Monday, July 21, 2008

The Edge of Hell [aka Rock n' Roll Nightmare] (1987)

Caution: Spoilers Galore, Eh?

It all begins in an unassuming farmhouse, with a little boy whose mother really likes to "cook," followed by an extremely nauseating, Evil Dead-reminiscent lens romp through a series of rooms. Cut to a scene of a tricked-out van cruising the open road, blaring metal music (circa. 1987), and you have the beginnings of a beautiful relationship with Canadian B Cinema.

Complete with custom "DUCKER" plates! USA!

Like most other Canadian-made movies, John Fasano's The Edge of Hell (aka Rock n' Roll Nightmare) is decidedly ashamed of its Canadian-ness. In an effort not to alienate American money - I mean audiences, the film centres around a fictitious American metal band, the Tritons. Lead singer John Triton (played by the one and only Jon Mikl Thor, who also served as the film's head writer) and his comparatively less colourful collection of bandmates have journeyed into the wilds of Canada to record material for their next album. Why Canada? "'Cause Toronto's where it's happening, man!"

"In yon barn-like structure,
we have constructed
a 24-track recording studio!"

The adjacent farmhouse (coincidentally, the same one depicted in the foreboding opening scenes of the film) will serve as home for the plume-haired metalheads while they solidify their place in music history. They have brought along plenty of permed, spandex-clad hussies for the task at hand, which is to make kick ass rock n' roll! But then, something Satanic starts happening. Or, was that just a bad spot on the tape?

Definitely not the tape. A weird, penis-shaped cyclops creature pops up out of the darkness, throws up a little, then disappears back into his hiding place, as the Tritons wail: "We live to rock!" Something evil must be going on; how else could the Wonder Manager (Adam Fried), a guy in a graphic guitar print shirt, manage to score a hot piece of groupie ass like this?

Gee, gang. What do you think that was?

The Dream Team - I mean Triton, hears Wonder Manager screaming and rushes off to look for him. In spite of their best barn-searching efforts, they find no trace of their friend, or their van. Maybe he went into town to buy some new drumsticks? Mr. Triton ain't buying it. His spidey-senses are all a-tingle, though he isn't sure why. He can't be bothered to search any longer; he is anxious to get to his bedtime reading.

Meanwhile, one of Triton's bandmates, Max (David Lane), is telling the hot keyboardist chick (Jillian Peri) - who presents herself to him in her underwear - that he doesn't feel like staying up and talking with her because he is "really wiped out," and doesn't think he'd be very good company. Only in Canada, I suppose. The chap re-thinks his decision in the end, but falls asleep before he sees any action. Nice going, MC Smooth. In the next room, another bandmate and his wife are lying in the bed, kissing each other softly, while saying stomach-churningly romantic things. Bo-ring!

Luckily, Stig (Jim Cirile), the drummer with the poorly-executed Australian accent, is humping the stuffing out of Skanky Groupie # 4 in yet another of the farmhouse's rooms. When Bad Australian Accent Guy (BAAG) goes down to the kitchen for an after-Skank snack, a scantily-clad blonde with some jelly donut on her lips comes out of nowhere. This house really did come fully-stocked! The Seductress (Rusty Hamilton) invites BAAG to play a unique version of pull my finger, a game which he is simply dying to pass along to his hussy back in the bedroom.

While the Tritons are nestled all snug in their beds, a blue Chevette pulls up outside the farmhouse carrying (you guessed it): even more hussies! Cindy Connelly (Carrie Schiffler), President of the Mississauga Chapter of the Triton Fan Club, introduces herself to Wonder Manager, who has mysteriously re-appeared after his incident with the ghouly girl in the barn. "So, let's whip out those breasts, girls!" The ladies run back to their waiting Chevette, clearly unable to sink to the required depths of professional groupieism.

The next morning, the gushy newlyweds vanish from their post in the kitchen where they were happily doing dishes. Unaware of the bizarre events happening inside the farmhouse, John Triton is out in the barn making musical magic, and has has changed into a chest-baring, red silk tunic with white polka dots for the occasion. Stig's drumming is supernaturally good, but Triton, being the bloody band's namesake, takes full and deserved credit. Oh, baby. "You give me en-er-gy!"

It's a bold choice, but also an aluring one.

For those who like the ladies, the hot girl on keys is
not wearing a bra with her sky blue unitard.

After the jam, Stig: Upgraded takes a walk with his hussy while face-melting metal provides a musical interlude. Going immediately for the valuables, the hussy strips off her shirt while Stig (whose Bad Australian Accent is mysteriously gone) calls his little buddy to attention. Of course, when I say "little buddy," I really mean the giant, man-sized hand that erupts from a hole it tears in his chest.

Keyboard Girl and Quiet Guitar Guy are f-i-n-a-l-l-y getting it on inside the farmhouse, and pause for a moment when they hear a woman screaming. They dismiss it as merely Stig giving his hussy "what she deserves," and go back to the business of imitating a couple having exploratory intercourse.

Still strutting around in his fierce red silk number, Triton finally gives in to his own hussy's sexual advances. Like a true flaxon-haired Norwegian god, he takes his gettin' bizzy in the shower. It's wetter and better! A delightful, softcore music video/sex scene-o-rama plays itself out, consisting mostly of ass grabbing, titty-rubbing, and tongue-kissing. And they showed the woman in the scene a little bit, too.

Keys and Quiet have put their clothes back on while Triton steams up the shower, and are surprised when a little boy peeps in on them as they are smooching on the bed. It's the little boy (Jesse D'Angelo) from the opening scene! What a creepy little pervert! They chase him down into the basement only to discover that, really, he is more a flesh-eating monster than he is a little boy. Unfortunately, the realization comes too late, and it's curtains for the young lovers. When Triton and his hussy finally emerge from the shower, they eventually realize that they are alone in the farmhouse.

Triton decides to do a few dishes, and it's about time, as the kitchen is infested with strange, sharp-toothed vermin! The flaxon-haired god goes off to work on his music, while the little boy/monster boy pays the Final Hussy a visit upstairs. Presumably, it's curtains for her, too.

Now, back to Triton. As he strikes a hunky pose, slouched over his sheet music, the penis-shaped cyclops makes a triumphant return (in the midst of a brilliant product placement shot, I might add). Suddenly, the place is crawling with slimy, slobbering demons!

Triton's hussy re-joins him, but unfortunately, she's not the pretty lady she used to be...

"Nice effect, Randy. I like that look."

Little do the demons know that the hair metal hottie they see before them is actually none other than The Intercessor!! He is Triton the Archangel! Oh, man. I had no idea this flick was going to get Jesusy. "When will you ever learn?"

"It is the Creator's law that keeps you in place,
and yet you and your brethren still insist
on coming into this world."

A prolific battle between Good and Evil ensues, and The Intercessor's efforts are very Blackie Lawless, stylistically speaking. Thankfully, once The Intercessor's eyes start to glow, there is absolutely no stopping him. With the strength of ten flaxon-haired Norwegian gods, he chokes the demon into oblivion. The fate of all mankind (or at least the next people to rent the farmhouse) has been saved by metal. Again.

Rock n' Roll Nightmare is clearly and obviously not the sort of thing you want to reach for when you're in the mood for an actual horror picture. In fact, don't reach for it if you are in the mood for any kind of actual picture, at all. It is not an actual picture, but rather a cheesy, poorly-acted, absentee ballot-directed, incredulously-written, rotten piece of garbage. On the other hand, the one-liners are but-gusting, the setting is hilarity-inducing, the effects are guffaw-rendering, and Jon Mikl Thor is truly awe-inspiring.

Oh, and did I mention the soundtrack?

1/5 Kitty Skulls = Somebody should have turned the hose on this movie's parents.


5/5 Intercessors, for it's sheer Intercesserousness!


Be sure to check out your once-stop source for all things JMT, Thor Central. There are lots of tasty treats up for grabs, including (but not limited to):

Thor Photo Gallery (including shots from the 1974 Mr. Canada competition)
Thor Movies (including a sequel to The Edge of Hell/RNR Nightmare)
Thor Music (all the music in The Edge of Hell/RNR Nightmare? All Thor, baby)
Thor Interview (the man himself chatting about the movie, and The Intercessor)
The Intercessor (he has his own movie. Oh, yes)


Tenebrous Kate said...

I have a pants-wettening desire to see this film, but now I only want to see it with YOUR expert commentary! Is it a Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare... or Beautiful Dream? Hmmmmm...

Kitty LeClaw said...

Kate: You must know, I thought of you a lot while I was watching/enjoying this. I could almost *taste* the collective, would-be enjoyment in the Apartment of Erotic Horror.

It's like Jon Mikl Thor is singing only to YOU. I'm pretty sure I need to upload the last 5 minutes of this badboy to YouTube, and include as an addendum here.

Tenebrous Kate said...

You know, the Baron and I COULD be convinced to host you at the AoEH, provided you promised to bring this film with you. I will even hold off on viewing your YouTube offering in antici... PATION of a Kitty visit ;)

Kitty LeClaw said...

The both of you deserve so much more than that. My love is so deep that I would bring a whole BOOK of Canadian B Cinema Excellence. I've been peeling through some of the titles featured on Canuxploitation, and... Raw. Undiscovered. B-Talent.

Karswell said...

Bad metal movies unite! How does this stack up against Trick or Treat (1986), or Hard Rock Zombies (1985) ?? Ya know, Thor bears an uncanny resemblance to Rocky Shades from Wrathchild UK.. anyone remember them?

Someday someone must make a movie that merges horror and metal correctly.

Kitty LeClaw said...

Senor Karswell: When I asked my sister to watch this with me, she asked: "is it like Hard Rock Zombies? If yes, then no."

SOOOO much more awesome than some of the other attempts I have seen. Rock n' Roll nightmare was so much more unabashed about being a glorified music video set to corny metal. Also, none of those other movies feature JMT.

I think you should make a horror-metal merge. "Don't dream it, be it." Please make sure that, in your movie, a lady gets crushed to death by a boa constrictor.

kindertrauma said...

GREAT review of the best movie ever!!!!

Kitty LeClaw said...

Kindertrauma: $53,000 CDN bought an awful lot of Thor in 1987.

"We live to ROCK!"