Masochistic Masterpiece: Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare

2 Oct

Rock 'N' Roll Nightmare

Director: John Fasano

Writer: Jon-Mikl Thor

Year: 1987

HCK! Rating: “Hurts So Good”

Favorite Quote: “Let’s tune our weapons!”

Distributor: Academy Entertainment


I spend as much of my spare life seeking out the most awful movies ever made as I do tracking down new bands , I think it’s time I started sharing them. We’re not just talking the run of the mill, Mark Wahlberg is screaming at alien robots, kind of  bad movies, these are the deeper, “who in the hell was this made for”  painful, confusing, ridiculous type where time and existence melt and bend until nothing but a sea of unanswered questions brings you as close to a Timothy Leary level of consciousness as a mere mortal can get.

So where to start? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for weeks. With October finally here and my inner child geeking about Halloween I might as well make this first month dedicated to horror films. I can’t imagine a better one to start with than Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare.

Written, produced, and staring Jon-Mikl Thor and his awe inspiring bare chest, this one epitomizes a cult classic. Before “retiring” to write and act Thor fronted the neo-glam hair metal band Thor (originally called “Mikl Body Rock“) during the 70’s. If the band names aren’t enough to shine some light on just how much the dude loves himself, ten minutes into Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare and you’ll start thinking Justin Bieber is humble. He probably goes to sleep at night thinking Geoff Tate is his Protégé. He’s so over the top with narcissism though that by the time the credits roll it becomes somewhat endearing. You may not want to invite him to brunch but if he offered to roll one with you in his van you’d probably go. I know I would. Although, I have my suspicions that the only drugs Thor finds acceptable involve a needle and his package shrinking. Speaking of his van. The campy 1977 The Van had less land-barge footage than this one, the entire movie never lets ten minutes pass without someone mentioning or going to “the van,” anyone who hangs out with cock-rockers will understand just how normal this is.

(Kind of spoiler alert)

The opening scene totally sets the tone for how incoherent the next hour and a half will be; a wife sees a demon in the fridge which somehow puts her in the oven, the husband’s immediate awareness and understanding of his wife being burnt alive in a space too small for a human to fit is definitely worth a second play. A four-and-a-half minute van montage ensues (don’t worry it feels more like an hour), as the camera pans out for the seventeenth time let the seconds pass with the understanding that the vehicle probably means more to Jon-Mikl Thor than his Mr. Canada trophy which, come to think of it, seems rather shocking for it not to be hanging from the rear view mirror rather than the handcuffs but… rock n roll. The second (!!!) song playing in the montage reminds me quite a bit of the last minute or so of VALIS‘ “Cobra.”

The cast seems constantly confused about whether they are just practicing their lines or if the camera is on. Keep a close watch on the consistent accent of the Australian/British/Amish/pirate drummer Stig (Jim Cirile) and the horrid acting of his girlfriend Lou Ann (Jillian Peri) who sits somewhere along the lines of 90’s pornstar Madison‘s performance in Evil Toons and Rosie O’Donnell going full retard on Riding The Bus With My Sister as the most nauseating attempt at acting caught on tape. Take note that Thor’s girlfriend’s name is Randy, not that it is important to the plot, it just goes to show one more perfect example of this being a “why” kind of movie.

The premise is that the band Triton has “got a month to come up with ten minutes of new good material” so they rent some farmhouse with a studio and go to work on conquering the world. Characters disappear, some become possessed by an entity which makes them want to do it with their stomachs or something. Lame jokes are made, girls end up topless, the van goes missing, and then out of nowhere a rock battle between good and evil involving laser-eyes, alien octopi, and half-ass choke holds erupts in a fury of confusion. Somehow it turns out that Thor is “the intercessor”  looking to even the score with his eternal adversary Bub “or is it less familiar to call you Beelzebub? Or do you prefer Abaddon;or as the Hindus called you, Shaitan; or as you are known to answer to, Ahriman? Belial? Apollyon? Asmodeus?.”We’re told without explination that all of the characters apparently didn’t exist at all (however that works in the fourth dimension) they were merely a ruse to lure our puppet monster into battle.  Once the movie catches you on the chin everything becomes disorienting and the plot holes only work to make your brain do that hurt thing but it’s the kind The Coug sings about so just go with it. It happened, it now is the story, let it go.

Note this is not a movie to be watched alone, have a support group present for when you start questioning if shaky-leg syndrome is a real thing. This one is absolutely great though, for all the bad to be said about Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, you’ll still be stoked you experienced it. If you are collecting VHS this is an absolute must have and it is fairly easy to dig up.

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