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Hard Rock Zombies (requested)

On paper, in the 80's, Hard Rock Zombies (HRZ) probably read like a really good idea: A metal band is murdered by Nazi hillbillies only to be resurrected as zombies who feel compelled to perform at their "big show". To signify their zombification, the makeup department was kind enough to dress them like Kiss. This, perhaps, is some sort of commentary on Kiss' commercialization or on how their fans seem like mindless zombies... I assume its best not to think too much about it. Anyway. After returning from the grave, all hell breaks loose and everyone is killed. Roll credits.

Slight interjection here - wherever this backwoods hobo town is, it seems to have a lot of palm trees and California looking desert in it.

Some movies are just bad. Some movies are so bad that they become beloved. Typically, the deciding factor in bad movies being forgotten or becoming cult favorites is how seriously the movie takes itself. Unfortunately for HRZ, and for those of us who have had to watch it, they take themselves SO seriously it may be impossible for audiences to fall in love with it.

How bad is HRZ? This deservedly under-appreciated gem may be just be the long-lost cousin of Troll 2. More frighteningly, it seems HRZ may have inspired Troll 2.
  • Troll 2 has a town that inexplicably hates meat, HRZ has a town that hates rock n roll.
  • Both movies feature a bizarre town meeting scenario.
  • Troll 2 has a killer witch and HRZ has some sort of Nazi werewolf lady.
  • I'm fairly certain both movies have some weird dance scene. 
The fact that people have come to embrace Troll 2 as a beloved cult favorite, the "best worst movie", and HRZ has slipped into obscurity, can only be attributed to how clearly comical we read Troll 2 to be.

I think there would be more room to love HRZ were there not so many moments that remind us of other (better) absurd movies, making us think HRZ thinks of itself as a good movie:
  • There is an uncomfortable dinner scene that seems borrowed from the Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • There is a Texas Chainsaw Massacre moment where the band picks up this blonde, 80's metal slut hitchhiker who is clearly "weird".
  • One word. Thriller. There are so many choreographed zombie dances in this movie that I think it may have wanted to be Thriller.
  • And hey - remember that time you watched The Lost Boys and you laughed so hard you nearly peed yourself because the 80's movie world is littered with some of the worst musical performances you have ever seen? Some terrible asshole decided it would be a great idea to let the worst make believe band of all time play through MANY of their songs IN THEIR ENTIRETY, because if part of one song is funny, all of a lot of songs will be funnier - right?

During the band's zombie performance of their love song to the young fan the singer is in love with, I kept thinking of Lydia telling Barbara, "I want to be dead, too". Maybe it's because I'm drunk right now, but I think this moment might actually be... romantic.

Also, before I let this point go entirely, who thought it was a good idea to make the love interest a 15 year old and have the leading man be at least 2.5 times her age? Were there really no more 20-somethings available (since there were at least 10 others kicking around the movie) to fill her role?

If none of this review so far has convinced you what a strange train wreck this movie is, wait until you get to the end where the zombie midget manservant tries to eat a cow. Seriously.

That leads us right into the final zombie battle in which the blonde 80's metal slut dances around (sexily?) in the middle of the street while the townspeople try to "scare away" the zombies with giant print outs of famous musician's faces.

I'm definitely not the first person to try and muddle through what the fuck is going on in this movie and I'll tell you something else: I'm not nearly drunk enough to make sense of it.

Watch it if: you're craving a love story between a rock star and an underage fan.

Watch the trailer here, if you dare!


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