Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare (1987)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Rock Musical, Supernatural Horror  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - Canada, Spain  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Fred Beldin

Rock fans who kept an ear to the heavy metal underground in the early 80s might remember a band called Thor, a sturdy group of Vikings whose simple sword-n-sorcery riffs were forever overshadowed by the legendary feats of strength performed onstage by their leader and namesake, singer Jon-Mikl Thor. This bodybuilding he-man was known for bending steel rods with his teeth and blowing up hot water bottles with the mighty power of his lungs, all while clad in skimpy chainmail duds and brandishing the occasional sword or mace. While there's always a select audience for this kind of macho bombast, the big hits were not forthcoming, and Jon-Mikl Thor expanded his horizons by exploring the film industry. Written, produced and starring the Canadian muscle-man, Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare is his baby all the way, with plenty of excuses for him to show off his rock chops, flex heroically, and even make it with a naked lady in a shower. Directed by future big budget screenwriter John Fasano (Another 48 Hours, Darkness Falls), this demonic slasher tale is as cheap as they come, with puppets and marionettes as "special effects" and a cast of friends and family members smirking their way through boneheaded dialogue. Giant plot holes, extraneous characters and continuity mishaps are prevalent, and the generous helping of dated hair-metal fashions make the film either insufferable or hilarious, depending on one's tastes. What allows Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare to achieve a certain transcendence is an inspired twist ending which explains away the cliched characters and botched logic of the previous 75 minutes with one simple, ridiculous stroke. Headbangers with an appreciation for clumsy gore will enjoy Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, and anyone who still believes that heavy metal is the devil's music will be in for a big surprise.