I could have been the best, I could have had it made. Because of you and all the rest I wound up in a grave. In my dying day, revenge I swore I’d take. Now your time is running out! Let’s kill for killing’s sake!
1984’s Rocktober Blood starts with Billy “Eye” Harper singing “I’m Back” while his girlfriend and backup singer Lynn Starling watches. Billy tells her off, telling her he’s going out on a date with someone else. Before he leaves, he tells her he wrote the song “Rainbow Eyes” for her. Everyone in the band leaves except Lynn, who tries to record some of her own tracks before turning down the recording engineer’s come on and going to the jacuzzi upstairs alone.
Billy returns, only to kill the engineer while he’s playing pinball by slicing his throat. Then, he impales the engineer’s assistant (he must have hated the mix) before smoking some drugs in a metal one hitter while looking like Larry Sweeney. Lynn has no clue any of this has transpired, but she soon finds out that he’s killed both of them. Billy wants to make sure his message is coming through as he begins laughing like a villain. Lynn discovers the assistant’s body as Billy continues to laugh and menaces her with a knife, demanding that she sing. A passing security guard saves her life and we cut to two years later and the Rocktober Blood Release party.
Billy was captured, tried and executed while Lynn and the remaining band members changed their name to Headmistress. VJ Rick Righteous stops by, does some coke and interviews Lynn about Billy’s murder spree and having to finger Billy, which led to his conviction.
Then, while the bands are playing and everyone is dancing and getting their faces painted and smoking cigarettes and breakdancing, a mysterious figure appears and tells Lynn she needs to meet with her manager. It’s all a ruse, because it’s Billy — back from the grave, just like he said he would be. Lynn is left crying in the corner, emotionally decimated by whatever Billy said to her.
I really have to note that there is way too much breakdancing for a heavy metal movie. In my experience, these worlds never played well together.
Lynn goes away to a cabin, but Billy’s music follows her everywhere she runs, so she tries to aerobic exorcise Billy away. There are more girls sweating in this scene than a Bruce Seven video. The phone keeps ringing, leading to an insane prank phone call (sampled on Acid Witch’s “Midnight Movies” EP) that has the caller begging for “hot steaming pussy blood all over my face.” The phone just keeps ringing and ringing, even when its off the hook, but look out! Billy’s in the house!
He starts killing anyone that is close to Lynn, including drowning one girl with a high collar in the jacuzzi. He keeps hiding the bodies so that everyone thinks she’s gone crazy again.
Also – the sets for this are the most 80s sets you’ve ever seen. Everything is wood grain and giant bathtubs and giant houseplants. It’s nearly 70s more than 80s. But who the fuck carpets a bathroom?
Also, the film makes every opportunity to show nudity, if you’re interested in those things. Fun fact: in the VHS pre-internet era, this was as good as it got for most kids under 18.
Security gets increased and the head security guy acts like a complete prick to Lynn, making fun of her for being so afraid. Well, you know, if your boyfriend killed a ton of people and then stabbed you, well, maybe you’d be a little worried.
After all this craziness, Lynn decides that she’s going to dig up Billy’s grave…and Billy is in it. So who is it that’s screwing with her? We don’t have long to wait. Billy shows up backstage and a groupie asks, “Who are you?” “Death,” he responds as he kills her with a hot iron. Yes, he literally irons her neck. This just took this review from a frown to a smile.
Lynn and the band are getting ready to perform when Billy reappears to tell her that he’s really Billy’s twin brother John…and she let the wrong man die. He wrote all the songs by himself and tonight, he’ll perform them and kill her at the end of the show. Holy shit, I love John. I love how he randomly says stuff like, “Fucker!” He makes this movie so much better than it is before he finally reveals himself.
The band takes to the stage and security guards save the day. Again. Ugh. At least John gets to scream “I’m Back” as they take him away.
Rocktober Blood isn’t an easy watch. The music is way better than the film, thanks to Sorcery. A band that played metal while two master magicians playing Merlin and the devil battled on stage, they’ve been on my radar since I first saw the trailer to Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Stunt Rock. I don’t have the right words to explain to you my love for this trailer, so I’ll just share it.
Do you have a metal horror movie I missed? Yeah, I know Deathgasm is probably a good one, but I’m more about the cruddy VHS films, what can I say? But let me know — I’m sure there will be another week of metal movie marijuana massacre meltdown soon.
Be sure to check out out review of Rocktober Blood 2: Billy’s Revenge, part of our “Box Office Failures Week” and our second look at Rocktober Blood by R.D Francis to commemorate the July 31, 2019 death Nigel Benjamin, the “voice” of Billy Eye Harper.