hard rock zombiesVestron Video
1985
R

“You guys ready for the show? The loud show? Loud music show? Rock and roll?”

Holy Moses is a hot young rock band on the cusp of stardom. They journey to a secluded Northern California hamlet to perform what is touted as the gig that will propel them to stardom. Instead, it’s the beginning of a remarkably macabre adventure. The band is taken captive by a strange family. The band members are subjected to unimaginable horrors before being brutally slaughtered. But the fun begins when they are resurrected and become the Hard Rock Zombies. They’re set to give their greatest performance as they rock n’ roll their way to vengeance in an all-out attack on the crazed clan. Hard Rock Zombies–you just can’t keep a good band down!

You may have noted that I like to include the official movie description blurb that’s usually found on the back of whatever media I use to watch the movie (in this case, a rather beat up VHS copy); not out of laziness of describing the movie in my own words, but to give you an idea of what kind of spin is used to promote what is contained on said media. Sometimes the description is right on, but other times, you wonder what movie the person who wrote the description watched, because it didn’t exactly match what you just witnessed. In the case of Hard Rock Zombies, the descript here is accurate, but I found myself admiring the mental fortitude of whoever wrote the blurb while straining to boil the entire movie down to just that handful of short paragraphs.

Hard Rock Zombies is a big, steamy pile of a mess. To start off, this thing started off life as a short to be used in another movie entirely, called American Drive-In, as one of the movies being played on the drive-in screen. Or, at least I would assume that’s what the intention is, because I haven’t seen that particular movie, and neither do I have any intention of doing so in the near future. But, someone decided that the Hard Rock Zombies short was innovative enough to be made into its own full-length feature, so they gave whoever made this an extra twenty bucks to pad out the time, and then retired back into their cushy movie producer offices to swim Scrooge McDuck-style in their big pile of cocaine [citation needed]. At least, that’s the version that amuses me more. Because…well, how else would you logically explain the existence of Hard Rock Zombies?

In the pantheon of bad movies, Hard Rock Zombies manages to hit them all, and then invent some of their own badness to throw into the morass. Let’s start with the unholy mess that is the story: 80s big hair rock band Holy Moses (oy) is going to play a show for a big-wig record company exec in a back-woods po-dunk (is that how it’s spelled? I’m too lazy to Google it right now) town where the locals don’t take too kindly to these long-haired, loud music-playin’ nogoodniks and try to run them out of town the night before the big concert. Fortunately, a creepy family that lives slightly out of town (and features two midgets) takes them in, the lead singer initiates a creepy romance with a local 14-year-old, the entire band turns out to be Adolf Hitler and the entire family are Nazis (including the midgets) and then kill the band; the grieving 14-year-old resurrects the band using a demo tape made of a riff taken from…I don’t know, we’ll just say the Necronomicon (it’s as good as anything), who then proceed to avenge their deaths by killing the family of Nazis, and arrive in time to play their show for the big-wig record company exec. Only, the dead Nazis are resurrected as zombies as well, and go on to turn the rock n’ roll hatin’ locals into zombies. The 14-year-old is captured and tied up because she’s the only virgin in the town, and they need a virgin to sacrifice to appease…something something, I believe at this point I was struggling to keep my own brain from liquefying beyond redemption. Anyway, zombie band come in for the rescue, luring all the zombies (including the Zombie Nazi Midgets…because I would be remiss if I went the entire review by not writing Zombie Nazi Midgets) into a hidden gas chamber (oy) to be killed off.

Ow ow ow oooooowwwww, my head hurts. And that was the Reader’s Digest condensed version. You see now why I have such admiration for those unsung souls who have to write very brief blurbs for the back of the DVD covers?

Yeah, Hard Rock Zombies is a baaaaaaaaaaad movie. I guess you’d already have a notion of that just by the title alone. But that doesn’t do it justice. It’s ultra low budget, the acting is supremely bad, the zombie make-up effects consists of the black and white style that makes everyone look like refugees from the KISS Army, the story seems to suffer from ADHD (I’m a ROCKSPLOITATION PIC! No, now I’m a SLASHER! Now I’m a ZOMBIE FLICK! SQUIRREL!), not to mention a non-explicit yet still creepy pedophile angle (made even more unsettling due to the guy’s mullet-and-mustache combo) and the shoehorned in attempts at “comedy” gags are completely DOA, making the entirety of Hard Rock Zombies one of the biggest examples of unintentional hilarity I’ve watched in quite a while. But the worst part is that, the concept itself couldn’t sustain the full-length running time, thereby dragging quite a bit in the middle part, causing my mind to wander onto better uses of my time than watching the movie. And that is not a good sign, folks.

So, seeing as how I’ve already spent more time than needed bemoaning this movie, I will say that, as bad as Hard Rock Zombies is, this does fall under the You Must Find This And Watch This At Least Once category, because at least it’s an entertaining trainwreck of a movie.

Advertisements