When a movie informs you that it’s a Shapiro-Glickenhaus production, you’re in for a ride. And Black Roses did not disappoint.
I’ve always been intrigued by the psychological/political dimensions of the 80s. Poltergeist kind of touches on this in the most subtle way, how family dynamics were altered during this decade. Black Roses picked up on this concept and ran with it.
The film shines a spotlight on the contradictions within Reagan-era politics: parents being appalled yet titillated by youth culture (and a complete lack of awareness that these tensions exist). The story of Black Roses centers on some “heavy metal” band coming to small town USA and corrupting its youth. The youth become demon-possessed and start killing their parents. Only a mustached English teacher stands in their way.
Of course, the band is entirely blamed for the “corruption”. Despite the shitty parenting throughout, the adults never once ask themselves: “are we to blame?”. But I guess parenting styles in the 1980s didn’t include things like paying attention to your children. Additionally, because parents were unable to take responsibility for themselves, we now have “culture wars”…which stem back to this decade…on which adults can use as a scapegoat for why they have shitty children.
Now I’m probably giving the filmmakers WAY to much credit for this analysis. They probably just wanted to show rock n’ roll and boobs with a few demons thrown in for good measure. But all good art is a reflection on the time it was produced. And Black Roses certainly pulls back the curtain on Reagan’s America.
If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times: I am to Tubi what raccoons are to trash. So if Tubi puts something up there to watch, by God I’m watching it and leaving a godawful mess while I’m at it.
Why though? Why would one put themselves through pointless agony?
I’ll tell you why: Mindkiller and Night Vision.
Before you read this, you probably never heard of either of those films. But now you have. So I’m providing a FREE public service: finding overlooked gems before they are totally and completely forgotten. I’m a historian, this is what I do.
Both films were directed by Michael Krueger and both…according to IMDb…were released in 1987. Unfortunately, Krueger died in 1990, presumably leaving both films to lie in obscurity until their resurrection into the public consciousness by Tubi.
You might think I’m being facetious over my praise of Krueger’s work, but I assure you, I genuinely enjoyed both movies. Sure, they might look like cheap after-school specials…the sound editing is particularly atrocious in Mindkiller…but a few technical issues aside, aspiring filmmakers should take note: where you lack a budget, you can make up for with heart.
As you all know, I have a horrible memory. So I don’t recall too many plot details. But Mindkiller, roughly, is about a dork librarian who reads some outlandish shit and he begins to control minds. I think. He then begins to control the mind of his love interest, played convincingly by Shirley Ross as a strait laced librarian.
Ross then flips the script for Night Vision, also as the love interest, as she plays a street wise video clerk showing her boyfriend the ropes. The streets of Denver have never looked so mean. Remember, this was the 80s, before all the hipsters moved in and gentrified the place. But supposedly Night Vision is also a horror film. I think a VCR is demon possessed or something. While I don’t remember being scared, I do remember being taken in by the film’s earnestness and Ross’ performance.
It’s a shame that Krueger didn’t have a longer career. But I am thankful for what we did get.
Definitions vary. But in short, it’s any person that rides a fine line between being insane…or criminally stupid…and a total menace to society.
Which leads to a bigger question that I get asked everyday of my life: how does one get inducted into the Internet Ruined Everything’s Hall of Fame of Real Ass Dudes (IREHOFRAD)?
Because this is such an elite club, one must meet the following criteria:
1. Demonstrated clear excellence in insanity or stupidity. But their eccentricities can’t lead them to be perpetually in jail. Remember, being a menace to society is a clear disqualification for being a real ass dude. Serial killers, mass murderers, and Harvey Weinstein will never qualify.
2. That being said, there are bonus points for criminal activity. DUIs, robbery, minor drug trafficking, embezzling, manslaughter, fraud, etc, are perfectly acceptable. Sex and hate crimes, however, are an automatic disqualification. OJ Simpson totally rides the line here.
3. Have outstanding achievements in the fields of entertainment, business, sports, politics, technology, etc, that will stand the test of time REGARDLESS of their insanity, stupidity, and criminal activities. A prime example here is Bobby Knight. The man had no business coaching a college basketball program who nevertheless won three national titles. This is why Knight was the first inductee into the HOF.
Basically to get into the Hall, inductees must exemplify, or outright facilitate, the decline of society’s collective super ego.
Have someone you want to nominate? Let me know in the comments.
On the ballot next year is OJ Simpson, Brett Favre, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and Donald Trump. Only one can get in.
It ain’t a crime to smash cougs. In fact, every man between the age 20-23 should try it.
And ladies over the age of 35, good for you! Go get it!
Now Zach Wilson may never be a HOFer, but he should be celebrated as a trailblazer, or a public spokesperson, for guys like me. I’ve been putting out flyers, knocking on doors, and yelling on street corners for years: older women is where it’s at. And when you go where it’s at, there’s no going back.
Back in the 80s, people thought that sexual assault and tormenting families was hilarious. But that was life in Reagan’s America. It was a disgusting time and I’m glad it’s over.
A nice little relic from this era is Luther the Geek. The best part about it is it’s short run time: 80 minutes 👍
The plot is simple: some lunatic is inexplicably granted parole and he instantly begins a reign of terror. He grabs ahold of some poor woman and proceeds to terrorize her and her daughter, who is somehow older than than her mother. The movie doesn’t know if it takes place in Iowa or Illinois, but really, who cares? They’re basically the same state.
The film epically concludes with the hero and villain clucking at each other like chickens.
The gore? It’s pretty good.
I wouldn’t say I’d “recommend” it. But hell, it’s only 80 minutes of your life.
I make no secret of my love for Paul Schrader. As far as being a screenwriter, he’s the GOAT.
Unfortunately he didn’t write Auto Focus, he only directed. Still though, it’s familiar territory for him: sexual obsession, loneliness, religious struggle, etc etc.
Watching Willem Dafoe and Greg Kinnear beat off together while they watch their own sex tapes is cinematic gold. My only complaint about this movie is that it should have been LONGER.
Honestly, this hit a little too close to home. If you’ve never been in a friendship like the one between Bob Crane and John Carpenter you might not understand. But these kinds of relationships exist among two (mostly heterosexual) men who are cocksmiths.
In sum, this film exposes the dark side of “bromance”.