PITTSBURGH MADE: Horror Rock (1989)

John Russo is a green filmmaker and by that, I mean that he sure does love to recycle footage. But hey — he’s also smart enough to realize that those that love metal generally love horror movies, so why not combine both of them?

His Market Square Productions put this together and it was directed and written by Paul McCollough, who was around to shoot The WinnersThere’s Always VanillaThe Booby HatchFleshEater and Midnight, as well as edit The Booby Hatch, FleshEater, MidnightThe Majorettes and Heartstopper plus also compose music for several of those films and the remake of Night of the Living DeadLegion of the NightSanta Claws and Monster Makeup.

There are seven music videos on this and each has a video — of sorts — to go with it.

Hurricane “Over the Edge”: Hurricane is an American heavy metal band — they’re still around! — first formed in 1983. The original lineup had now current Foreigner lead vocalist Kelly Hansen, Robert Sarzo, Tony Cavazo and Jay Schellen. If some of those last names seem familiar, Cavazo and Sarzo are the younger brothers of Quiet Riot’s Carlos Cavazo and Rudy Sarzo. Robert was the first guitarist to replace Randy Rhodes after he tragically died. Robert and Tony are also the only original members left in the band. I kind of love how the “video” behind their song is just footage of Kennywood, an amusement park outside Pittsburgh.

Wrath “Children of the Wicked”: Wrath plays what they refer to as “progressive, technically demanding thrash metal which has been referred to as Tech-Thrash or Speed-Tech.” Bassist Gary Modica is the only original member left, but they’re still recording.

The Pandoras “Run Down Love Battery”: This band got their start in late 1982 as part of the 1960s garage rock revival and was associated with the Paisley Underground era in Hollywood’s underground rock scene. Sadly, the band split into two factions as It’s About Time LP was released with founder/singer/songwriter Paula Pierce hiring three new musicians and literally going her own way. The band was on Rhino, Elektra and Restless before disbanding in 1990. Keyboardist Melanie Vammen and bassist Kim Shattuck went on to form The Muffs. Even sadder, both Pierce and Shattuck are no longer with us. This is pretty much just the band’s video for the song, but man, it’s infectious.

The Dickies “Booby Trap”: This Los Angeles-based punk band has been in continuous existence for over 40 years. They’re probably best known for doing the music for Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Elvis Hitler “Hot Rod to Hell”: This Detroit-born psychobilly band was named after the stage name of their lead singer Jim Leedy and had a novelty hit with the song “Green Haze,” which combines the theme song of Green Acres with “Purple Haze.”

The Del-Lords “Judas Kiss”: Founded by The Dictators’ guitarist Scott Kempner, this band had four singers — beyond Kempner, there was Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Frank Funaro and Steve Almaas — to become an urban roots rock version of the Beach Boys. They were named for the director of several Three Stooges shorts, Del Lord.

N.M.E. “Heartstopper”:  This Pittsburgh band featured guitarists Michael Weldon and Brian Keruskin, Chuck Robinson on bass, drummer Dave Snyder and vocalist Jirus. They broke up shortly after doing the music for the movie Heartstopper.

All of all these songs play over clips of Night of the Living DeadThe MajorettesMidnight and Heartstopper which as you may have put together are all movies owned by Russo (or in the public domain, as is the case with Night). There are also strange garbled voiceover and audio warnings about a character named Uncle Tonoose, who gets mentioned so much in this you might believe that he’s actually someone. Maybe the character from Make Room for Daddy came back from the dead?

Regardless, this is a fun artifact of a past time and for a while was the only way to see Heartstopper. It’s pretty ramshackle, but that’s part of the fun.

Thanks to the magic of the web, you can watch it on Tubi.

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