Rocktober Blood 1984 Review
Posted by Luisito Joaquín González
Rocktober Blood 1984
aka Concierto de Sangre
Directed by: Beverley and Ferd Sebastian
Starring: Tray Loren, Donna Scoggins, Cana Cockrell
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
Ferd Sebastian woke up one sunny morning in 1983 to a hot cup of coffee that his wife, Beverley had made for him. The pair headed out on to the patio for their morning cigarette and the conversation turned to a common topic in the Sebastian household, filmmaking. “You know what honey bun?” started Ferdinand, “Those slasher movies are making a tidy profit nowadays”. Beverley looked up from her mug and said, “Yeah, but they’ve all been doner than done by now”. There was a moment of silence as both contemplated the possibilities. Suddenly, Ferd looked up like he had been possessed by the ghost of inspiration and responded, “You’re right, but none of them actually ROCK now do they?” “A slasher movie by the Sebastians (or as it says in the credits ‘Sebastian’s’) would ROCK like a cradle on a cliff top!” With that sentence, Rocktober Blood was born…
Ferdinand and Beverley met at a roller rink before they were twenty, got married within days and have been together ever since. With the new husband being a photographer, he managed to get work on some TV commercials and that allowed him to scrimp together enough money to fund his own feature with his significant other. Throughout the seventies they released a few intriguing sexually charged exploitation pieces including one proto-slasher, Bloody Friday. By the time that the slasher boom was in full swing, they were amongst a few former exploitation hacks that had found that their hunger for film was revitalised by the boom of the slasher genre and the Sebastians felt at home as this was a style of film not too dissimilar to one of their previous efforts.
The story here is almost as hammy as the actors playing the parts. After Billy Harper, the lead singer of a popular metal band, is caught, convicted and electrocuted for 25 murders, his former squeeze and backing vocalist, Lynne Starling, takes over lead voice duties. Now called ‘Headmistress’ the newly put-together group embark on a global tour with their successful new image. Things are going rocktastically well, until Lynne is visited briefly by the guy that her witness testimony sent to the electric chair. She warns everyone in a panic that it looks like Billy is back from the grave, but of course no one believes her. Before long people begin disappearing and the truth is revealed…
Like many phases that have passed in decades gone by, Heavy Metal seems so distant that it could be referenced alongside the death of the dinosaurs nowadays. But back in its time, this was the music that summed up the rebellion of youth with its audacious fashions and explicit lyrics. I can remember having hair longer than my mum as a nine-year-old and a leather jacket with a Faster Pussycat tag sewed on the back. I swapped reading Kerrang! for Four Four Two many Halloweens ago, but for a moment this brought all those memories flooding to my mind and it was like I had been transported back to the small room in London with a Hi-Fi and a Wraithchild LP. Oh the joys…
Rocktober Blood has that kind of effect on you and its a capsule that only those who were alive during those times can truly enjoy. As a slasher movie, it’s pretty poor and awfully padded. There’s one part where the final girl pleads with her friends to help her prove that Billy has returned from the beyond and so they drive out in the pitch black of night to dig up his grave. I can see the point of including it as a method of building the plot, but it could have been cut down by about five minutes and still had the same effect on the story. The film starts rapidly, with numerous killings in the opening twenty minutes and an overload of screams, hard rock-a-hula, knifes, boobs and bad acting. You could hit fast forward straight after those initial few minutes though, at least until the final scene, because it becomes somewhat bloated in the mid-section and doesn’t really take anything anywhere.
When we are given our explanation for Billy’s re-emergence, which I won’t spoil for you here (you’ll easily work it out though) the movie makes the most of its theme to offer a splendid closing sequence. The killer jumps on to the stage in a demon mask and takes to the m.i.c, dismembering three dancers with a kind of sword/microphone-stand device. He even goes as far as to throw a decapitated head in to the baying crowd who think it’s all part of the act! If you still have a soft spot for this kind of metal (the songs were performed by Sorcery, a Hollywood based group from that period) then you will surely dig the soundtrack and there’s some fairly gooey killings too. Now in a movie this fast paced and poorly put together you can pretty much forgive the lack of any character development for the victims, because hey; they’re only there to die, right? Well the thing that got me about Rocktober Blood though is that the last four or five females look like they may have been played by the same actress? Anyone else notice that?
Some of the photography is impressive, especially in the rock concert and lakeside scenes, but technically that’s about all that there is of note. The movie has some of the worst and most laughably amateur actors that I have ever seen, especially Nigel Benjamin who played the plum accented Chris. Interestingly enough, he was the lead singer for glam metal titans, London at around the same time that Nikki Sixx played for them. Another issue is the fact that the story is also quite jumbled, confused and poorly scripted. It is only salvaged by some fantastic dialogue and lines like, “I want blood. I want your hot steaming pussy blood all over my face!”
Rocktober Blood is a one of a kind slasher flick that everyone needs to see. I enjoyed it because it is outrageously eighties in every sense and includes a great killer mask, a gang of the worst actors since Eldorado went off air, a workout scene that sees three bunnies bounce like chickens whilst delivering lines with no sentence structure and a snarlingly characteristic and cheesetastic bogeyman. Where else can you find all of that under 85 minutes, huh?
On a side note, all the films I feature, I have on VHS and DVD, but I never ever thought to buy the soundtracks. That’s foolish on my part, because if I had the original of this, I could whack it on eBay and it would go for about £500. It’s become a real collector’s item
Final Girl √