Title: Black Roses (1988)
Director: John Fasano
So during the mid eighties, when heavy metal was at its peak, and a couple of years before Nirvana and grunge music came to destroy its reign of terror, a couple of heavey metal themed horror movies appeared on the scene. I can remember only a couple of them: Trick or Treat (1986), which starred Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne. There was Rocktober Blood (1984) which I have never seen, and last but not least: Rock and Roll Nightmare (1987). Now, for those of you who haven’t had the hilarious experience of watching Rock and Roll Nightmare, I heartily recommend it, but only if you are in the mood for watching a hilariously bad b-movie. And by bad, I mean TROLL II levels of badness. It’s the kind of movie that is so bad, you can’t stop watching. Rock and Roll Nightmare had something to do with a heavy metal band that tried tricking Satan so they could destroy him or something. John Fasano, the films director followed that fine piece of filmmaking with another heavy metal themed horror film called Black Roses, the film I will be reviewing today. How was it?
This movie is all about a heavy metal band called Black Roses. They decide to invade a small suburban town filled with a bunch of conservative brain deads. The kind of people who think listening to a band like KISS will get you possessed by demons or something, Which of course is a completely ludicrous idea. Maybe you’ll get possessed by the demon of cheesy rock and roll, but that’s about it. So anyhows, Black Roses is playing their first show ever in this small ass town called Mill Basin. The band says they’ve never played outside of the studio, and that this will be their first live show, yet the movie opened with them playing a show somewhere! I guess that shows how much thought was put into the script. The parents are scared that listening to Black Roses and attending their rock shows will corrupt the youth of their town. Tell you the truth, the kids in this movie are so mind numbingly stupid that I would actually encourage the corruption of their souls a little bit. So anyways, the parents are hell bent on cancelling the show, but is it really necessary? Is Black Roses a Satanic heavy metal band? Should the parents be worried?
So basically, this is like the Heavy Metal version of Footloose. You remember how in Footloose, the young high school kids wanted to fight for their right to party? Well, on this film the kids are fighting for their right to Rock and Roll. The school holds a PTA meeting in which they read the lyrics to Black Roses songs out loud and decided that they don’t want the youth of Mill Basin exposed to this band. So what do the parents do? They attend the concert to see what Black Roses are all about, just to make sure. So, knowing that the parents are in attendance, the band plays one of their pussy love songs to make the parents believe they are not all that bad. So before the first song is even finished, the parents decide to leave because the band appears to be harmless. Seconds after the parents leave and the doors close behind them the band turns of the lights and the heavy metal begins! Little by little, Damian (that’s the lead singers name!) begins to take over the minds of the kids, and he gets them to do all sorts of evil things like tipping over garbage cans, and making out on the streets. By this point I was laughing like a mad man cause I was thinking “this is the worst that these kids could do?” and then I started having flashbacks of Spider Man 3, when Peter Parker turns emo. At one point the kids are out doing some pranks, and one of them decides they want to “paint the town red” so he goes and gets a can of red paint. Like I said, stupid freaking kids!
"Go out there and turn over some thrash cans! NOW!"
So this movie does something weird. When you look at it, it feels like it’s a movie pro-heavy metal. It feels at first as if it was a movie that was defending the right to party, and defending the right to hear your favorite metal gods. Its that kind of 80’s movie where teenagers turn agains their parents, and all parents are old out dated assholes that you have to hate. We don’t see many movies like these getting made anymore, but back in the 80’s it was all about parent hating. Just look at Breaking (1984) or Footloose (1984). If you were a teenager watching this movie, and you loved Heavy Metal, you are supposed to be siding with the kids, cause dammit, it’s true. Heavy Metal isn’t evil! But then the movie does a 180 on you and turns out the band is evil! The Black Roses are actually demons looking to take over the kids minds like some sort of crazy cult! So suddenly, according to the film, the parents were right all along, Heavy Metal is evil! It brings demons into your house! So the movie kind of turns against it’s target audience that way.
So the band is demonic, and at certain points in their concert, they actually transform into demons! One part has the lead singer transforming random people in the audience into skeletons! On another scene he turns them into purple zombies! Yup, you read that right! Purple freaking zombies! One scene has a father (Vincent Pastore) trying to turn off the stereo system which is playing a Black Roses album, but it just wont turn off! And suddenly, a creature pops out of the speakers and attacks him! Weird thing is the creature looks like nothing more than a bad hand puppet, and it shows. This was one of my main gripes with this movie, the creatures are so silly looking. This movie turns into a movie about people fighting really cheesy looking puppets and guys in suits.
Vincent Pastore, demon slayer!
And what about the band? It’s hilarious! The guys look about as evil as the dudes from Poison! Makes you wonder how much money these demons were spending on hairspray. According to the film, Black Roses is supposed to be the biggest thing in the world, a band of Guns and Roses proportions, yet they decide to do their first show in the armpit of the universe? Goofiest part is, they play inside of the school! And apparently, the band is playing every day of the week! Then, the band goes from playing highschools, to instantly playing at the Madison Square Garden! I guess they did sign a deal with the devil to get that kind of fame so quickly.
In compliance with 80’s horror movie rule #4589 there are a lot of naked chicks on this movie. There is this one really random sequence that has a girl caressing her boobs for what seemed like forever! They don’t even show the actresses face, they just focus on her cleavage as she strokes it for minutes on end, then she proceeds to go out of her room and kill her dad with an ashtray! That’s the kind of movie this is ladies and gentlemen! The kids evil acts begin to escalate in nature until at one point, the teachers pet tries to give the teacher a blow job! When he refuses, she transforms into a cheesy puppet creature! And then the teacher tries to fight it off with a tennis racket! Like I said, this is a movie with people fighting puppets. It is kind of hilarious to see the actors going for it, trying to believe they are fighting a real thing and not some lousy, low budget hand puppet. And speaking of the actors, some of the them look like they are reading their lines from a card board! To top things off, the teenagers are played by actors who are obviously NOT teenagers!
But you guys know me, I do find enjoyment in low budget b-movies like these, they have this ability to lighten up my day. I might be going through whatever, popping one of these bad movies in my dvd player will get me laughing in no time. So if you are ever in the mood one of those days, and you want to relive just how cheesy and silly 80’s hair bands were, you should have no problem seeing Black Roses. Make no mistake about it, this is a badly made film, with terrible acting and effects, but is it worth a watch for a giggle or two? Sure why the hell not.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5