Thursday, 5 June 2014



Not every cheap 80s slasher movie could be a Friday The 13th Part IV, or even a He Knows You're Alone. Even back then in the subgenre's heyday it wasn't enough to just wheel on a bunch of pretty people and kill them off one by one with power tools and sharp objects; you still had to be a little bit inventive and do it with at least a hint of style and flair. Thirty years on, it's almost beside the point to mention that the plots make no sense and everyone behaves completely illogically - that's perhaps part of the charm of the 80s slasher film - but some of them still managed to be enjoyable, some of them were reasonably well put together, and a few even ended up as actually pretty impressive (Rosemary's Killer). Many, however, didn't.

Rocktober Blood kicks off with Billy-Eye, the lead singer of a metal rock band, suddenly turning psycho and killing 25 people (regrettably, 23 of them are offscreen): sole survivor Lynn is the backing singer and spurned love interest who identifies him. Two years on and the band is still going, now fronted by Lynn and renamed Headmistress (which even I think is probably the least impressive name imaginable for a thrash rock group, just behind Dry White Wine or The Tweed Librarian Ensemble). But it seems that Billy-Eye is back, terrorising Lynn and murdering everyone around her, yet mysteriously no-one notices the disappearances and just assumes the missing girls have gone off to San Francisco or something.

Is Billy-Eye really back from the grave? Is someone else pretending to be Billy-Eye? Or is it all in her imagination? Sadly the film never reaches the point where you might actually care and the revelation is ludicrous. It ultimately ends up with the maniac performing the tedious heavy metal songs on stage, casually murdering the backing vocalists on stage with his pointy microphone stand and then handcuffing himself to the heroine for his big number that even includes the lyric "When you least expect it, I will attack!". Rocktober Blood is a cheap, occasionally nasty but mostly dull slasher for the drive-in market written, directed, designed, produced and photographed by Ferd and Beverly Sebastian, who also made the trashy Gator Bait. (He's now an ordained minister and she's a spokeswoman for the National Greyhound Association.)

It's got moments of gore, gratuitous nudity, a midnight trip to the cemetery, terrible songs, a terrible title, and a general air of silliness; but in truth it's probably no worse than many C-grade horrors of the time. Indeed it's indisputably leagues better than something like Graduation Day or Final Exam, but that's hardly a plus point. This is also a film that's had no distribution in the UK and yet again the only feasible option - very much a least worst choice - is a YouTube upload from someone who's seen it and doesn't want to be the only one to suffer. Thanks, chum.


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