Sunday, February 3, 2008


Where has this movie been all my life?

Watching HARD ROCK ZOMBIES--a 1985 effort from Krishna Shah, or "Kirshna Shah" as he's called in the closing credits; you gotta love a flick that misspells the director's name--transported me to bad-movie nirvana. A skull-fucking melange of horrific music, cut-rate special effects, and plot twists so asinine it borders on the surreal, this flick has me at its opening scene, in which a sexy blonde hitchhiker seduces a pair of male motorists before slaughtering them as her husband and "children" (a pair of little actors that may or may not be portraying kids, one of them the great Phil Fondacaro) look on, capped off with some cheesy gore and a groan-inducing pun. Love it!

The movie concerns a really, really bad hair metal band (whose get-ups are so lame they make Manowar look like GQ material) who visit the sleepy hick town of Grand Guignol, despite the warnings of a mysterious groupie. With a name like that, you'd think the band wouldn't need a warning, but this is a group that has to be forced to mingle with adoring female fans and think they have any kind of future with their brain-softening "music," so logic isn't their strong suit. Once there, they partake in cringe-inducing music montages--seriously, even The Monkees were above this kind of stupidity on their show--and dabble in songs that'll raise the dead before picking up the same sexy hitchhiker from the beginning and taking her home. The band accepts her invitation to stay the night, even though a bald guy is decapitating chickens for no apparent reason in the front yard, but hey, we've established these guys aren't rocket scientists so at least there's some thematic consistency. But things get even worse when they discover the old couple living in the house are actually Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun (the latter also a knife-wielding werewolf!), and kill the band members in various ways during the night.

That's enough insanity for two movies, but HARD ROCK's just getting started, since the portentious groupie (who the lead singer composes a song for, declaring his eternal love, five minutes after they meet) plays the tune that resurrects the band. Now shuffling zombies--was there a THRILLER parody in there somewhere, or just additional bad acting?--the band returns to not only seek revenge on the Hitler clan, but the town of rock-hating rednecks as well (I wonder if this was in response to the then-new PMRC) before playing their big gig in front of a sleazy record promoter.

I LOVED THIS MOVIE! Rarely do films achieve this level of ineptitude while being so unrelentingly entertaining. Chock full of intended comedy that falls flat on its face, it more than makes up for it with unintended humor at the expense of its cast, plot, you name it. The gore isn't exactly excessive, but there are a couple of gruesome bits, including a running joke in which one of the "children" (this one a mutated freak) eats himself with a knife and fork in the film's closing reel. And let's not forget the gratuitous nudity, which completes its crap-80's film requirements.

Really, mere words won't do the film justice. You need to watch it for yourself, and as soon as possible. HARD ROCK ZOMBIES provides the same bad-movie bliss as MANOS, THE HANDS OF FATE or TROLL 2, but be forewarned: those songs will haunt your dreams for days.

(I've included the trailer as usual, but I wanted to also add a clip that would illustrate just how stupid this movie is, so as an extra bonus we have a scene in which the band entertains a crowd outside the local Bank of America branch.)

No comments: