Hard Rock Zombies (1984) 1 brain

Many people remember the 80's fondly. If you want a refresher course in some things about the 80's that sucked, namely, cheesy hair bands, power ballads, and goofy dances, watch Hard Rock Zombies. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention over-the-top movie characters and inane plotlines. The combination of all these things provoked a combination of cringing and laughter, but the derisive kind of laughter, not the amused kind.

A hair band of indeterminate status (small enough to be looking for a big break, but big enough to have screaming girls beating down their backstage door) goes into a rural town for a gig despite the warnings of a mysterious young girl, Cassie (Jennifer Coe). The lead singer, Jessie (E. J. Curse), is fascinated with the girl, despite the fact that she's a teen and he probably has a good ten years on her. We know that he's aware of her age, because he mentions it in the song he writes about her, which we have to hear three times, at least.

That's not the only song they torture us with. In fact, a lot of the movie feels like a music video. When the band first arrives in town, we are treated to them gallivanting about town in their innocent, carefree way (to song), while the conservative, long-hair--hating townspeople look askance. Fortunately for the band, they are taken in by a local German family. Unfortunately for the band, the German family is actually made up of assorted Nazis, werewolves, psychotics, and little people, or some combination thereof. The band comes to an unpleasant end.

However, Jessie has recorded a Latin chant that will raise the dead, set to a modern bass line. Cassie plays the recording, and the band comes back to avenge themselves and to play one final gig. The movie could still have redeemed itself, but it was not to be. Whenever the band is onscreen, we hear the bass line that raised them, and apparently they hear it, too, because they're dancing to it. Only I don't know if you can call it dancing. It's hard to describe, but the 80's dance that most closely resembles it is the Robot. They do this everywhere, and it looks ridiculous.

When they got to their gig, I was hoping that becoming zombies would at least have affected their performance, making them drop off digits while strumming their guitars, or sing in a guttural croak. But no, they sing the damn power ballad again, just like normal.

In the process of exacting their revenge, the band generates more zombies (although in this movie they're called "ghouls"), and the townspeople have to fight to survive. The townspeople were another thing that made me cringe. In the style of screwball 80's comedies, they were total caricatures of real people, spouting nonsense and behaving like idiots.

This movie was extremely silly, and it did make me laugh. If you are looking for something to ridicule, and can find it, give it a look. If you didn't grow up during the 80's it may just leave you scratching your head. Either way, don't expect anything actually good.