BLACK ROSESSynapse Films
1988
R

“If I was Mrs. Miller I would be hysterical because Mr. Miller’s dead.”

The town of Mill Basin is your typical Midwestern Ozzy and Harriet type community, a sleepy little township where nothing really exciting and out-of-place happens. That is, until a rock band by the name of Black Roses arrives to play their brand of rock and/or roll for the teens. The parents are suspicious at first, but decide to let the kids be kids, and not give it another thought. That is, until the teens begin to exhibit strange and reprehensible behavior, and a teacher discovers that there’s more to the band Black Roses than a really generic sound and poofy hair…

I rented this movie a long time ago, probably when it first came out on VHS back in the day, because of not only the fact that it seemed like a horror movie based around metal (being the fanatical metal head that I was back then), but the cover featured some nifty faux 3D embossed artwork, so the image of the guitar jumped out at you.

Then I watched it. Even at that time, when hard rock / metal bands with big hair and no talent were dominating pop culture, when I would check out any and every movie that had the word “horror” on it and like some part of it no matter how horrid it was, I was completely underwhelmed with this movie.

Mind you, it was a different time in the mid-to-late 80s. Metal and hard rock were under severe scrutiny for demonic ties, and horror movies were being spit out by the baker’s dozen every month. It seemed like the two were a logical fit. And they are. When it’s done right.

Black Roses, however, takes a bland script, a generic rock band that spits out very generic rock, and a plot that seems a bit more than Reefer Madness with the evils of rock. You know the bit- good, law-abiding wholesome teens listen to a rock band, and then they’re suddenly violent, beer-guzzling and sexually deviant waistoids. But it’s not their fault, oh no. It was the ROCK MUSIC! And that’s how the movie plays out. The music of Black Roses puts the kids into a trance (because you’re much more susceptible to hypnotic suggestion when you’re lulled to sleep by the music…wow, it’s bland), kids worship at the altar of the stage, and near the end of the band’s tenure in the town, they’re not really playing music, and the lead singer (decked out in the finest bondage accessories) turns into a demon that looks suspiciously like one of the “Station” aliens in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Of course, when the band is vanquished, all returns back to normal, discounting the massive hangover one ensues once the end credits roll…

If it weren’t for the fact that this was produced well before the advent of the Internet, and thus the Dial-The-Truth wanker’s anti-rock propaganda, I would be hard pressed to find some kind of connection with some anti-rock ministry out there. Sad thing is, I think this is much more of a tongue-in-cheek response to all the needless hoopla that surrounded the controversy at the time. Badly done. Stale, bland cheese. Rent Trick Or Treat instead…

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