Upon contemplating my next list, it was quickly apparent to me that there wasn’t much in he way of horror lists involving fictional rock bands / performers as the centerpiece. Not so much real artists like Kiss (though I’ve still included it), or Dee Snider, but horror films centered around the rock act as the main horror antagonist. “Trick or Treat” being a perfect example. Now the usage of the word “top” is rather subjective as several of these films are really more on the cheesy side of horror than anything. Though they do fit the criteria which is the theme of this list. Movies like “From Dust Till Dawn” although also showing a vampire rock band was not really the theme of the film (horror per rock act).”Wild Zero” is a known rock horror film, though the band was not the horror element as it was the world around them. You’ll notice that a few originated during the metal years of the 80’s which is not surprising. Some are damn hard to track down, and others WERE but have been re-released into DVD form (thanks Synapse)
01 – Trick or Treat (1986)
What I consider to be the king of these style films. Sammi Curr was so bad ass that I think we actually believed he WAS a rock performer (music by Fastway, Curr being a professional dancer/actor). Still to this day, whether dated or not, I find this a gem among rock horror. The soundtrack by the way went on to become one of Fastway’s more popular releases to date. Trick or Treat centers on outcast Eddie Weinbauer who has acquired the only copy of Curr’s last release. Though while playing it, it releases Curr as a demon set on assisting Weinbauer in bringing down his classmates and the town they live in.
02- Queen of the Damned (2002)
It’s funny because there are so many that simply hate this film. Maybe due to the “Interview with a Vampire” lineage being coveted and particular. Though I have to say this is a great rock and roll film. The soundtrack was a hands down keeper with a rich variety of music artists. Even with all the recording artists involved it was still presented as a rock n roll movie with Stuart Townsend playing the role of vampire Lestat. The movie is a modern take on Lestat awakening to become a major rock performer and public “rock n roll icon. It actually sounds cheesier than it really is and like the film “Eddie and the Cruisers” is somewhat believable in performance. The film was noted with its one and only performance by Aaliyah, who died shortly after.
03- Shock em Dead (1991)
Ya, there is a reason this one is still hard to find. It’s not that great of film. However it gets kudos for some of the best guitar licks on screen in a rock and roll horror film. Satan at the film’s end was played by virtuoso Michael Angelo (Mike Batio), who is known for his double necked (and quadrupled neck )guitar. You have to laugh at the scenery, though the guitar riffs were still smoking. An earlier scene shows a close up of another guitar player’s hands who was also a Shrapnel records recording artist (David Celentano). Love to hate, hate to love, it’s got Traci Lords in it, so that can’t be all bad
Angel Martin (Stephen Quadros) has just made the deal of a lifetime. Fame, fortune and beautiful women will all be his – for a price. To become a rock star Martin must give his soul, and to survive he must feed on the souls of others. But Angel wants to possess more than just the soul of the woman of his dreams.
04- Black Roses (1988)
1980’s, you have to remember this short lived rock gem that has achieved cult status among the heavy metal crowd. Black roses is a rock band comprised of demons turning those who listen to them into demons. I think they were tying to send us a message…listening to metal music will turn your kids into monsters….I’m just saying. Parents probably loved that aspect, but regardless it’s a cool cheese filled metal monster horror movie. Synapse revived this one later on bringing it once again to the screens per DVD Wiki has this to say: Most of the music for the band “Black Roses” was performed by the members of King Kobra, with Mark Free on vocals, and Carmine Appice on drums.
05- Neowolf (2010)
Werewolves and rock music. An interesting combo that takes a que from the “Lost Boys” camp. The movie had some great music within that really helped to sell the concept. Their is some obvious play on marketing to a younger audience, though NeoWolf still contains plenty of tasty Werewolf attacks. Rock band films that revolve around horror are far and few between, though this one left enough impression on me to qualify.
06- Rock n Roll Nightmare (1987)
Now if this cover doesn’t suggest 80’s, I don’t know what does. The band Triton headed by heavy metal musician Jon Mikl Thor stirs up demons leading the band and it’s lead singer John to battle Satan. Even with its obvious cheesy premise, it has gone on to a certain cult status as one of the earlier rock n roll horror films.
07- Suck (2009)
Easily the better film of this batch, Suck is a great comedic vampire-laced horror movie featuring the lead singer (Dimitri Coats) from the band “Burning Brides” playing a rather eerie looking fanger. There are plenty of real rock star cameos, but beyond that, this film is an essential rock and roll horror film and stand alone favorite of mine.
08- KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978)
To be honest, I never could make the connection with this being a horror film as it seemed too Brady Bunch for the genre. Though it is one of the classic 70’s TV movies promoted as a heavy metal horror genre release. It features a real band as a fictional band (KISS), which in the case of the film is fictional but of course is based off of the assumed characters of the musicians themselves. I think if the term campy needed an image in the dictionary , this movie would fit the bill. Am I the only one who feels that this could be a Sid and Mary Krofft series??
The tale of rock band KISS and their efforts to thwart a diabolical plan by mad scientist Abner Devereaux. Devereaux has found a way to clone humans into robots in his laboratory at an amusement park. It just so happens that he plans to uses the KISS concert as a platform to unleash his plan on the world. KISS must use their special powers to stop him
09- Rocktober Blood (1984)
A crazed rock singer returns from the dead to murder members of his former band.
An earlier rock and roll horror film that remains hard to find out of its VHS shell. Billy Eye (Tray Loren) goes crazy killing off his studio mates. The lead singer of Rocktober Blood who helped put him away finds herself dealing with Billy 2 years later. Murder, music and mayhem!
10-Slaughterhouse Rock (1988)
A man visits Alcatraz prison after having dreams about all the people who died there. When he gets there, his brother is possessed by an evil cannibal demon. The ghost of a female heavy metal singer who was killed there tries to help the man fight the monster.
By description alone, yunno this is for rock n rollers only. This film is barley remembered and as a release and “also” hard to find. Another product of 80’s metal influence. It would be nice to see a few of these return from the grave. This one actually starred Toni Basil and featured music by Devo. It’s gotta be a classic right?
American Satan (2017)
A very cool film with a great soundtrack, performance and score. Intentionally campy at times, I believe this underrated gem was one that really flew under the radar that deserves more acknowledgement. Directed by Ash Avildsen, this one stars Andy Biersack as Johnny Faust (and actual lead singer of the “Black Veil Brides”)
Strangely enough, while Andy does the performances, the director had him lip sync over tracks per Remington Leith of the band Palaye Royale. This was later revealed as due to Remington Leith having the style of singing voice he envisioned for the films tracks. None the less, check this one out….one to own for sure!
Top 10 Rock ‘n Roll Horror Movies