Oct. 5th: Rockula (1990)

rockula-1990

Ok, so I passed out after getting home from work and almost blew my streak only 4 days in. Thanks to the wonder of 80’s Monster Comedies however, we have our 5th day entry, and our Halloween festival marches on with Rockula.

I’ve talked about Rockula and my love for it on the playlist before, and I certainly will again, and here Ralph is providing more than just Halloween music, but a film that’s plot hinges on the Holiday. Sounds like an October winner to me.

It’s late, and in a pinch I’ll do cheesiest thing ever and quote myself:

“Ralph (played by Dean Cameron, aka Summer School’s Chainsaw) is a typically 80’s “friendly” vampire. Ralph’s got a problem though. See, 400 years ago Ralph failed to save his beloved Mona from a ham bone wielding pirate who murdered her on Halloween. After which, a terrible curse befell Ralph. He must relive this trauma ever 22 years, as Mona is reincarnated and Ralph is given another chance to prevent this tragedy. A chance which he always seems to squander.

However, in the late 80’s, Mona is resurrected as a musician, so Ralph becomes Rockula to win her heart. And maybe keep a close eye on her to finally prevent that Halloween/ham bone/pirate murder.”

It’s pure 80’s cheese that features another charming turn from Dean Cameron. It may not be overflowing with Halloweeniness, but there’s enough here to satisfy an early October night.

Audio

Rockula

076_rockulaTRACK #76:

Rockula by Rockula

I’m gonna wrap up this Vampire block with a Title Track of ridiculous proportions, from one of my favorite sub-genres, 80’s Monster Comedies.

Though technically released in 1990, Rockula was written and filmed in the late 80’s and has all the trappings of an 80’s Monster Comedy, and as such is filed accordingly by the Shindig.

If you’ve never seen Rockula, here’s the jist:

Ralph (played by Dean Cameron, aka Summer School’s Chainsaw) is a typically 80’s “friendly” vampire. Ralph’s got a problem though. See, 400 years ago Ralph failed to save his beloved Mona from a ham bone wielding pirate who murdered her on Halloween. After which, a terrible curse befell Ralph. He must relive this trauma ever 22 years, as Mona is reincarnated and Ralph is given another chance to prevent this tragedy. A chance which he always seems to squander.

However, in the late 80’s, Mona is resurrected as a musician, so Ralph becomes Rockula to win her heart. And maybe keep a close eye on her to finally prevent that Halloween/ham bone/pirate murder.

Sound great? No? Well it is, and it features a couple of great tunes performed by Dean Cameron (and one by Toni “Oh Mickey” Basil, who plays Ralph’s Vampire mom.) Tunes that, of course, are featured on the Shindig.

From Rockula, performed by Rockula, it’s the triple threat, Rockula!

 

Monster Talk: 80's Monster Comedies

Hands Off is the first musical selection of several from what I like to call 80’s Monster Comedies.

I guess in the 80’s, making silly comedies featuring werewolves, vampires and other monsters seemed like a good idea. And it was, at least I think it was, as this is perhaps my favorite sub-genre of film.

If I was ever handed the keys to a classroom at a University that didn’t particularly pride itself on their staff, I’d probably create the course “80’s Monster Comedies 101.” We’d sit around and watch these films, discuss them at length and then write needlessly analytical papers regarding their cultural context.

C’mon? You wouldn’t take that course? Fuck yeah you would. You mean I’d get college credit for writing a paper about Teen Wolf? Yes. Yes you would. But it better be a damn good paper, cause I ain’t gradin’ on no curve.

Here’s the course outline.

Week 1: Intro to Course / Full Moon High (1981)

  • Full Moon High bridges a gap between 70’s comedy and 80’s comedy. Discuss the elements of it’s 70’s sensibility. Does it make for a better or worse film in your opinion? Also, why is Alan Arkin so great? Oh he’s not? Please take this F with you on your way out the door.

Week 2: Teen Wolf (1985)

  • Would being a Werewolf actually make you a better basketball player? And if not, is there really any objection to one playing at a high school level? Bonus points for discussion of why Bobby Finnstock is the greatest coach ever to appear on film.

Week 3: Once Bitten (1985)

  • Fun tale of vampirism, or American morality play of underage/unprotected/anonymous sex during the AIDS era?

Week 4: My Best Friend Is A Vampire (1987)

  • Interesting addition to the legacy, or sub-par knock-off of Once Bitten? Extra points for a comparison of lifted elements appearing in Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Week 5: Teen Wolf Too (1987)

  • Is it morally objectionable to pit a college-aged student against a creature of the night in a combat based sport like boxing?

Week 6: Vampire’s Kiss (1988)

  • Nicholas Cage is absolutely fucking crazy in this film. It may very well be his most insane performance ever. So, here’s a Nicholas Cage wild card – make your argument as to which decade is best for Mr. Cage: The 80’s, The 90’s or The ‘00’s. Make the argument as to which is the worst. Then argue which film contains your favorite/best performance (note: those 2 distinctions might not be the same for you.)

Week 7: Monster High (1989)

  • Holy shit! This movie is utter garbage. Explain exactly why this movie is so god-awful and disappointing. Then detail how it could have been a great example of an 80’s Monster Comedy.

Week 8: Rockula (1990) and Final

  • Though technically released in February of 1990, Rockula was clearly filmed during the 80’s and feels like a 80’s monster comedy through and through. Discussion of the music, Dean Cameron’s Awesomeness or the opening title sequence will all be accepted.
  • Final: Discuss 80’s Monster Comedies as a genre using examples from the entire course. Why are they great? Oh they’re not? Then why do you hate them? Why couldn’t these movies really work in any other decade?

As extra credit, I’ll accept papers on Love At First Bite (1979) being so close to making the cut, and Monster Squad (1987) which I don’t consider a 80’s Monster Comedy, but will certainly earn you an A for writing.

And make sure to join us next semester for the follow-up course 80’s Party Monsters.

tl;dr crowd….apologies.