SHOCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE

Posted on Mar 27, 2013 in 80's Horror, All Reviews, Featured, Surprisingly Good | 1 comment

Shock Em DeadMuch like Pat Boone was in 1997, I have been in a metal mood, and recently meeting Lita Ford just turned it up to 11.

Followers of my insane ramblings will surely know by now that I was self-fed a steady audio diet of hair metal as a young teen. That germinated into a death metal phase in my late teens, which then transformed into Nick Cave worship in my twenties. Now that I am in my mid-thirties I find myself drawn back to the music I loved as a thirteen-year-old aspiring vandal. There is something so fantastic about the 80’s hair metal era and the stadium-packing mania that came with it. It was rock n’ roll at its most decadent: filled with sex, drugs and hairspray. It was the most fun music has ever been, and it’s sad to me that the one long suicide note of alternative rock came in and ruined everything by September of 1991.

All we have now are the golden records of yesteryear: the pounding anthems of Def Leppard, the sex-crazed rollercoaster of Motley Crue’s hits, and the untouchable awesomeness juggernaut we call Judas Priest. Sure, we’ve still got our Bullet Boys and Danger Danger cassettes, but now they’re played on the “classic” rock station. But we still have the memories, still have the songs that our wives have helped us convert to MP3s (in my case, anyway), and we still have the occasional B-movie from that bygone era that aptly showcases all the liquid eyeliner, dry ice, and topless babes that made hair metal the rainbow in the dark we so fondly remember.

SHOCK ‘EM DEAD (1990)

Michael Martin is one lame bastard.

Picture Clark Kent with no cool alter ego. Now also imagine that he’s a self-centered assbag too. He is also a terrible guitar player, and is called out on it when he auditions for a really homo garage band called SPASTIC COLON.

Seriously, that’s the name of the band.

Pissed to have lost his job as a pizza artist just to flunk out of the band, Michael visits the neighborhood voodoo priestess; a bag lady that looks like Martin Lawrence in drag (remember Shanaynay?)

The voodoo priestess makes a deal with him. He wants to be a rock legend, and she wants his soul. Done and done. Please rate this seller and your transaction! Michael enters a dream world where a demon with a double-headed guitar serenades him with the help of two leather-bound biker bitches. It is all so much like my pubescent dreams it is scary.

 

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Did I mention that pretentious guitar aficionado Michael Angelo Batio of the hilarious hair band Nitro plays the demon?

 

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Note: yes, this was a real band back then. Can you believe people allowed this happen?

 

Anyway,…Michael sells his soul for rock n’ roll! He goes from Urkel to Nikki Sixx overnight! So metal!

He wakes up with huge hair, eyeliner on, and in the embrace of a waterbed  (a sure sign of rock godliness). He is in his new “pimping” pad (complete with rental-white walls) and his own, personal, lingerie-clad sluts greet him.

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After slapping their boobs around a bit, he realizes he is no longer just Michael. He is now Angel. Angel Martin, the devil’s gift to metal.

He returns to the garage where Spastic Colon is barfing out their song “Virgin Girl”, which sounds more suitable to Madonna than a metal band. He wows them with his hand-flippin’, electric pickin’ guitar skills. He is now the greatest guitar player in the world but for some reason he still wants to play with these nobodies. Okay. Fine. Whatever. Who needs a world tour when you can play in a garage band? Some deal with the devil this is.

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Angel quickly discovers that normal food will kill him, and as his concubine informs him, he, like them, is now a marauding ghoul. He must join them in sucking the life force out of the living in order to stay alive.

This life force is basically neon green light. Everything is always neon green light in these movies.

Angel also meets his band mate’s fiancé, Lindsay (former underage porn-star Traci Lords). Obviously he falls madly in love with her, as she is the only person in the movie who dresses normally (well, normal in that 90’s girl, Blossom hat kind of way). But in order to obtain her he has to do a ritual that sounds like the voodoo priestess just makes up as she goes along.

Angel gets petty revenge on the people who bullied him before he had such big hair, and he sucks a few souls to keep himself juiced. He also enjoys his subscription to Cooking Light.

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The band gets a gig at the Pumpkin Dance or something, which apparently is managed by Squiggy from Lavern & Shirley. The lead singer of the band, Johnny Crack (seriously), shoots up and dresses as a gay pirate before the show, only to be tripped and upstaged by the spotlight hog that is Angel.

Angel steals all the thunder and begins to sing his own version of “Virgin girl”, followed by a monster ballad:

“My baby’s slept with half the town…. I’m in love with a slut.”

No shit. She’s Traci Lords, dude.

 

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The band becomes a smash hit, especially after Angel kills Johnny, and a record producer who looks like Ric Flair signs them. These producers clearly know good music too; just listen to the rap they like when you deign to watching this film.

Angel gets everything he wanted, except Lindsay. She plays hard to get, causing him to try the enchantment ritual on stage in front of a bunch of unsuspecting dildos. Nothing wins a woman over like being tied down in a kiddy pool while a metalhead barfs lime green goop and plays guitar for her, right?

Great quote from the film: “There’s a snake in the hot tub. Bring that too!”

 

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The finale is a battle of mediocre good and laughably evil in this downright silly romp that barely qualifies as horror but is certainly bad movie pay dirt. A little food concentrate turns out to be Angel’s holy water, but can he be stopped in time to save Lindsay and her Blossom hat?!?!

 

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FINAL THOUGHTS

 

From the moment the cheap video credits spin onto the screen and you hear “Purple Haze” being sodomized, you know you’re in for a shit-show. Shock ‘Em Dead is an enormously flawed film, from its awkward juxtaposition, to its wretched acting, to its downright stupid storyline. But it serves as a time capsule for 1990, which was the tail end of the hair metal era. Also, it is so bad it is completely and utterly hilarious. The massive hair, the lame music, the cheesy effects, and all those outfits that put Cool As Ice and Twin Sitters to shame, make for one hell of a good time.

One big storytelling flaw here though is that the film follows Michael as he transforms into Angel. He is the protagonist, but also the villain, making us unsure whom to root for here. We could root for Lindsay, but she is totally under-developed. She is merely Angel’s interest, and she has very few scenes that don’t revolve around him.

Nitro’s own Michael Angelo Batio plays the metal demon, and does all the actually fancy guitar playing in the film. For more on this glorious douchebag, check out this actual video from his band:

 

 

All in all, Shock ‘Em Dead, despite itself, is enormously entertaining. It gave the wife and I a lot of laughs when we watched it. Granted, she has been high on Oxycodone since she broke her wrist, but its still funny nonetheless.

While the flick fails in the blood and guts department, it revels in gratuitous boob shots, giving you some double-D delight at six minutes in, and getting every woman in the movie to take her top off (except Lords… sigh).

RATING: 3.5 OUT OF 5. Too hysterical to stay mad at.

CHICK OF THE LITTER: Traci Lords. Duh.

 

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BARTENDER’S NOTES

 

Left Hand has got the perfect brew to pair with this metal meltdown. They have come out with a new Milk Stout. As a big fan of their original milk stout, I had to pick up the new Nitro infused one. There’s a right and wrong way to go at serving it up. Pop that top and pour it hard. Don’t worry it. Shotgun it like a man and enjoy! It goes down smooth and easy (maybe a little too easy).

 

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The flavor is like that of a sweet Guinness. The head fades quickly but the taste stays full and rich, hinting at dark creams and brownies. We liked it so much we shouted out loud about it in our January 20th roundup. We also have bought it several times now and plan to buy it again.

And with a name like Nitro, you can’t go wrong. Right, Michael?

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One Comment

  1. Great review, thanks! I was one of the writers of this game changer– AND the clerk who sold the boyfriend the food concentrate. Considering all the forgettable crap in the Horror section of Netflix these days, we love finding all the “guilty pleasure” reviews we find on our little piece of crap. You might be interested to know we’re currently shopping the sequel. Anyway, seriously, thanks!

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