Friday, May 11, 2012

Black Roses

Black Roses (1988)

Dir: John Fasano (Rock N' Roll Nightmare/The Jitters)

IMDB: 3.2 out of 10

Horror is a funny genre of film, I don't believe there is any other style of movie that has nearly as many sub-sub-Genres as Horror does. You can go for the standard ones like Slasher,Supernatural,Monster,Zombies,Demons,Possession, and then dive even further into Rape/Revenge,Giallo,Gore,Torture porn or even further. This film falls into the very small sub category of the Heavy Metal Horror film, There are very few films in this niche like Hard rock Zombies, Slumber Party Massacre 2 and the director of this films first entry to horror Rock N' Roll Nightmare. Director John Fasano  returns to his directorial roots with this fun little entry Black Roses. Black Roses also falls into that category of 80's VHS boom flicks that gained allot of popularity in it's day due to it's infamous cover art. I remember being a young child and seeing this flicks awesome packaging with it's 3-D cover art that literally stuck out from it's case , Something about that picture of the guitar and the eyes truly stood out to me as a kid and I'm sure that many folks my age would remember this movie even if they hadn't seen it just simply due to it's innovative cover art. After watching this film it becomes quite obvious that most of the film makers budget went into the cover art, which may or may not have been a smart move honestly. So when all is  said and done, How does Black Roses hold up ? Is it the forerunner for the genre or is it just another "Heavy Mental" piece of celluloid trash? Let's stage dive head first right into this mosh pit of a flick and find out shall we?

             The film opens with a average hair metal band performing the average hair metal song about empowerment, however something sets this band apart as they appear to be demons, But not Kiss Style demons but more like a Gwar style costumed band. Which makes me wonder if this pre dates that band or not? As the band plays , the crowd appears to be possessed by the music and as a suit attempts to shut the show down the crowd attacks him after turning into demons and we get our opening credits complete with more cheesy metal and shots of two fancy cars riding into a small town.

Front man Damien and his band Black Roses arrive at the small town of Mil Basin. As the local high school kids are all eager to see their favorite band perform in their shithole town the parents are quick to jump on the "Metal Music rots kids brains" bandwagon, Claiming that the lyrics are Satanic and will influence their children to turn to crime, drugs, sex and violence. On the flip side the Town Mayor believes the religious fanatics are over reacting and sights the fact that their parents once claimed the same about their favorite music growing up as well as the fact that most of the world's famous writers have written material that was once deemed controversial. High School English teacher and town heart throb Mr.Moorehouse is also in favor of giving the band a chance as it would finally give the kids something fun to look forward to in their dull lives in this quite town. As the first show takes place all the parents and adults attend to oversee what the big deal is and after the band plays one soft rock song they begin to believe they were in fact over reacting and shortly after leaving the Black Roses turn to their more harder material, Tricking the authorities into a false sense of security. However the following day the students seem to be acting a bit different as they are paying no attention to their studies and seem to be becoming a bit more rebellious. Moorehouse chops this up to them being tired from the show and looks past the subtle changes in behavior.

As the kids prepare for the second show things take a turn for the worse as some strange on goings begin taking place. One of  Moorehouse's students Tony , The stereotypical Italian bully is listening to a Black Roses album his father played by Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy of The Soprano's fame) demands that his son shut the music off after bashing him for piercing his ear. As Tony's dad sits in the living room the record player begins playing on it's own and he notices that the record is badly warped. Shortly after making that discovery a demon springs from the stereo speaker and attacks him pulling him into the speaker after a short struggle.At the second show it becomes apparent that Black Roses Frontman has some sort of control over the kids and they begin to get more and more violent as time passes, As we can see that now the streets are filled with punks running rampant and raising hell.Mr. Moorehouse notices things are not as they should be when his car is vandalized and he attempts to alert the Mayor about his concerns, however his relationship with the Mayors daughter Priscilla presents a few roadblocks. After the second show the fans of the band really begin to turn as several of the students manage to kill their own parents and several of the female students begin acting like sex crazed demons.

The following day at school Moorehouse's students break into a chant of "Damien" in class and are now obviously under some sort of spell as they are completely obsessed with the band. One student manages to off the school principle while receiving therapy to help her cope with her murdered father, when she turns into a demon and tosses him from the schools window to his death. Moorehouse finally is able to bring his concerns to the Mayor and it is brushed off as he appears completely oblivious to what is going on around him. He tells Moorehouse to attend the last nights show and inform him of any strange findings. Moorehouse hits the library to do some research on the occult when one of his students Julie whom has a crush on him arrives and attempts to seduce him. He of course denies her advances and she becomes violently jealous of the Mayors daughter. When Moorehouse returns home she is there and again tries to put the moves on teacher. When she again is pushed away she transforms into a demon and a battle ensues.Moorehouse now convinced he is dealing with some supernatural or other worldly opposition decides to arm himself with some explosives before attending the final show in town. Upon arriving at the concert he witnesses all of the towns kids completely taken in by this cult like following of Black Roses and he sneaks in and attempts to pour gasoline on the stage before being spotted by Damien. Now time for the final showdown, Damien transforms into his demon form and the forces of good and evil clash in a fist fight of sorts pitting man against man in rubber monster suit. After a short brawl Moorehouse ignites some dynamite and flees the auditorium with Julie who apparently is still alive after her fight with Moorehouse, And the moment Damien is up in flames it seems his spell is broken as all the kids freak out and run to safety. As the school burns to the ground we see many of the students asking what happened to their parents as they appear to have no recollection of the happenings while under Damien's spell. Fast forward 6 months and a news cast appears on T.V. stating that Black Roses has returned and are now touring New York then off to England for a World Tour. So it appears the Butt Metal Bloodshed is not over as the credits roll.

So, As far as the Heavy metal Sub - Genre of Horror is concerned Black Roses is certainly one of the better entries to the category, that's still not saying much. I do feel that Slumber Party massacre 2 is the best , this one is surely the flagship film of it's type focusing more on the Metal aspect than SPM2. This flick is kinda light on gore but it is a fun ride and a entertaining flick even for just a few laughs. If you are a metal head I really think this film is worth seeking out as it is pretty hilarious and portrays the 80's Hair Metal culture perfectly. The acting is corny, The cast and dialog is cheesy as is the music and the fashion is just plain awesome,Plus the make up effects are hilarious, especially Damien in demon form in the end which is obviously just a guy in a rubber suit.That scene alone will make you crack up.This film epitomizes the MTV generation , well at least the original MTV generation , You know the ones that remember the channel actually only showing music videos. If you remember fondly watching bands like WASP,Stryker,Sinderella ,Iron Maiden and the likes and are looking for a flick to just pass some time and share some chuckles with some metal head friends over some brews this is the perfect film for you. Black Roses is nowhere near one of my favorites but it is memorable for it's cheese and I love it for that. Do not go into this hoping for a gore fest or anything serious and you should have a blast watching this one. I have seen it several times in my years watching corny horror flicks and you can't get much cheesier than this. Also this is a huge improvement over the directors first film "Rock N'Roll Nightmare" although that flick was fun too. If you want some headbanging with your decapitations check this one out because it is not often you come across a Heavy metal Horror flick that is even worth watching as most of the films in this small niche are just awful at least this one has it's charm and for a film like this that goes along way.

Fun Factor:5
Overall:4.5 out of 10

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