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John’s Horror Corner: Black Roses (1988), Rock and Roll demons and killer Muppets tempt small town teens.

November 20, 2018

MY CALL: This is more on the silly side of horror—but sometimes silly is exactly what we want. Complete with fun rubber demons, evil Muppets, gratuitous nudity and rock music-induced murder, this is a solid B-movie choice. MORE MOVIES LIKE Black Roses: For more evil rock and roll or heavy metal-related movies (in theme, story or plot-device), try Deathgasm (2015), The Devil’s Candy (2015), Jennifer’s Body (2009), Queen of the Damned (2002), Trick or Treat (1986), The Gate (1987), Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987), Hard Rock Zombies (1985) and Rocktober Blood (1984).

From its very outset I’m not so sure what to make of this obscure 80s gem (in terms of tone). The opening scene depicts monstrous zombie-like demons playing a rock and roll concert. The lead singer (Sal Viviano; The Jitters) somewhat resembles the creature from The Terror Within (1989) with feathered 80s rocker hair, the guitarist (Frank Dietz; Zombie Nightmare, Tales of Halloween) resembles a sort of goblin zombie, and the others are just crusty chunky-latex zombie dudes. I’d like to see Rawhead Rex (1986) in the mosh pit!

This rock band (Black Roses) is on tour and bringing a small town its first ever rock concert, which has teenagers intrigued and parents in furious boycotting mode. With increased exposure to the Black Roses’ music, the local teenagers become more criminally delinquent and diabolically amorous.

I feel like more effort went into the rock songs than the special effects (although both were enjoyable). A hokey, very low budget, generally PG-13 vibe persists as we are introduced to a clumsy hand-puppeteered demon that gorelessly swallows a parent into a stereo speaker and students are rock and rolled into rubber zombie muppets. Although for its weakness in violence (i.e., early in the film), I was surprised by the abundant nudity—being by far the most mature aspect of the movie.

But everything starts to feel more “R-rated” later on as students are seducing adults, slitting their throats and bloodily bludgeoning them to death. The best scene had to be when a girl is seducing her teacher and turns into a gangly long-necked rubber demon (I’m reminded of Evil Dead 2’s Henrietta) which he fends off with a tennis racket. The lackluster finale culminates in a sort of King Koopa rubber-suited reptilian monster that is defeated by a swift kick in the balls and a rather unmenacingly small fire.

Director John Fasano (Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, The Jitters) delivers something far more silly than scary. The score (not the band’s music) is surprisingly light-hearted, almost something from a family or adventure film. It’s… playful and anything but dire until deep in the running time. This has the spunky appeal of Leprechaun (1993) and, honestly, I often enjoy that!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    November 22, 2018 5:36 am

    We all need some silly horror!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      November 23, 2018 3:45 pm

      After seeing this I went ahead and ordered a couple more 80s “evil rock music” horror flicks. 😉

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