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  Studio 666 Short Road To Ruin
Year: 2022
Director: BJ McDonnell
Stars: Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Rami Jaffee, Chris Shiflet, Whitney Cummings, Jeff Garlin, Leslie Grossman, Jenna Ortega, Martin Matulis, Kerry King, Will Forte, Jason Trost, Lionel Richie, John Carpenter, Jimmi Simpson
Genre: Horror, Comedy, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Dave Grohl (as himself) is leader of the rock group The Foo Fighters, and they are expected to deliver a new album soon. However, as their manager (Jeff Garlin) discovers, this is easier said than done, for according to Dave the album is all in his head and just needs to be channelled out, which basically means, none of it is written, never mind recorded. The manager is furious, but when Dave claims he wants to be inspired by Led Zeppelin style wizards and dragons and shit, the manager thinks he has the ideal solution: a mansion in Encino, California, which has not been used in years: the band can record there...

There's a fine line between cliché and commentary or even send-up, and Studio 666 walked that surprisingly nimbly, but it was not, alas, what people were talking about a week or two after it had been released, for one of the band members, drummer Taylor Hawkins, died from a drugs overdose shortly after the movie had been unleashed on the world. The myths began almost immediately, mostly centred around the two scenes where the band perform a Pearl Jam-esque group high five - as Hawkins is the only person not to complete the gesture, not touching the others' hands, fans saw significance in this relatively small detail.

Obviously nobody could have predicted Hawkins' early death at fifty, and it was pure coincidence that the film supposedly foreshadowed his demise, but the internet loves material such as this so you could expect all sorts of messing with Satan warnings to be associated with the film forever on. However, this effort took all that about as seriously as your average sitcom, undercutting the apparent curse murmurings quite significantly: it was an hour and forty-five-minute goof that thumbed its nose at not only the grim conversations that bands never get along, but also that rock needs the Devil to propagate, reaching back to the unlovely eighties Satanic Panic days.

Studio 666 was simply a very silly movie, a throwback to the splatter comedies of the nineteen-eighties like Re-Animator rather than a serious Devil Worship benchmark such as Rosemary's Baby or The Exorcist, though there was a touch of The Evil Dead in there with the inclusion of a grimoire that contains all sorts of arcane information. A spot of The Shining, too. Not only that, but there was a tape to be played in the basement that inspires Dave to create a song that lasts first twenty minutes and later forty-four minutes and he doesn’t know how to end it, which sounds like a joke based in fact but may merely be one of the cliches the screenplay (from a story by Grohl) set out to skewer with cheery absurdity and copious gore.

Dave turns possessed, you see, and refuses to listen to anybody's advice on the album, and that's not his worst new habit either. He also picks up a taste for human flesh, and if it's not him committing the murders that crop up at regular intervals, then it may be the ghosts of the previous band who tried using the mansion and are now hanging around chopping off the occasional head. It will not surprise you to learn that as musicians The Foo Fighters were no actors, but there was something endearing about the amateurish manner in which they went about their lines, if anything it added to the sense of giddy pantomime that pervaded the atmosphere, albeit a pantomime you would not take the kids to watch. As long as you kept in mind that nothing here was to be taken seriously, and chiefly appeared to have been made so the band could play out their outrageous, ludicrous deaths, you would find much to enjoy. Just a pity it would be tinged with sadness. Music by Ray Mayorga, with a theme by actual John Carpenter (who is one of the celebrity cameos).


Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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