HARD ROCK ZOMBIES (1985)
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- Scantily clad hitch-hiker. Check!
- Midgets in tuxedos. Double check!
- Hitchhiker going skinny dipping. YAHTZEE!!
- The hitchhiker chick kills two guys in the pond by drowning them. But my question is not how two able-bodied men can’t fight off getting drowned by a skinny skinny-dipper but why is there blood coming up from under the water when she’s drowning them? She doesn’t have a knife on her.
- This band looks metal but plays more like Loverboy. The lead singer, Jessie, has the best mullet ever. However his pornstache kinda ruins it.
- Why do we have to see the band change clothes backstage? Was this film really made for the ladies in mind?
- And why are they so wishy-washy and complaining about having the good-looking and scantily clad groupies in there? Are they gay or is this some type of joke? I don’t think you’ll ever hear me complain when I’m signing my name to some attractive lady’s bare ass.
- The girl Jessie is fawning over looks likes she’s just 15-years-old.
- This town dislikes this band’s playful Monkee-like antics so much during a montage that they lock them up for no legal reason. And they have a concert in town tomorrow!!
- I think the midgets’ grandfather is supposed to be Hitler. That might be the strangest thing I ever wrote for Schlocktoberfest but probably not.
- A third song? Man, this movie at least delivers on the rock music at least.
- Boom Mic!
- Somewhat funny town meeting about banning rock n’ roll music. But why would a band come here for a concert for a town that doesn’t like rock music. Was this a secret show?
- The grandmother is a werewolf apparently. This film is all over the place.
- Gratuitous nudity. Why not?
- This flick has the balls to do a Psycho shower scene homage.
- I don’t know what that “gardener” killer threw at Jessie but it impaled his hands to the tree so he can kill him with a hedge trimmer.
- So all the band members are dead now. I suppose this makes them the titular Hard Rock Zombies now?
- Yup. It’s Hitler. Suck me sideways. Wearing his trademark Nazi uniform and everything.
- Hahahaha. The song that earlier Jessie thought brought back the dead actually works and when a young girl plays it over the graves of the band they are now ridiculous looking zombies still wearing their leathers and chains. And why did the town decide to bury them anyway?
- Instead of walking like typical zombies shuffling and lumbering around, the Hard Rock Zombies are more or less strutting around like to a beat. It’s actually pretty funny.
- Now there’s a instrumental montage of the Hard Rock Zombies (HRZ) killing the wacky Hitler family members as revenge. There’s still 45 minutes left. The only complaint I have is the instrumental sounds like it belongs in an Andy Sidaris movie rather than one that involves a rock band.
- There’s this long scene of the townsfolk listening to an old man tell the story about Hitler and Eva Braun’s sinister plot. This old man knew this whole time and never said anything? Not like they would believe him but then again they do now so what the hell.
- Now Hitler and Eva Braun are zombies now too. I’m not even going to attempt an explanation anymore.
- The HRZ are driving their van out of town!
- I should also point out that the HRZ all have white makeup on their faces with some flourishes of black around their eyes or lips. It’s amazing what influence KISS had on basically everything. Now I’m not saying the HRZ look like KISS per se because the make-up is supposed to look like death masks or wounds (hard to tell on the poor quality video I’m watching on—the black could very well be red for all I know) but when I see Jessie, the first thing I think of is KISS. Now that’s a powerful influence for a rock n’ roll band.
- They fight over what song plays on the radio. They settle on the same instrumental they played earlier to kill Hitler and his gang. They really like that song.
- The gardener Nazi guy reanimates to kill a townsfolk and ripped off part of his neck to eat it. But he then started chocking on it because there was a spike impaled through his throat. I don’t know I found that kind of clever.
- I can’t explain why or how the HRZ can still play music and sing their songs. I don’t think the film can either. Or just doesn’t care.
- Power ballad time. I’ve heard way worse. It’s called Cassie after the girl Jessie’s been flirting with. I rather listen to this than Europe’s “Carrie” any day of the week.
- There’s just too much goofiness and bad comedy in this film. For example, a couple is making out in the woods when one of the midget Nazis rips off the fella’s head and the girl picks up the head and asks if he’s OK. I’m all for comic relief or a horror movie that doesn’t take itself seriously, but poor attempt at comedy, I draw the line.
- So the townsfolk somehow came to the asinine conclusion that the zombies dislike heads. So their solution to getting around the zombies are huge printed pictures of famous people, like Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix to use as shields and walking around town with them. It looks dumber than it sounds. Suffice to say, it doesn’t work and most of the town get attacked by the zombies.
- Meanwhile the HRZs are still rocking their asses off, playing their concert to just a music producer and Cassie.
- It’s quite obvious that this movie is going nowhere.
- Oh great, a “wirgin” joke.
- “Sounds like a cheap movie.” “This whole day feels like a cheap movie.” HA!
- There’s also this running gag of the other Nazi midget slowly eating himself. Did I say gag? I meant choke.
- Now the townsfolk are sacrificing Cassie because they read that the only thing that can stop the zombies is them eating a wirgin. The movie needed a plot eventually. Better late than never.
- Here comes the HRZ to the rescue. By shredding their axes! Not actual axes—guitars. They pied piper the zombies away from Cassie and lead them into a shelter in the mountainside to a trap.
- I’m not quite sure what’s happening. Inside the shelter, harmful fumes are leaking out and causing the zombies pain and eventual death. Even to the HRZ. I’ve never seen poisonous gas destroy zombies before.
Scare Volume: This flick is cheesier than a Velveeta factory.
Gore Volume: Some. But not an impressive amount.
Nudity Volume: The hitchhiker chick gets naked a couple of times but we never really see anything clearly except a butt.
Best Scene: I’d say it would be when the HRZs attack the Nazi family to the awesome beat.
Worst Scene: The movie went from wacky horror comedy to really stupid by the last third of the movie. Any scene after they kill Hitler is probably too horrible to mention. Especially the giant heads scene. What were they thinking? I’d bet money that they simply had a lot of large famous people cardboard heads that they found in a dumpster outside some Tower Records and decided to not let them go to waste.
How ’bout the Tunes: This is the second instance this month of me downloading the soundstrack after watching the film. All the songs were written by Paul Sabu. I never heard of him but he has worked with David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Prince and Shania Twain. Seems like he would be more well known with working with those greats but he made a decent soundtrack with original tunes for this lousy horror flick.
Band Rating: A very simple mid-80s hard rock band. Nothing extraordinary about them and nothing memorable but still a fun group to see perform I suppose. I’d give them None More Black.
Overall: Certainly not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. And really not the worst of this month so far either. Part of me wants to actually see it get a better video transfer for a better viewing experience because the quality available is just so terrible. It looks 20 years older than it actually is. The tunes are better than expected which helps considerably and for most of the film I wasn’t bored really. Like I said, it’s all over the place humor-wise and tonally. I really didn’t get that it was a strict comedy until half-way through and by then I was starting to dislike it. Shame really, because the first half has some decent stuff going for it. The whole Nazi angle is really odd and really has nothing to do with the rest of the film. Instead of Nazis it easily could’ve been a coven of witches or Satan-worshipers, which the more I think about it makes more sense for a horror-themed mid-80s music flick. The second half had a very Attack of the Killer Tomatoes vibe to it with the bad jokes and ideas about defending themselves against zombies but again, it was just to terrible. Like David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel say, “There’s a fine line between clever and stupid” and Hard Rock Zombies is really treading that fine line badly. I’d give this film a rating slightly higher than average just based on the fun and light-hearted nature of the film and it’s music.
Score: 6 Giant Cardboard Heads (out of 10)