Horror (or Metalsplotation as you will sometimes find it referred to) leaves us wanting. It has a few things going against it.
Firstly, there just aren’t that many. It’s a pretty thin sub-genre. 22 titles, by my count. You could stretch that number to 30+ if you got real liberal with your criteria and included some misfires from the late 90’s of new millennium. But I’m calling 22.
Additionally, it’s a dead genre. It had its time and place, but its moment in the moonlight has passed. The world has moved on.
I’d say “I wish they still made ’em like this,” but I don’t. That ship has sailed. You try your hand at this game post millennium and you’ll wind up with a Queen of The Damned, or a Rock ‘N Roll Frankenstein. Naw, just leave it where it was. Let it rest in peace; a product of a decade that is gone.
On top of all that (and perhaps worst of all) it’s a pretty terrible sub-genre, and this breaks my heart. Always eager for more of the bread and butter that bloats this blog, I’ve sat through most of them, waiting with bated breath for the next awesome addition to the playlist. I’m usually disappointed. There’s a couple hold-outs of which I’ve yet to get ahold of copies, so there’s still a little hope.
Of the 22 Rock ‘N Roll Horror films listed here, most of em aren’t worth a damn. They are time wasters of the highest order; not good enough to laud, not lousy enough to love. Somewhere in between they rest, trapped in a celluloid limbo of missed opportunities and boredom. It’s a genre after my own heart, and it consistently breaks it. Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I got too much expectation. Or maybe Trick Or Treat is just that damn good. Probably a combination.
Here’s a list of the most prominent offenders; the ones you’ll see listed elsewhere if you dig hard enough.
- Terror On Tour 1980
- New Years Evil 1980
- Shock: Diversão Diabólica 1984
- Rocktober Blood 1984
- Blöderan 1984
- Monster Dog 1984
- Blood Tracks 1985
- Trick Or Treat 1986
- Edge of Hell / Rock ‘N Roll Nightmare 1987
- Slumber Party Massacre 2 1987
- Slaughterhouse Rock 1988
- Hack-O-Lantern 1988
- Hard Rock Zombies 1988
- Lone Wolf 1988
- Black Roses 1988
- Hard Rock Nightmare 1988
- Scream Dream 1989
- Houseboat Horror 1989
- Paganini Horror 1989
- Rockula 1990
- Dead Girls 1990
- Shock Em Dead 1991
True, this list excludes overtly music themed horror outings such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Phantom Of The Paradise. But for me, those fall into the altogether separate category of the Horror Musical. Things like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or Little Shop Of Horrors also fall in with that category.
Naw, these are Rock ‘N Roll Horror movies. Movies where rocking has precedence. Movies where a rock band or singer takes the main stage and blows your doors off.
The most depressing aspect of it all, even more than the lack of entertainment factor, is that not every one of these 22 films has made the cut for The Shindig. Some of them have music that’s just that wildly out of place, or just that bad. And The Shindig has some pretty terrible music on it, so that oughta give you an idea of what you’re up against.
I’ll talk about all of these films by degrees over time. But for now, lets take a few of these suckers that did make the cut, and lay out a full-on Rock ‘N Roll Horror block here in the late ’90’s, before busting headlong into one of my favorite stretches of the entire Shindig, just in time for Halloween.