I came to B&S About Movies, the website, after I listened to B&S About Movies, the podcast. And long before I became a writer at B&S About Movies, Sam expressed his love of horror films and heavy metal music with his first “theme week” in 2017: “No False Metal.” So, for this Drive-In Friday, we’ll pay tribute to that first theme week with a “Heavy Metal Horror Night” under the moonlight.
What is “Heavy Metal Horror,” you ask? Is it the same as the “metalsploitation” moniker I’ve seen critics use?
At the same time those direct-to-video “boobs and blades” knock-offs of John Carpenter’s Halloween started flying off the video store shelves, a new form of heavy metal birthed in Britain in the late seventies—dubbed by Sounds magazine as “The New Wave of British Heavy Metal” (NWOBHM).
Featuring the violent, religious mania and bloody lyrics composed by the likes of Venom and Iron Maiden, complete with the requisite Satanic imagery on the album covers, slasher films and heavy metal music were a match made in hell: the music coming out of England was, in fact, Giallo musicals. This music-inspired slasher sub-genre even got its own name: metalsploitation, which featured other beloved so-bad-they’re-good bloody analog tales showcasing the exploitive titles of Black Roses, Shock ’em Dead, Terror on Tour, Rock ’n’ Roll Nightmare, and Hard Rock Zombies. The genre peaked—and quickly burnt out—when the major studios took a slice of the metalsploitation pie with 1986’s big-budgeted Trick or Treat.
So flash those horns and let’s get the reels a-rollin’ with Monster Dog, Blood Tracks, Terror on Tour, and Rocktober Blood . . . and a surprise wildcard, so I hope you tore that coupon out of the paper to redeem it.
And don’t forget: Movies and Mosquitoes go better with a Pepsi!
Movie 1: Monster Dog (1984)
The director of this heavy metal werewolf romp is Claudio Fragrasso. We talk about him alot on this site. He made what schlock film critics cite as the “worst sequel of all time”: Troll 2. With Rossella Drudi, Fragrasso co-wrote for Bruno Mattei, the films The Other Hell, Rats: Night of Terror, Robowar, Shocking Dark, and Zombi 3. Then there are the films he co-directed or directed, such as Beyond Darkness, Night Killer, and Scalps.
So, before Alice Cooper appeared in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness and Wayne’s World—and after he made his big screen debut in Sextette and followed up with a bigger part in Roadie (his best work; alongside Meatloaf) and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (and you thought Troll 2 was bad)—he was without a recording contract and broke.
So he took this gig, starring as the world-famous Vince Raven, who takes his band to his childhood home for rest, relaxation, and a video shoot—in the remote wilds of Spain, natch. And there’s wild dogs and bad dreams and a hostage crisis and videos for Alice’s tunes “Identity Crisis” and “See Me in the Mirror.”
It’s awful. It’s crazy and it makes no sense. And we love it.
You can watch the full movie for free on TubiTv.
Movie 2: Blood Tracks (1985)
Sam pitches this movie perfectly in his review: The Hills Have Eyes set at a ski-lodge. I’ll take it one step further: Take Alice Cooper’s Monster Dog, remove the werewolf, and insert an axe-wielding maniac.
Yep. Instead of Alice Cooper as Vince Raven, we have another band—in this case, real-life Swedish hair metal band Easy Action, as the faux Solid Gold—going to a remote location to shoot a rock video.
Yep. They’re dispatched by axe, by sword . . . and bye-bye Swedish rockers, for we so wish you were Swiss rocker Krokus.
You can watch the full Movie for free on You Tube.
Intermission! Welcome to our tents . . . Acid Witch!
Back to the show!
Movie 3: Terror on Tour (1980)
In our review of 1971’s psycho-slasher Point of Terror, we discussed the resume of trash filmmaker Don Edmonds and his works with Dyanne Thorne. Together, they made two of the ‘70s trashiest Drive-In fests that became ‘80s video rental de rigueur: Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975) and Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976).
And this movie needed a dose of Dyanne. Badly.
Anyway, the “terror” is the bargain-basement KISS clone the Clowns, who dress in black leotards, wigs and Phantom of the Opera-styled half-masks. And someone is dressing up as one of the Clowns and killing their fans. And what in the hell is the “Soup Nazi” from Seinfeld doing here? Hey, starting his acting career.
Oh, the Clowns are actually the Rockford, Illinois, band the Names. Yes, they did gigs back in the day with Cheap Trick. And Chip Greenman, the drummer in the Names, sat on the drum kit with the Cheap Trick precursor, Fuse, which featured Rick Nielsen and Tom Peterson. And when Rick and Tom put together a “new band,” Chip turned down their invitation to join, instead signing on the dotted line with the Names.
Chip got to star in this movie as the consolation prize. And he can’t act. And neither can the rest of the Names.
You can watch the full movie for free on You Tube.
Movie 4: Rocktober Blood (1984)
Oh, dear lord Satan. How Sam and I (especially me) go on and on about this pinnacle-mixture of heavy metal and horror. Sam did a pretty good job in chronicling the exploits of Billy Eye Harper (review), but I had to go and take another crack at it (review). And then we examined the never-made sequel, Rocktober Blood 2: Billy’s Revenge.
See, we told you we love Billy Eye Harper around here. We even review never-made-movies about him.
The short of it: Billy Eye Harper and his band Head Mistress are recording music for their annual October Rocktober Blood tour and—it seems—Billy has a psychotic break, murders members of his crew, a few record executives, and fails in his attempt to murder his co-vocalist, Lynn Starling.
Of course, as the poster’s tagline teases: Billy returns from the dead to kill—and rock again. The music of Head Mistress (You Tube soundtrack playlist)—provided by the L.A band Sorcery (of Stunt Rock fame)—is excellent, even more so that the actually movie. Oh, and Billy’s “voice” is the late Nigel Benjamin of the post-Mott the Hoople band, Mott.
And did you know that Billy Eye Harper, aka actor Trey Loren, aka Tracy Sebastian, is responsible for bringing AC/DC: Let There Be Rock to the big screen? True story . . . and we’ll get into that with our review on that film, which broke AC/DC in America, tomorrow at 11 AM.
You can watch the full movie for free on You Tube.
Movie 5: Showing exclusively at our Allison Park location is Hard Rock Zombies (1984)
What in the hell is up with this movie?
How in the hell did Krishna Shah, a double-graduate of Yale and UCLA, come to hook up with E.J Curse of the Gene Simmons-produced L.A. band Silent Rage (and formed Dead Flowers with ex-Guns N’ Roses Gilby Clarke) and ‘80s metal songsmith Paul Sabu to make a movie, about . . . a small time rock band, Holy Moses, who stumbles into a creepy, small town that Adolf Hitler is using to launch the Fourth Reich—all with the help of werewolves, murderous dwarfs, a hot blonde hitchhiker with a penchant for hand chopping, and medieval songs that resurrect the dead? Yeah, I know that’s a run-on sentence, but I need it to describe this . . . movie!
Well, now that we look at this all these years later . . . our educated, filmmaking and critical eye realizes Shah was creating a parody of the metalsploitation genre and all of that Nazi craziness that horror films deployed back in the ’50s and ’60s. So, the reality is: we love Mr. Shah for giving us this movie. It surely sits proudly on my VHS shelf of cherished, used analog ditties.
Trivia Alert: This was shot back-to-back with Krishna Shah’s T&A epic, American Drive-In (1985) . . . and Hard Rock Zombies is the movie playing in the Drive-In of that movie. Oh, and Emily Longstreth from American Drive-In, also starred in the Alien knock-off Star Crystal and the apoc-romp Wired to Kill. And Shah’s co-producer, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, produced Steven Dorff’s grunge flick S.F.W. (1994; reviewed on April 5th, in remembrance of Kurt . . . and thank you, Sig, for I LOVE that grunge delight).
You can watch the full movie for free on You Tube. Hell, ya! The full soundtrack for Hard Rock Zombies is on You Tube, courtesy of Paul Sabu! “Oh, Cassie!”
Don’t forget to hang up the speakers and please use our trash receptacles on the way out. Don’t throw your trash on the grounds. Thank you! And tickets are still available for the Kix, Bang Tango, and Thor show under the Big Top on Sunday. Bring your VHS tapes and albums, as all three bands are doin’ a meet-and-greet after the show.
Now, let’s have Acid Witch take us out with Midnight Movies, their all-covers EP of songs from ’80s heavy metal horror films. Hit it, boys!
About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.