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  Hard Rock Zombies Power Chord PalaverBuy this film here.
Year: 1985
Director: Krishna Shah
Stars: E.J. Curse, Geno Andrews, Sam Mann, Nick Manz, Lisa Toothman, Jennifer Coe, Ted Wells, Jack Bliesener, Richard Vidan, Phil Fondacaro, Crystal Shaw, Vincent De Stefano, Gary Friedkin, Christopher Perkins, Michael David Simms, David O'Hara, David Schroeder
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Trash, Music
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: A couple of blokes in a sports car are driving around the backwoods of California when they spot an attractive woman at the side of the road, hitchhiking. They screech to a halt and allow her to jump in, then further down the way take a detour to a nearby lake, as suggested by their new passenger who hops out of the vehicle, strips off all her clothes and goes skinny-dipping. The two gentlemen like this idea and follow suit, but once they get into the water she holds them under it until they drown, exactly the opposite of what they were hoping for as her associates cavort on the shore...

You may be thinking, that's all very well, but where does the hard rock enter into it? And you may be thinking that by the end of the film as well, though that wasn't to say it wasn't bereft of tunes, it's just that these guys made Europe sound like Slayer. What guys? They don't seem to have a name for their band, or if they do they mumble it indistinctly, but it's the group who will be our heroes in this frankly ludicrous attempt at melding the comedy with the horror with the rock movie genres, here led by the man who would go on to re-christen himself E.J. Curse, but formerly went by the name E.J Curcio.

He played the strutting, moustachioed, mulleted hunk Jessie, frontman of the, er, whatever they were called and thanks to his forward thinking, the hero of the hour. The first we see of him and his pals - three bandmates and one manager - they are powering along the same road we saw in the introduction in their van, and encounter the self-same hitchhiker (Lisa Toothman) who doesn't detour them to the lake but does insist on taking them to her sprawling mansion house where she and her family reside. All very well, this is where they're playing their next gig as luck would have it, but one local girl, Cassie (Jennifer Coe) has a message for Jessie.

Which is essentially, "Stay away!", but the big Jessie is not going to be frightened that easily, no matter that if he had been it would have been a shorter movie and he would not have ended up zombiefied - it's not a spoiler if it's in the title of the film, right? For such a brainlessly simple premise, director Krishna Shah (who is so accomplished he managed to spell his own name wrong in the credits) doesn't half complicate things, ostensibly for comic effect but actually to render this funny when it's meant to be serious, and vice versa. So he throws in scenes like the hitcher's grandparents having sex, but whinily asked by their dwarf grandchildren if they can watch, to which they reluctantly agree.

If you're not laughing now, you may have one of those things, what's it called? Oh yeah, a sense of humour, because the jokes don't get any better as all the villagers try to get the concert banned (who is planning to attend this thing anyway?), but find themselves not having to worry about that when the rockers are murdered by the family, which turns out to be led by - real spoiler, this time - an elderly, ranting Adolf Hitler (Jack Bliesener), yes, he was the grandfather all along. And his wife is a werewolf. Luckily for the planet, Jessie recorded a tape of his occult tunes and Cassie plays it back, resulting in the band returning from the grave in formation step to attack the evildoers - and Jessie gets to romance Cassie, even though she's in her mid-teens and he looks about forty. And he's dead. The sort of film where someone asks a severed head "Omigawd! Are you all right?" the music (by Paul Sabu) might have redeemed it, but every time they break for a song it's soft rock at best and miles from grit yer teeth metal. A complete mess, but bizarre enough to lodge itself in the unsuspecting mind.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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