Hard Rock Zombies – USA, 1984

‘You can’t keep a good band down’

Hard Rock Zombies is a 1985 American comedy horror feature film directed by Krishna Shah from a screenplay co-written with David Allen Ball. The movie stars E.J. Curse, Geno Andrews, Sam Mann, Mick McMains, Lisa Toothman, Jennifer Coe, Ted Wells, and Jack Bliesener.

In the small town of Grand Guignol, four members of a rock band are electrocuted to death by a bizarre woman and her strange family. Knowing that their fans are dying to see them, none of the band members is about to let a stupid thing like death stop them from putting on their concert, so they rise from the grave and give the greatest concert of their lives…

Reviews:

” …the film never takes itself very seriously, which is good, because there’s nothing about it that anyone could ever take seriously. But there’s no relevant theme to the film at all, because Shah jumps all over the place; the town of Grand Guignol (very subtle) has werewolves and Nazis and Hitler and zombies and demons, all at once, and it’s so oddball and wacky that it’s tough to concentrate on the real plot of the story.” Ryne Barber, Horror News

“Its title only describes a small portion of the plot, a bit of a misdirection play that belies the madness within. Though at times it fits within the hard rock horror cycle, to find an analogue for Hard Rock Zombies requires you to look one or more decades past its 1985 release, when its aesthetic pastiche and non-sequitur humor would fully come into vogue.” David Carter, Not Coming to a Theater Near You

” …like an extended drum solo, there’s lots of unnecessary padding. But it’s not just filler with no killer. It’s an entertaining mess which culminates in all the zombified characters (pretty much everyone in the film) dancing and rocking out together. It’s also a nice remnant of an era when people took themselves just a little less seriously and amps went all the way up to 11.” Really Awful Movies

“Effectively a feature-length music video, it is entirely possible that Hard Rock Zombies could be held up as a triumph in non-sequential art, except that most of it will just leave you wondering what the hell is going on. We’d never be so irresponsible as to suggest that this film is best enjoyed under the influence, but it might help. A historical curiosity only, when people make fun of the 1980s, it is because of films like this.” Richard Gray, The Reel Bits

“The height of hilarity here are a town called Grand Guignol (Ho, ho), a cute Psycho shower scene gag, and a Satanic musical finale (is that the dreaded ‘Tri-tone’ being played?) that is kinda amusing but not as much as it should be […] with the Metal vs. Morality debate stuff being especially pointless here. I get what it’s a reference to but it takes forever for it to be even remotely integrated into the main plot.” Ryan McDonald, Shameless Self Expression

“The sort of film where someone asks a severed head “Omigawd! Are you all right?” the music (by Paul Sabu) might have redeemed it, but every time they break for a song it’s soft rock at best and miles from grit yer teeth metal. A complete mess, but bizarre enough to lodge itself in the unsuspecting mind.” Graeme Clark, The Spinning Image

” …one of those movies that’s so bad it’s good… or almost good in this particular case, because it has a fatal flaw. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and the creators obviously knew they were making an incredibly goofy movie (with a werewolf grandma, midgets, zombies, and Hitler, how could they not?), and this sense of fun greatly helps the movie along.” Steve Miller, Terror Titans

Hard Rock Zombies is a blatantly stupid movie that is so cheesy that it’s hard to actually enjoy. At least with Troma movies, there’s a tongue in cheek campiness that makes them fun, but here the jokes are so desperate that they make Troma seem dignified. I mean you know you’re in trouble when the main villain is revealed to be Adolf Hitler.” Mitch Lovell, The Video Vacuum

“The plot is slight and the thrills driven by adolescent concerns, but the variations on the usual zombie motifs are more innovative than in most of the camp zombie flicks to follow over the next decade. Strange moments abound, such as a zombie dwarf who, through the course of the movie, devours himself entirely go nothingness.” Peter Dendle, The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, McFarland

Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

“Sadly death doesn’t improve middle-of-the-road rocking.” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

Main cast and characters:

  • E.J. Curse as Jessie
  • Geno Andrews
  • Sam Mann as Bobby
  • Mick McMains
  • Lisa Toothman as Elsa
  • Jennifer Coe as Cassie
  • Ted Wells as Ron
  • Jack Bliesener as Hitler
  • Richard Vidan as Sheriff
  • Phil Fondacaro as Mickey – Bordello of Blood; Night Angel; Ghoulies II
  • Crystal Shaw Martell as Mrs. Buff
  • Vincent De Stefano as Olaf
  • Gary Friedkin as Buckey
  • Christopher Perkins as Christian
  • Michael David Simms as Don Matson
  • Nadia as Eva
  • Susan Prevatte as Wolf Lady
  • Emmanuel Shipov as Grandfather
  • Stacy Stockman as Lu-Ann
  • David O’Hara as Ed
  • Jonathan King as Red
  • Donald Moran as Ted
  • David Schroeder as Cassie’s Father
  • John Drake as Old Man / Ancient Man
  • Maria Porter as Maria
  • John Fleck as Arnold

Soundtrack:

Having been previously releasefd in France in 1984 by Frema/Ariola, the Hard Rock Zombies soundtrack score by Paul Sabu was remastered and issued on limited edition vinyl and cassette by Lunaris Records in August 2018.


Release:

The film was released in the USA by Cannon Film Distributors on September 1985.

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Categories: 1980s, cheesy horror, comedy horror, musician, rock band, rural horror, werewolf, zombie

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