4/6/11

Deadly Doll's Choice: The HorrorHound Weekend Edition: Rocktober Blood (1984)

Hello folks. It’s time once again for another monthly film swap with my good pal Emily of The Deadly Doll’s House. A couple of weeks ago we got a chance to meet in the flesh for the second time. The first time was at Horrorhound Weekend Cincinnati where Emily and I did a live and in person film swap with movies that had been rotting away in our collection. This time, for Horrorhound Weekend Indianapolis, we tried something a little different. Setting a limit of ten dollars, we vowed to buy each other a film while at the convention and so we did. I chose for her the locally grown Indiana independent flick The Unhuman. I chose her film due to her love of children in horror flicks as the cast seemed primarily filled with pre-teens, but I know indie flicks are hit and miss. (Click on over to the DDH to find out what she thought.) For me, Emily picked out the out of print horror flick Rocktober Blood (1984).


She definitely picked something that seemed to be right up my alley. I’ve shown quite a fondness for the subgenre of Heavy Metal horror. Black Roses, Trick or Treat, and Hard Rock Zombies are easily some of my favorite films of all time hands down. I was hoping that I would add Rocktober Blood to that list, and half the film had a good chance to make it. Rocktober Blood stars Tray Loren as Billy “Eye” Harper, the singer for a popular rock band. One night, Billy loses his mind and starts killing off everyone at the studio. That is except for Lynn (Donna Scoggins), his backup singer. She testifies against him in court and sends him off to the chair then takes over his band renaming it Headmistress. Two years later, she hits the road for the “Rocktober Blood” tour, but when she starts to see Billy “Eye” everywhere she goes and people start getting killed off, the newly crowned metal goddess has to contend with a lead singer come back to life.

Right Said FERD
I had never seen a film directed by The Sebastians before Rocktober Blood, but as soon as the name came up I recognized it from reading about them. Husband wife duo Ferd (yes Ferd, not Fred) and Beverly Sebastian wrote and co-directed a number of exploitation pictures including Flesh and the Firecat (a dune buggy bank robbing film), Gator Bait (starring Claudia Jennings as a Gator poacher), and On the Air Live with Captain Midnight (about an underground renegade DJ, a prehistoric Pump Up the Volume if you will). Their movies were famously full of low budget filmmaking, ample amounts of nudity, and all the cheesy action you can shake a stick at. For Rocktober Blood, much like similar filmmaker Doris Wishman and her film A Night to Dismember, the Sebastians took their one and only stab at hopping on the slasher bandwagon. The results are decidedly mixed, but even so this first look into their catalog only makes me interested to see more. The Sebastians made movies together up until 1993’s Running Cool, but hung it up after 22 years in the business. According to IMDB, after a heart condition, Ferd turned his life to the Christian church and became an ordained minister, but sadly it has no details as to what became of Beverly.

The problem that the Sebastians ran into with Rocktober Blood was execution of their ideas. The plot of a lead singer coming back to get revenge on his band is great. The backwards playing records when he kills people, also great. The cheesy often bizarrely gory death scenes also make the film worth a watch. However, the cast, the filmmaking, and the pacing basically kill off this film before the slasher can barely even get started. The main thing that drags the film down is Tray Loren. Unlike Tony Fields as Sammy Curr in Trick or Treat or Sal Viviano as Damien in Black Roses, Loren makes for an unconvincing rock god. With a head full of curly hair and a round face, he looks more like a fan from the audience than a Heavy Metal killer. His acting, which mostly consists on being a douche, is one note throughout, but during the last thirty minutes of the film he actually turns on some much needed charisma to salvage the film a bit. Donna Scoggins, appearing in her single movie role, provides a serviceable final girl without making me ever really care if she lived or died. The only character I could have done with more of was Nigel Benjamin, onetime lead singer of the band Mott, as The Headmistress’ manager. He seemed like he stepped right out of Spinal Tap and was ready to handle any debacle up to and including tons of killings while on tour (after all, after dealing with the Tap…)

To wrap up this review I thought I would try something different out today. I’m going to take a note from Emily and run down a few of the lessons I learned while watching Rocktober Blood.


Lessons Learned

If someone is standing too close, it is too dangerous to hit the psycho with a guitar. 

A body that has been buried for two years will look like medical lab prop covered in black snakes, worms, and will have silver orbs for eyes.

 Burning someone’s throat with a steam iron will make them bleed profusely and it takes relatively little effort.
Don’t even think about going to kill anyone if your makeup is not applied just right.


Your manager will always tell you it’s going to be alright despite the fact that half your band, your friends, and your assistant is dead.

If all else fails and you end your movie with narrative songs where the killer wraps up the film and fills you in on his upcoming plans, I will still like your movie.


With some luck, hopefully we can bring you another live film swap in only seven more months, but don’t worry, the Deadly Doll and I will be back next month and every month with another film swap. I’ve got plenty of things lined up around here as well. Rocktober Blood was a great way to kick off the month because for the next two months I’m going to be taking a look at a lot of killers in a little feature I’m going to call Spring Slashers. I’ve also got all kinds of great films lined up to talk about and the Hitch on the Hump guest posts will continue next week! So tune your internets back in for all of that, and I’ll see you on down the road.

Bugg Rating 

Easily this is the best song in the film, the appropriately titled Killer on the Loose.

2 comments:

  1. Hm. I'm still convinced Rocktober Blood will rock my socks off, just cause it HAS TO!

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  2. Yeah, the pacing is a bit off and the scene at the house out in the woods dragged on. Although, the jazzercise routine was hilarious.

    Overall though, I adore this film as an avid metalhead. Love the Tray Loren vocals that sound like a cross between Danzig and Halford. Plus that song! 'When you least expect it, I will attack....' Gets stuck in my head for days after watching it. Great, now it's REALLY stuck in my head.

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