SHOCK’ EM DEAD (1990)
What’s It About: Struggling guitarist, Angel Martin, makes a deal with a voodoo priestess to become the best rock guitarist in the world. However, to stay alive Martin must consume the souls of the living. Loosely based on Mick Mars life.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- Purple Haze has never sounded worse.
- Nice tight teal crop shirt tough guy. Seriously, this lead singer is supposed to be metal (Hair Metal anyway) and he looks like he can front Loverboy.
- Rehearsal space metal band poster sightings: W.A.S.P., Anthrax and Led Zeppelin.
- The name of this pizzeria is The Pizza Playhouse. Is it near a playhouse? Nope it’s on the beach.
- Is that pizza dude wearing a wig? And why?
- The pizza dude has a peep hole in the pizzeria to check out some chick changing. Did he install that peep hole?! How often are female employees changing in the storage closet of this rinky-dink pizzeria?
- Traci Lords better get naked in this.
- “Look, I got talent! Someday I’m gonna be somebody.” And that somebody is Chad Kroeger.
- The chop shirt lead singer has a denim jacket vest with a red slash “no signal” with a swastika in it. Really?! Does this mean he runs afoul of a lot of Nazi’s?
- For some reason there’s a voodoo priestess in this movie. When I think heavy metal, voodoo always seems to be the obvious choice.
- Now Martin (the pizza dude) is being evicted by a stereotypical Bronx landlord. But this is set in LA.
- So Martin goes to the voodoo priestess and he wishes to be the most famous rock star in the world. Next thing we see is some surreal dream like montage of him getting those powers. The best thing is a guitarist he sees with a double necked guitar but not in a Jimmy Page way but like two guitars stuck together from opposite ends. Unless one is ambidextrous there’s no way of playing that guitar.
- Martin wakes up and has an even more ridiculous wig on. It looks like your typical Halloween heavy metal wig that you’d buy in K-Mart for Halloween. But this one is huge. It’s like twice the size of his head. He also has eyeliner on. However, he’s still wearing the same geeky clothes he had on before the dream. If his hair and face can change why didn’t his fashion. Half-assed voodoo if you ask me.
- And he owns this great big house with three lingerie-clad women that will do anything for/to him. How and where did they come from? Does the voodoo priestess magically conjure up homes for her clients to stay in when they sell their souls to her?
- Now Martin has super guitar powers and he actually goes back to the band who rejected him to show off. But my problem is that that band is fucking awful and he has a better chance being a solo artist or forming his own band then playing with these rejects. I can understand getting some sort of revenge or showing off to them now but he actually wants to join them. This is LA in the late 80s, I’m sure if he just looked longer in a Guitar Center he’d fine some better musicians or something. Hell, a street corner busker would be better than these dopes.
- This “band” is so metal that they’re effeminately singing a song called “Virgin Girl.” Christ, the Bangles have more testosterone than this dunce.
- I think the lead singer introduced himself as Johnny Crack.
- Martin calls himself Angel Martin now. The machismo is literally oozing out of my TV screen.
- “All right hotshot, lets see you play the introduction to ‘Hairy Cherry.'” With lines like that I think we can play a game of “Was that line from one of Traci Lord’s porns or Shock ‘Em Dead?”
- Martin can’t eat food because he doesn’t have a soul anymore. And he comes up with the solution that he needs to kill to survive. I’m not making this stuff up.
- Martin asks to add Traci Lord’s love and affection to his voodoo deal and the priestess says it can’t be done. But she can make him a talented guitarist no problem. I think he’s getting bamboozled!
- Martin has a massive house party and yet he and some other assholes go out to get pizza for the party. Couldn’t he just get some food delivered?!
- Martin literally screams in the pizzeria clerk’s face: “I WANT TO ORDER A FUCKING PIZZA!” Hilarious but why would he do that?
- Now he’s terrorizing his old pizzeria pals for virtually no reason.
- Martin tries and fails to ambush his old pizzeria boss and nearly gets the shit kicked out of him before one of his new girlfriends from the house helps him.
- Johnny Crack literally does smack. How this works into the film is anyone’s guess.
- The band’s name is Spastic Colon. Still a better band name than Toad the Wet Sprocket.
- Angel Martin sabotages the lead singer’s spotlight, trips him on stage and sings the rest of the song and vomits on some chick in the front row. Infinitely better than anything Train has done or will ever do.
- “I’m in love with a slut!” Best ending to a hair metal song ever.
- Johnny is so distraught that he was kicked off the stage by Martin that he was actually leaving the venue. And when he forgot his car keys back on the stage, he’s harassed by the security guard that he has to pay. This just isn’t Johnny’s night.
- Post gig party looks like it’s decorated for a 6-year-old complete with streamers, cake and balloons. I’m shocked there wasn’t a clown making balloon animals.
- It’s time to feed the demon, so Martin picks up a fan outside the venue and asks to leave with her. In her car he asks where they’re going. Martin responds: “You’re going to heaven. And I’m going to hell.” You can see the somewhat wooed as well as confused look on her face. Sounds like a great pick-up line (it works by the way) but the whole he’s going to hell bit might put off the ladies.
- Ironically, So far Traci Lords is the only girl in this whole movie who has not been naked yet. Because this movie was made in Bizarro World.
- One of the record executives trying to sign “Spastique Kolon” (actual spelling) looks just like Ric Flair! WOOOOOOOOO!!!
- Martin has a boa constrictor in a tiny wicker basket on the side of his jacuzzi. That’s metal right?
- Traci Lords saw with her own eyes, her boyfriend Greg leave the post gig party with another girl but here she is playing sweet with him when he comes over to her house. Oh Traci, have you learned nothing from Talk Dirty to Me Part III? (scenes withdrawn!)
- Is there a rule in Martin’s house that all three of his “brides” have to wear lingerie? That’s all you see them wear inside the house. Not a bad rule if you ask me.
- An investigator comes by the house looking for Martin. How is this possible since he was “willed” that house by his voodoo deal. Did the voodoo deal stipulate that he’s listed in the white pages?
- The investigator actually asked the girls if they knew a Jonathan Crack. His actual real name was Crack?!
- I swear, most of these scenes look and feel just like the between scenes of a classic 80s porno film. Like if all the dirty bits were cut out.
- Greg knocks on Martin’s door looking for Traci Lords literally 30 seconds AFTER she left. How did he NOT see her?!
- I’m almost certain that every woman in this flick takes her top off EXCEPT Traci Lords!
- Martin is sitting on the couch reading a Cooking Light magazine. No wonder glam metal died.
- If there’s one thing this stupid horror comedy doesn’t need it’s a love triangle storyline.
- Great decomposing effect. And by great I mean awful.
- “This is Angel. I want you and Monique to meet me at the amphitheater in 15 minutes. And bring a dagger. It’s underneath a towel next to the jacuzzi. And there’s a snake in the water, bring that too.” And the winner of the 1990 best original screenplay goes to…
- Greg’s plan to kill Angel and his “brides” is force feeding them food in a tube that he buys in a survival store. It looks just like tooth paste. It’s also labeled “The Food Tube” so there’s no confusion. I’m too lazy to even look up if such a product as Food Concentrate even exists.
- Kid in survival store proclaims: “Comic Books?! That’s for fags!” And that kid grew up to be executive vice president of Marvel Studios ironically.
- While at the venue, Martin ties Traci Lords with twine on a metal folding chair that’s in a small kiddie pool with the snake swimming around. Why? So he can serenade her while puking some green goo that’s why? Stop asking so many stupid questions.
- Greg manages to find Johnny Crack’s heroin syringe on stage and quickly puts the food concentrate in it while Martin is distracted for a brief moment. He then injects Martin in the neck with it. Does that count as eating food? The voodoo priestess said that he had to eat to be killed but injecting someone in the neck doesn’t necessarily count as eating it does it? Maybe it was the the residual heroin in the syringe mixed with the concentrated food that ultimately made Martin’s head explode. I don’t know why I’m even caring—at least this bullshit excuse of a film is over now.
Scare Level: This is a “horror“ “comedy.“ The quote marks couldn’t be stressed enough.
Gore Level: Very little. Some very lame monster make-up but very little blood and guts.
Nudity Level: There’s like 7 or 8 women in this film and the only ones you don’t see topless are the voodoo priestess and ex-pornstar Traci Lords.
Best Scene: This movie is just rotten and if I had to pick a scene worth watching it would be the incredibly silly and stupid concert scene where Angel Martin trips the lead singer off the stage, takes over the show, sings “I’m in Love With a Slut” and pukes on one of the concert-goers.
Worst Scene: Take your pick. This movie is chock-full of stupid. I’m still bewildered by Martin and his band terrorizing the lowly pizzeria where Martin used to work. I know he’s evil now but is this revenge necessary?
How ’bout the Tunes: Sadly, even as a horror-comedy the music is terrible. Sure you may get a chuckle at how awful the original music is lyrically and musically but that’s about it. Watching this band play will literally give you a spastic colon.
Band Rating: I’d rather go see Winger perform. Scratch that, a Winger cover band than see Spastique Kolon play. Smell the Glove!
Overall: I wouldn’t be surprised if this movie wasn’t one of the reasons hair metal died it’s quick and painful death in the early 90s. The jokes about the industry are so underwhelming in this dreck. The hair and fashion are cliched but not made the focus of the jokes. It’s almost like the filmmakers watched a few glam metal music videos to get a feel for the genre of music and ran with it with this over excessive lifestyle mixed with the selling your soul for fame angle. But besides the missed opportunity to spoof the genre with virtually no jokes, the acting is better in any of Traci Lord’s porn movies and come to think of it, the music is also better in her pornos too. There’s really nothing worth taking from this misguided attempt at a silly horror comedy. You’re better off watching Night of the Demons or Re-Animator.
Score: 3 Tubes of Food Concentrate (out of 10)