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.
Yeah man, I love the 80s. That’s all I listen to. I totally don’t know only one album from the decade.
10. Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel
Yeah, what a great song ya know? That music video. Phew!
9. In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
I’ve spent many a night blasting this song outside of the window of my ex-wife. The only response I got was from the county sheriff with a restraining order.
8. That Voice Again by Peter Gabriel
It has a great drum beat. Sometimes I’ll rock out to it on my drums after midnight. Neighbors don’t like it. The sheriff tells me that every Thursday morning.
7. Red Rain by Peter Gabriel
I don’t know song. I’m sure it’s good. Peter Gabriel never once made a bad song.
6. This is the Picture by Peter Gabriel
I love the part where he keeps saying “this is the picture.”
5. Mercy Street by Peter Gabriel
This song is so great that it always puts me to sleep.
4. We Do What We’re Told by Peter Gabriel
Yeah, he’s right. We do what we’re told.
3. Big Time by Peter Gabriel
This is kinda the sequel to Sledgehammer. On the same album no less. Peter Gabriel was a genius.
2. Don’t Give Up by Peter Gabriel
Every time I put a gun to my mouth after I watch Dumb and Dumber To, I remember this piece.
1. Heat of the Moment by Asia.
Have you ever found yourself in 82? I do every time I take hallucinogens. What I love most about this song is Carl Palmer absolutely shredding the drums over Steve Howe’s lame guitar solo. That totally rocked.
So you see, when it comes to the 80s, I know what I’m talking about. Who doesn’t love this era of music?
I wish I started doing this years ago instead of being a pretentious dick when it came to movies.
And believe it or not, there’s a specific art to making a really bad film. Not any joker off the street can do it. Now I watch countless movies per week, most of them godawful. But a couple of them stood out this time.
Btw, you can find these films on Tubi, which again, is a shitty app with too many goddamn commercials but they do have a pretty good selection.
Slaughter High (1986)
I don’t remember the 80s. Not because I was too young, but because, like everyone else, I was too coked out to pay attention. But I love a good nerd-revenge flick.
Sadly, this movie lacks the balls-to-the-wall energy of such classics like Toxic Avenger. Nevertheless, despite the filmmakers’ best intentions, they made a somewhat effective movie.
There’s a few good kills, surprising nudity (male and female), questionable decision making, Caroline Munro, bad American accents, and just overall good 80s fun.
Nothing spectacular, but if you’re doing a B-movie binge, you could do worse. And that’s my official endorsement 👍
Don’t Go in the Woods (1981)
Aimless screenplay, horrible dialogue, atrocious editing, halfassed ADR, cartoonishly violent…and sometimes hilarious…killings: this is the recipe for the perfect shit film.
Usually people walking around in the woods makes for a terrible, boring movie. Not so here. Its incompetence is its main attraction.
Sometimes I’d argue that the choice of blood can make or break a film. If you’re gonna make a slasher movie, make that shit as absurdly bright as possible. That really makes the killings pop.
They made that decision here and it changed the complexion of what could have been an otherwise bad terrible film.
So if you have a couple of hours to spare, these might be worth your time. There’s a lot worse things you could be doing. 🤷♂️
You know how there were a bunch of mediocre period films from the 80s and 90s?
You know, like Gandhi, Out of Africa, Titanic, Rob Roy, The Ghost and the Darkness, The Man in the Iron Mask, The 13th Warrior, Enemy at the Gates? Etc etc…
Has there ever been a movie that started off vanilla and then did a complete 180?
Like I have an idea of a period piece, during the Napoleonic Wars or Mongol Invasions or some shit, where the typical tropes are established: a virtuous hero, a mustache-twirling villain, a love interest, and a community standing up to the forces of evil, etc. The film will open with some boring quote on the nature of war: “In war, there are no heroes”, or whatever. Even the leading man will be the safest, whitest, most bland actor you can think of…one of the “Chris’s” probably (Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Chris Pine). The entire first half will be nothing but tropes and cliches…even the cinematography and music are flat and unoriginal, to the point where the audience will stop paying attention…as our hero prepares his community for battle against some dumb villain.
Then the second half opens and all fucking hell breaks loose: the “hero” and his army, as one thing leads to another, just commits straight-up genocide in the most offensive and disgusting way possible. And the worst part: the “hero” doesn’t reflect on his dishonorable victory. To him, it’s all glory. The film is told from his perspective as he slaughters men, women, children, and takes slaves for good measure…all told through the lens of bland 90s filmmaking.
Then the lame quote from the beginning… “In war, there are no heroes” …reappears at the end, just so you can show the audience that you tried to warn them. And that’s the moral of the film: everyone is capable of evil so pay attention, we’re all blinded by ideology, blah blah blah
Is anyone else seeing what I’m seeing here?
Sure there are films that deliberately fuck with the audience, but is there one out there that fucks with the audience based on expectation (like making the audience believe they’re watching standard Hollywood fare, but reveal that they’re actually watching torture porn)?
I was hopping up and down to the sounds of 80s pop phenom Human League when there was a pound on the door.
“Open up! It’s LAPD!”
It was Randy. I wasn’t fooled.
“What can I do for you Randy?” I asked.
“Can you believe they let me out on bail?! I mean, seven vehicular manslaughter charges!! That’s crazy!” Randy said.
He was flanked by his two female henchmen, Anthrax and Honda. As Randy hoot and hollered, the ladies just stood there, arms crossed.
“So Jimmy, wanna do some drugs? I gotta speedball here,” he asked.
“Gee, I don’t know Randy. Isn’t that dangerous?”
“Not at all! Everyone’s doing it.”
He didn’t have to tell me twice.
Eventually I found myself in a daze sitting in the backseat of Randy’s Pontiac between Anthrax and Honda. Randy was driving like a maniac down the streets of West Hollywood when he looked to the backseat. “You see! I told you everything will be alright!” he said.
I didn’t think anything was suspicious.
Finally Anthrax and Honda carried me out of the car and into the back of an abandoned warehouse. I recognized the place. I survived a stabbing there a month earlier. They laid me down in a tub of ice and an overweight German doctor wearing a lab coat and nipple piercings tried to load me up with barbiturates.
However the joke was on them. I was always loaded up on barbiturates.
But then it occurred to me.
“Fuck, they’re gonna harvest my organs.” I thought.
Now, like most people, I’ve had to talk my way out of an organ harvesting attempt before. But this one was different.
It was going to take some skill.
“You know, there’s other ways of making a quick buck,” I said to Anthrax. “You can humiliate yourself in front of complete strangers on the internet like I do.”
But she stood there motionless. So I tried a different tactic: the art of seduction.
“It’s a shame I’m about to die. I wish we’ve gotten to know one another more. But, I guess I should count myself lucky. At least the last thing I’ll ever see is your beautiful face,” I said.
Finally Anthrax uncrossed her arms and adjusted her posture. Clearly she was responding to what I was saying.
“I have a confession to make. That time when you and Randy cornered me behind Dick’s Sporting Goods, pulled down my pants and shoved golf balls up my ass, I thought: ‘I could spend the rest of my life with this woman.’ Well it appears I’ll get that chance,” I told her.
Finally she removed her black Gargoyle sunglasses so I could see her eyes.
“I believe it’s customary to grant a dying man his last request,” I said.
“What’s that?” Anthrax replied. “A kiss? How lame.”
“No. I just want to cop a feel.”
She stood there and thought for a second. Finally she moved in closer, removed the handcuffs from my left wrist and placed my hand down her low cut tank. I then grasped as hard as I could on to her tit.
“Ow my titty!” Anthrax screamed.
I then leapt out of the bathtub and kicked Honda in the coot as she moved in closer. I grabbed her nickel plated .45 and pistol whipped Anthrax unconscious. With both henchwomen neutralized, I moved over to the doctor.
“Nein nein nein!” the man screamed. “Ich spreche kein Englisch. Ich weiß nicht wo ich bin!”
“I don’t want to hear that shit!” I yelled while he stared down my .45. “Where’s Randy?!”
I took the doctor by gunpoint into Randy’s lair. There were computer monitors everywhere with live feeds from CCTV cameras all over the world. Mostly in women’s bathrooms.
There were also scientists everywhere and a shit ton of beakers.
“Well well well,” Randy said menacingly. “It appears that you foiled my plan.”
“This ends now, Randy.”
“No, you can’t stop me. The LAPD can’t stop me. INTERPOL can’t stop me. Not even unadulterated black tar heroin can stop me! You will never catch me Jimmy, so help me GOD!”
At that moment, men in black shirts began pouring out of every dark corner, firing their AK-47s indiscriminately at me. I used the doctor as a shield while I fired back.
In the mayhem, Randy disappeared while a timer began a countdown to 0 before 200 tons of dynamite exploded. As the clock ticked down, I jumped through the glass window, falling 14 stories into a dumpster while the warehouse exploded into a magnificent fireball, lighting up the Los Angeles skyline.
When the police and fire department arrived, I chastised the New York police officer with the LAPD for releasing Randy on bail.
“We didn’t let Randy out on bail. Dat man is dangerous! He escaped weeks ago!” the officer said while shoveling a hot dog into his mouth.
Then a junior officer came running out of the wreckage, claiming they didn’t find the bodies of Randy or anyone else.
“Say, are you sure that you were kidnapped and held against your will and did not just blow up 16 square blocks of West Hollywood because you were high on methamphetamine?” the New York officer asked.
I knew it.
We faced off once. But I knew that he’d come back for vengeance.
There was this time when I got kidnapped by Marxist insurgents while on a drug run in Columbia. I was starved and sleep deprived for 72 hours, then afterwards came the long and torturous process of Soviet brainwashing. Those were the days!
Despite years of physical and mental therapy to overcome this horrific experience, I almost completely forgot about it until I started watching Dr. Phil and Judge Judy! After I finished convulsing, I suddenly remembered what those crazy commies taught me: the ruling class tries to control the proletariat through the means of “mental production”.
So I started thinking, “who the hell watches this shit?”
It turns out the answer is “a lot of fucking people.”
If the world is anything like me, which I presume it is, then we do a lot of self-loathing. We wake up each day, counting down the days to our inevitable deaths, when our bodies will rot and return to the earth, and we will be quickly forgotten…like we never existed at all.
So what do we do with the time in between? We waste it by interacting with meaningless products and services. One of these services is daytime network TV which feature the long running shows of Dr. Phil and Judge Judy.
Are they a real doctor and Judge? I dunno. They might’ve been one at one time, but they failed their way upwards into getting their own show.
It’s a pretty good gig if you can get it.
But because neither of them are current practitioners of medicine or law, their opinions are practically useless. However networks don’t really care if you were ever a “good” “doctor” or “lawyer”, they just want to know if you can mock and laugh at poor people and their problems. And Phil and Judy are pretty good at their jobs.
Occasionally we watch the guests on these shows and think “at least my life is not as bad as theirs.” But it is. It’s worse, actually. And we’re sadomasochists for watching. Not only are we sick for watching these people get embarrassed on national TV, but we’re disgusting because we secretly want to be chastised by two rich people for being stupid and poor.
That’s the entire purpose of these shows: so that the TV execs and the ruling elite can remind you that they are better than you and you should know your place.