MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL and SUBURBIA

MZNJ_SNDF

now playing

  double feature_RNRHS_SUB

This week’s double feature is a repost of one of my very first double features and it is in tribute to the sad passing of the last of the original members of The Ramones, Tommy Ramone. Farewell and R.I.P.

bars

Rock__n__Roll_High_SchoolPoster

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (1979)

Roger Corman produced cult classic featuring legendary punk rockers The Ramones and revolves around their biggest fan, rebellious teen Riff Randall (P.J. Soles), and her efforts to see her favorite band in concert. But, standing in her way is the new stuffed shirt principle, Miss Togar (Mary Woronov) who’s out to stop her, ban Rock ‘N’ Roll and end the fun at Vince Lombardi High School forever. Can Riff and the Ramones save the day for the students of VLHS? Musical comedy is light and fun as directed by Allan Arkush and features a lot of the Ramones music, and who can argue with that! There are a lot of funny set pieces to go along with the great music and most of the characters are played for laughs including Togar and stuffy music teacher Mr. McGee (Paul Bartel). Made in 1979, film is actually ahead of it’s time as it comes across more as an 80’s teen comedy like Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Flick made cult icons out of P.J. Soles, Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel, who himself directed the cult classics Death Race 2000 and Eating Raoul. A fun Rock ‘n’ Roll musical and a must see for Corman and Ramones fans. Also starring Clint Howard, VInce Van Patten and Dey Young as Riff’s best friend, Kate.

MonsterZero NJ trivia: Rock ‘N’ Roll High School was shot by frequent John Carpenter collaborator Dean Cundey (Escape From New York, The Thing).

Available now from the great folks at Shout Factory!

A Rockin’ 3 and 1/2 guitars

guitar rating

 

10273809_10152355797673323_4026143933187765016_n

Farewell and R.I.P. to one of the greatest bands of all time!

plus

Suburbia_DVD

SUBURBIA (1984)

Another Roger Corman produced cult classic about a group of poor urban punk rockers in L.A., who, as outcasts, come together and form the “family” unit, in an abandoned house, that was denied them in their own dysfunctional homes. Director/writer Penelope Sheeris overcomes the minimal acting talent from her cast of unknowns to create a strong, poignant and sometimes shocking portrayal of the poor urban youth during the 80’s era recession, who got caught up in the underground punk movement. Spheeris avoids the stereotypical portrayal of punks that most films, from then till now, have embraced and portrays them as human beings whom society and their own families have cast out. Unfortunately, their need to rebel and nonconformist style brings them into conflict with some of the more narrow minded members of their community, as well as, the police… and with tragic results. Suburbia has a raw and gritty realism to it that makes it a surprisingly powerful low budgeter about urban youth and how they are neglected and misunderstood. Features performances by legendary punk bands TSOL and The Vandals.

MonsterZero NJ trivia: Punker Razzle is played by a certain “Mike B. The Flea” … three guesses what Mr. “Flea” does now.

Also available  from the great folks at Shout Factory!

 A Punk Rockin’ 3 and 1/2 guitars
guitar rating

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (2009)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

House_of_the_Devil

bars

THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (2009)

I am a big fan of director Ti West and of 70s and 80s horror, so that’s already two in the win column for me in regards to West’s homage to late 70s/early 80s occult themed horror flicks. This story, also written by West and set in the early 80s, has financially struggling college student Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) renting an apartment and now trying to figure out how she is going to pay for it. When a babysitting job at a remote house on the edge of town comes up, Samantha takes it despite warnings from her friend Megan (Greta Gerwig) that something isn’t right. When she arrives, Samantha finds a spooky old couple (Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov) and learns she is actually there to keep an eye on their elderly mother and not a child. She decides to decline, but an offer of significantly more money coerces her to stay. As this is a horror film, it’s no secret that this night is not going to proceed quietly for Samantha.

Ti West perfectly recreates one of the horror flicks of this bygone era in every detail from the grainy photography and the camera angles to the hairstyles and fashions. But is it a good horror movie? Yes, it most certainly is. Today’s impatient audiences may not appreciate the slow burn, but West keeps the atmosphere creepy and full of foreboding till the suspenseful and blood-soaked finale act. It’s paced much like a fright flick from that time and it worked perfectly for me. It’s set on the night of a lunar eclipse which sets off our primal fears of something supernatural being afoot and Megan’s warnings make us doubt Sam is making the right decision. All adding to the mood and uneasiness. One of the things I like about West, is that he knows how to create tension with his camera and the composition of his shots, much like vintage John Carpenter. With Samantha being alone in the creepy house by herself, there isn’t a lot of dialogue or exposition, so he keeps things tense by giving the house a constant feeling of dread with his lens. He and cinematographer Eliot Rocket film the big old house with lots of shadows where evil may lurk and there are plenty of rooms with closed doors where who-knows-what may reside. It’s like the house itself is a character and one we know is up to no good.

He also gets good performances from his cast. Donahue, who was seen recently playing Barbara Hershey’s younger self in Insidious: Chapter 2, makes a strong heroine. She’s smart, but her need for cash makes her a bit desperate and thus vulnerable. When the blood hits the fan, she’s a fighter we root for. Veterans Noonan and Woronov play The Ulman’s as a bit eccentric and while they appear harmless, there is something off about them that keep us wary about the two, just as Sam is. Gerwig is a spunky and likable friend and there is a nice cameo by horror icon Dee Wallace as Sam’s landlord.

Like the films it pays homage to, it keeps things unsettling but subtle till West is ready to unleash his horrors and then we are in for a bloody and intense final act where a babysitter’s worst nightmare comes true. Even the climax is right out of a horror flick of that era, subtle and spooky. As a nostalgic trip back to a type of horror they don’t make anymore or for a spooky Halloween treat, I definitely recommend it. A really good old school horror flick.

To check out my review of West’s follow up flick The Innkeepers click here!

3 and 1/2 creepy houses that no one in their right mind would want to babysit in.

house of the devil rating

bars

MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL and SUBURBIA

marquee

Rock__n__Roll_High_SchoolPoster second-feature Suburbia_DVD 

bars

Rock__n__Roll_High_SchoolPoster

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (1979)

Roger Corman produced cult classic featuring legendary punk rockers The Ramones and revolves around their biggest fan, rebellious teen Riff Randall (P.J. Soles), and her efforts to see her favorite band in concert. But, standing in her way is the new stuffed shirt principle, Miss Togar (Mary Woronov) who’s out to stop her, ban Rock ‘N’ Roll and end the fun at Vince Lombardi High School forever. Can Riff and the Ramones save the day for the students of VLHS? Musical comedy is light and fun as directed by Allan Arkush and features a lot of the Ramones music, and who can argue with that! There are a lot of funny set pieces to go along with the great music and most of the characters are played for laughs including Togar and stuffy music teacher Mr. McGee (Paul Bartel). Made in 1979, film is actually ahead of it’s time as it comes across more as an 80’s teen comedy like Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Flick made cult icons out of P.J. Soles, Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel, who himself directed the cult classics Death Race 2000 and Eating Raoul. A fun Rock ‘n’ Roll musical and a must see for Corman and Ramones fans. Also starring Clint Howard, VInce Van Patten and Dey Young as Riff’s best friend, Kate.

MonsterZero NJ trivia: Rock ‘N’ Roll High School was shot by frequent John Carpenter collaborator Dean Cundey (Escape From New York, The Thing).

Available now from the great folks at Shout Factory!

A Rockin’ 3 and 1/2 guitars

guitar rating

bars

Suburbia_DVD

SUBURBIA (1984)

Another Roger Corman produced cult classic about a group of poor urban punk rockers in L.A., who, as outcasts, come together and form the “family” unit, in an abandoned house, that was denied them in their own dysfunctional homes. Director/writer Penelope Sheeris overcomes the minimal acting talent from her cast of unknowns to create a strong, poignant and sometimes shocking portrayal of the poor urban youth during the 80’s era recession, who got caught up in the underground punk movement. Spheeris avoids the stereotypical portrayal of punks that most films, from then till now, have embraced and portrays them as human beings whom society and their own families have cast out. Unfortunately, their need to rebel and non conformist style brings them into conflict with some of the more narrow minded members of their community, as well as, the police… and with tragic results. Suburbia has a raw and gritty realism to it that makes it a surprisingly powerful low budgeter about urban youth and how they are neglected and misunderstood. Features performances by legendary punk bands TSOL and The Vandals.

MonsterZero NJ trivia: Punker Razzle is played by a certain “Mike B. The Flea” … three guesses what Mr. “Flea” does now.

Also available  from the great folks at Shout Factory!

 A Punk Rockin’ 3 and 1/2 guitars
guitar rating

bars