By sheer coincidence, I've touched on a string of giddy, witless b-movies. Okay, maybe it's not a coincidence. Random Reviews Incorporated tends to felicitate itself as a channel of centrality for fans of mega-mucho cheese. Having said that, I cover "a-movies" as well. Rarely do I review two consecutive cult strudels as glutinous as 1965's The Rider of the Skulls and the mutt that stands before me now, 1985's Hard Rock Zombies. How in the hell do I keep finding films that defy description? Luckily, this bad boy is a little easier to imagine in your head, and in consequence, it's a little easier to write about. But that doesn't mean it makes any goddamn sense whatsoever.
A rock band flounces into the town of Grand Guignol to play a gig for a prospective record label executive. While on the road, a sexy hitchhiker offers room and board in the heart of the city. Despite vague and ultimately nugatory warnings from a concupiscent piece of jailbait ass (I can't be the only bachelor who has used the expression "concupiscent piece of jailbait ass" in a pick-up line, can I?), our protagonists forge ahead. They meet the hitchhiker's family. Her husband is a voyeuristic photographer, her grandmother is a wheelchair-bound werewolf and her grandfather is Adolf Hitler. Oh, and there are dwarf servants. One of them is Phil Fondacaro, while the other is a malformed freak who eventually eats himself.
I couldn't fabricate this shit if I tried. I expected wall-to-wall entertainment, but Hard Rock Zombies fizzles halfway through. Ironically, it becomes an interminable bore after the hard rockers assume the form of zombies. There are too many music video moments that are hindered and buttonholed by confounding editing. The soundtrack isn't terrible, but fuck, I wasn't in the mood for a musical. Hard Rock Zombies was affianced as the feature presentation in American Drive-In, released the same year (this according to IMDb). Originally, it clocked in at a mighty 20 minutes. 20 minutes! Do you know what that means? Ladies and gentlemen, it means that we have roughly 20 minutes of a suitable spookshow on our hands.
AND it means that we have roughly 70 minutes of trite wadding on our hands. Ugh. The script contains a spoonful of amusing ideas (werewolf granny, incognito Hitler, undead rape ceremony, etc.), but if you're looking for heavy metal horror, God knows you have options. Satan knows, too! You're much better off renting Rocktober Blood, Trick or Treat or my personal favorite from this sub-subgenre, Black Roses. Those flickies jam better tunes anyway. I will give Hard Rock Zombies an extra half-Z'Dar for the scene where Jessie resuscitates a tarantula with a bass riff. Now that's fucking metal!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 8:02 PM