Bassist: Raise the dead? What for?
Drummer: Probably to mop your floors, or uh paint your house… fuck your wife.
That’s about as intelligent as Hard Rock Zombies gets. It starts out a mess and continues to fall apart until the plot is more about your migraine than anything else. There are at least four different stories going on at any given time and resolution isn’t a very high priority for any of them. The only discernible character motivation comes from Jessie who is played by former Playgirl centerfold and real life rock bassist E.J. Curse. His motivation? An underage girl. Really underage. He even writes a song about how wrong it is and the band plays it nearly twice in it’s entirety. Almost all of the songs on the soundtrack are played all of the way through. The best of them is Na Na Na Na. Warning: this video contains some serious tomfoolery: stupid hick sheriffs beware.
I’ve seen this movie four times, twice sober, and this is what I think happens. Holy Moses is a rock band that likes to goof off, sometimes in their underwear but never with female groupies. They decide to pick up an attractive hitchhiker anyway. Her name is Elsa, and she is played by the absolutely stunning Lisa Toothman (Roller Blade Warriors: Taken by Force, Molested). She invites them to stay at her castle. Elsa lives with several little people, a switchblade wielding werewolf in a wheelchair and several old Germans. Jessie falls in love with a child and practices a song that raises the dead. The sheriff and his hick friends arrest the band, ban rock music and cancel Holy Moses’s show. Elsa bails them out, the little people watch their grandparents have sex and the Germans murder the band.
Then the film gets strange. Grandpa reveals that he is Hitler and the family is restarting the Third Reich or I guess maybe it would be the fourth. Jessie’s child bride plays a recording of his magical bassline and the band rise from the dead to rock. They also attack the nazis and turn them into zombies. The zombie nazis turn the town into zombies, but not into nazis, and the band decides to play their rock show despite whatever bullshit law the hick sheriff zombie passed. Rock ensues. I don’t want to spoil the ending, mainly because I don’t remember it, and I don’t think another 500 words would be appropriate considering I haven’t even mentioned Phil Fondacaro yet.
Roger Ebert created the”Stanton-Walsh Rule,” declaring that “no movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmit Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad.” I have a similar rule which states that no movie featuring Phil Fondacaro in a supporting role can be altogether boring. Bad is way better than boring, and having one of the messiest stories I’ve ever heard outside of rambling requests for spare change Hard Rock Zombies more than qualifies as bad, but I will gladly recommend it since it never gets dull. Here’s Phil enjoying some hamburger.
P.S. After scrawling the first draft of this review on a McDonald’s napkin with the spare crayon I found in the dining area of Logan International, I read that this film began life as scenes put together as a background film for another movie about a drive-in theater. After filming, Krishna Shah acquired funds to turn the the background film into a feature, so they connected the disparate footage quickly sometimes writing the scenes the day they were to be shot. This sounds about right.