Fish-Flavored Baseball Bat

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

VHS Vednesday: Black Roses

BLACK ROSES (1988). Directed by John Fasano. Starring John Martin, Carla Ferrigno, and Julie Adams.

Another heavy-metal horror movie from director John Fasano? Yes indeedy. But whereas Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare presented us with a hair-metal angel battling the forces of evil, Black Roses takes the more conventional stance that hard rock literally is the devil's music.
The setting is Mill Basin, a small town where nothing ever happens...until the popular band Black Roses announces that they're playing there as the opening location of their tour. The news brings the sleepy town to life, even as it awakens the long-simmering tensions between the older and younger generations. While a vocal fragment of the adults, led by the prudish Mrs. Miller (Julie Adams of Creature from the Black Lagoon fame), denounce the band as an unhealthy influence and try to have the concert stopped, the pragmatic mayor (Ken Swofford) is more swayed by the revenue the performance will bring to the city. Oh, if only he had listened...
As the concert approaches, the town's teenagers, emboldened by the impending arrival of the rock idols, gradually grow more and more rebellious. Schoolteacher Matt Moorhouse (John Martin) notices the change in his young charges, but thinks little of it at first. Then, as the town's more unfit parents begin dying and/or disappearing, it becomes clear that there's more than just standard teenage angst at work.
Black Roses is much more polished and accomplished than Fasano's previous film, though the special effects and monster designs are just as laughable as they had been in Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare. However, the progression in Fasano's directorial skills actually works against the movie; without the gonzo craziness and incompetence that made Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare so much fun to watch, we're left with simply an average, unremarkable horror movie.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
Watch for The Sopranos' Vincent Pastore, making his screen debut as a verbally abusive dad who gets sucked into a stereo speaker. (Another curious bit of casting is the teacher's love interest, played by Carla Ferrigno in her only screen appearance outside of the films of her husband Lou.)



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