Horror Movies And Heavy Metal – A Review of “Rocktober Blood”
Many fans of metal are also fans of horror movies. It’s a combination that goes great together. Like peanut butter and chocolate. So why hasn’t Hollywood made more of an effort to combine the two?
There are many factors that lead to this absence of metal in horror movies, but the most obvious one is that, by and large, the average person does not take heavy metal seriously. Many believe it is just a phase while others refer to it as “just noise.” If you’re reading this site, you probably know that’s not true. Take those generalizations and put it in Hollywood where most movies are created with the end goal of making money. While many of us might like to see a horror movie about a grind band taking on a bunch of mutant vampires with nothing but the power of beer and beards, it’s probably not going to happen. (Note to self: Make a kickstarter for Grind Bastards vs. Poser Vampires).
Honestly, have you ever found yourself thinking “Man, there really needs to be a movie about a heavy metal singer going around and murdering people”? Yeah, me either. Black metal fans, you’re the outlier. Unfortunately, that’s the cocaine-fueled 1980’s for you. The late 70’s and early 80’s saw a glut of slasher movies that quickly bled the genre dry. For every Freddy and Jason, you had a Crospey (The Burning) and The Driller Killer (Slumber Party Massacre). There’s only so many holiday-related horror movies you can do, so the slashers began to branch out into other pop culture scenarios at the time. We have slasher movies set around aerobics, malls, small towns, colleges and all sorts of other places. Thanks to the rise of MTV and the international attention of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement, it was only a matter of time before a slasher movie got it’s bloody mitts on this idea. Does it make sense? Not really, but it happened anyway.
Rocktober Blood is a 1984 B-movie slasher starring Donna Scoggins as Lynn Starling and Tray Loren (Gatorbait II, American Angels: Baptism Of Blood) as heavy metal singer Billy “Eye” Harper. After a recording session with the band, Lynn stays behind to work on some of her backing vocals. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Lynn goes upstairs to rest in a jacuzzi. At the same time, Billy returns to the studio and kills the engineer and his assistant. He tries to kill Lynn, but is stopped by security guards. We skip ahead two years later and Billy has been executed for the murders while Lynn has become the singer for his band, now named Headmistress. The band is about to embark on their “Rocktober Blood” tour when a man, claiming to be the deceased Billy Eye, begins stalking Lynn. He looks and sounds just like Billy and knows all about Lynn. It was Lynn who identified Billy in court and he is now back for revenge. She flees to a house in the woods but Billy pursues, killing her friends along the way and hiding the bodies so no one will believe her. Will Lynn survive long enough to play her debut show. Is Billy really back from the dead?
Rocktober Blood easily falls into the “so bad, it’s good” category. While the concept is a little strange for a horror movie, it’s actually the best thing about Rocktober Blood. The music is the best part of the entire movie. It’s sort of a mixture between Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, and Joan Jett. A real metal band named Sorcery put together the music, which was probably the best decision the filmmakers could have made. In a ridiculous movie like this, at least they didn’t skimp on the music. The band has an entertaining stage show, at least in the movie, similar to early Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper. Listen to that shred:
Of course, the rest of the movie is the epitome of terrible. The story is absurdly bare-bones with little in the way of thought, character development, and general believability. Why is the tour called “Rocktober Blood”? Because drugs, that’s why. For the movie’s plot to work, the police would have to completely and utterly ignore literally everything they learned in police academy. Little things like facts and evidence hold no sway over the movie. What, was Billy completely alone every time a murder was committed, thus allowing no one to give him an alibi? No one else knew that (***SPOILER ALERT***) Billy had a twin brother? Not his band, not the police, not his parents? No one noticed him actually killing people on stage?
The acting is certainly amateur-hour, ranging from oak to birch on the wooden scale. You’ll find yourself laughing as actors flatly recite lines that were probably written on a cocktail napkin. For example, there’s a scene where the killer calls Lynn and tells her, and I quote, “I want your hot, steaming pussy blood all over my face. Muahahahahaha!” The final fifteen minutes of the movie is just the concert itself, ending with one of the most ridiculous movie deaths ever. The film quality is terrible as multiple scenes are too dark and the dialogue is too quiet. I don’t think the film ever made it to DVD. If it did, it was a direct rip from VHS.
Despite being a slasher, there isn’t as much gore as you’d expect. Other than one beheading, I can’t recall a lot of blood in the movie. The violence is done on the cheap, but really, at this point in the review, were you expecting much else? In typical slasher fashion, there are a few scenes of unnecessary nudity. The movie does manage to give the villain a few good evil lines and I’m surprised bands haven’t taken advantage of it.
Rocktober Blood is the offspring of too many drugs and not enough ideas. To be fair, that was most of the 1970’s and 1980’s. The acting is terrible and the story would make an English professor weep. Common sense is thrown out the window as even the most basic of evidence is completely ignored in order to further the story. There are some good kills, but not as much as you’d think for a slasher in the 80’s. There are a few good one-liners and you’ll find yourself saying “rainbow eyes” for no apparent reason. The music in the movie is it’s one saving grace, thanks to the real heavy metal band Sorcery. Rocktober Blood is best watched with a group of friends ready to laugh. It’s so bad, it’s good.
Rocktober Blood is available in it’s entirety on Youtube.
For the month of October, I will be watching and reviewing heavy metal-related horror movies. If you have any suggestions or requests, please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you enjoyed this review, please check out 365daysofhorrormovies.blogspot.com. I watched and reviewed 1 horror movie every day for an entire year.