Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hard Rock Zombies (1985)

Where can you find horrible 80’s ballads, a rock star that is a pedophile, Nazis, deformed midgets, zombies, a grandma that transforms into a werewolf, bad 80’s metal hair, music video montages, Adolf Hitler and limber but evil groupies? Hard Rock Zombies, that’s where, one of the worst films ever made!

In the opening scene, a dirty-looking blond hitchhiker (Lisa Toothman), who looks like she’s wearing nothing but a scrap of shower curtain, gets picked up by two skeevy lamebrains. Two seconds later they’ve pulled off for a bit of skinny dipping in a scum-encrusted pond where Dirty Blond drowns both dudes. Who knew drowning produced so much blood? A weird guy who was taking pictures the whole time and his pet midgets (one with a patch over one eye and the other looking more like a creature from Ghoulies) join Dirty Blond in disposing of the bodies…but not before Dirty Blond cuts one of the victim’s hands off and croons, “I wanna hold your hand!”

After this preposterous opening scene we join “the band” onstage as they perform for their 12 groupies. After the long and drawn-out song, they head backstage, strip to their skivvies and pose for pics with more groupies! Lead singer and perv Jessie (E.J. Curcio) becomes enamored of the very young-looking Cassie (Jennifer Coe), who not only looks like she’s 12, but also looks like she’s got caterpillars glued over her already bushy Groucho Marx-like eyebrows. Cassie tries to warn Jessie that his band shouldn’t play their next gig in her podunk town, but Jessie is too smitten to pay attention.

On the way to Cassie’s town Jessie practices his newest song, which he’s borrowed from a medieval incantation that was used to raise the dead. Great idea, bonehead!

The band picks up Dirty Blond, who is out hitchhiking again (what a strange pastime…) and she tells them to stay at her family’s spacious Southern-style mansion. Once they arrive they meet with the creepy midgets and the rest of Dirty Blond’s strange family, including her grandparents who let the creepy midgets watch while they have geriatric sex, a hulking, bald man who is either her brother or the gardener (he’s quite handy with the weed whacker) and the paparazzo-in-training from the pond.

After they’ve stashed all their equipment, the band heads into town and we are forced to suffer another horrible musical number – and, hey, this one’s a montage complete with band members skateboarding, scaring kids by spraying them with shaken cans of beer, dancing like idiots, posing in a gigantic wood cut-out of themselves and hamming it up while disapproving townsfolk look on. The band gets thrown in jail for being so lame, but Dirty Blond bails them out.

After almost getting electrocuted while playing another horrible song in front of their hosts, the band eats it for real at the hands of Dirty Blond’s psycho family. Dirty Blond herself takes out a guy in the shower, while grandma turns into a werewolf(!) and mauls two other band members and Jessie is taken out by baldy with the weed whacker, but not before he gives Cassie his tape for his new dead-raising single!

After the funeral, it is revealed that the members of Dirty Blond’s family are all Nazis in hiding and that her grandpa is actually the Grand Fuhrer himself, Adolf Hitler! Hitler has a hidden bunker well-stocked with poisonous gas and plans to take out the entire U.S.!

Meanwhile, Cassie is visiting the band’s grave. She plays the tape Jessie left her and – sho ‘nuff – the band comes back to life as zombies – stiff, Robot-dancin’ zombies that look like a bad KISS cover band that is.

They kill Dirty Blond and her Nazi family (who return as zombies), then drive (yup, zombies can drive) across town so they can play a showcase and impress a record executive. While we are forced to listen to another god-awful song (the third time we hear it in the film), zombies are slowly overtaking the town. The remaining townsfolk think they can repel zombies by holding out huge posters of famous people…buuuut that idea doesn’t work too well and more people become the zombies’ lunch.

One old guy suggests offering the ghouls the town’s virgin, who just happens to be Cassie. Something about the zombies not attacking the town for another 100 years if they can screw and eat a virgin. Anywho, the townspeople haul Cassie up the mountain like a sacrificial lamb and offer her to the zombies.

It’s up to Jessie and the rest of the zombified band to save his jailbait lady love and to put a stop to the zombie nonsense once and for all…but not until we suffer through yet another musical number.

Whew! Apologies for such a long synopsis, but really I wanted you to get a complete gist of the insanity of this movie! And believe me, you haven’t heard anything yet! I have yet to mention the self-cannibalizing midget or the freaky dance montages that feature Dirty Blond. In case you haven’t noticed, this movie is all over the place and you’ll be asking yourself WTF did I just watch when you are through (if you can bear and get all the way to the end, that is).

First off, the puke-inducing music is not what anyone would call “hard rock.” It just sounds like the most generic, Monster Ballad-esque sap you’ve ever heard. And they just keep playing the same damn songs over and over. Plus, they’ve got the whole pedophile angle covered even in the lyrics, which actually say “I’m so in love, but you’re so young.” Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Totally groddy! Someone call Chris Hansen with To Catch a Predator!

Considering this was at one point just supposed to be a 20 minute short movie I understand all the padding used, but did they really have to keep showing such cheesy montages? First with the band “running wild” (errrr, if “wild” means consorting with a bunch of pudgy schoolkids, riding skateboards and doing a Beatle-esque type dance down the middle of a street) through the redneck town and later on with Jessie and Cassie running at each other in slow-mo both dressed in white! And who can forget Dirty Blond doing some kind of weird 80’s dancing, first randomly in the desert then as a slinky zombie minx (who knew zombies were so flexible?). You could fill 20 bottles of Cheez-Whiz with the cheesiness coming out of just these montage scenes alone!

Then there was the whole “what were they smoking?” plot addition of Nazis and werewolves! Seriously, did they think that a strictly zombie movie would be that boring and they needed a little extra Third Reich pizazz? I really don’t know what writer/director Krishna Shah and co-writer David Allen Ball (and no, they haven’t done all that much since this, ahem, “film”) were thinking when they unleashed this horribly bad movie on an unsuspecting audience, but if they were doing drugs while dreaming this film up then it would make for a perfect “this is your brain on drugs” PSA. Just say no, kids!

You’d think with such vivid imaginations some great gore would come out of all this, but sadly the only “gore” we get is blood that looks like it was squirted right out of a Heinz ketchup bottle. The kill scenes are pretty hysterical, though, especially when geysers of blood erupt during a drowning scene and that the zombiefied band kills Hitler by what looks like a ring-around-the-rosies game gone wrong.

The craziness of the Hard Rock Zombies makes some parts entertaining, but for the most part it’s a real snoozefest. The film looses what little momentum it had at about the one hour mark and all those musical numbers certainly make it seem much longer than it actually is. I might have even fallen asleep had the music not been so gratingly bad. Yet, this film is so bad that like Troll 2 it certainly deserves to be seen at least once…but once will definitely be enough. After that you’ll want to bury Hard Rock Zombies for good.

Available from Amazon!

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