One of the many fads of the 80's included gimmicky satanic rock bands such as Gwar. Naturally, the film industry wanted to capitalize on this fad by creating a number of horror rock films such as "Trick Or Treat," "Rock "N' Roll Nightmare," and "Black Roses." As it is the horror film season, Synapse Films decided to release "Black Roses" on DVD. To my surprise, the film isn't as bad as it sounds.
The story: The rock group the Black Roses has decided to perform in a small town called Mill Basin. The parents and adults of the peaceful town object to the band playing because of their satanic lyrics. As it turns out, the parents were right as the Black Roses corrupt the youth by turning some of them into murdering demons. Can the town be saved?
If "Black Roses" sounds like a corny 80's horror satire about music corrupting kids, that's because it is. The movie is riddled with lame music lyrics like "It's a rock invasion/We're coming down to rock your town" and even lamer scenes such as a demon who lives in a speaker and swallows a man whole (the man is played by a young Vincent Pastore of "The Sopranos" fame). As if the film couldn't get any cornier, the Black Roses lead singer is named Damian. How obvious can you get? As corny as the film is, however, the 86 minute running time flies by and the film is generally watchable if you dig bizarre 80's cult films like I do.
The highlight of the film is unquestionably the demon makeup. With most fairly low budget horror films, the creature designs tend to look cheap and hokey. That is not the case here. The wide variety of demon designs are both unique and fun to watch on screen.
The 16:9 Anamorphic widescreen picture quality has been mastered in hi-def, although you can't really tell. The picture still looks fuzzy and grainy most of the time. Still, I have to give the restoration team props for cleaning up the print a bit. I can't imagine how bad the original print looked.
The original Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track works well. The music and dialogue both come through the speakers clearly enough. I have no real complaints.
The disk contains a theatrical promo trailer, a Canne film festival promo, and audition videotape excerpts for the role of Damian. An audio commentary with John Fasano, Cindy Sorrell, Carla Ferrigno, Lucia Fasano, and John Cody has also been included. To be quite honest, this has to be the most obnoxious commentary track. John Fasano put his little daughter Lucia Fasano on the track. Kids do not belong on a commentary track, especially when they keep yelling "Yay!" and giggle throughout the film. The rest of the track consists of a lot of praise for everyone involved in the production and mentioning how crew members are related (an actor is the son of the screenwriter, the composer is is related to the producer, etc.)
Fans of 80's rock horror movies will no doubt want to buy "Black Roses." For everyone else, its worth a rent if you enjoy cheesy cult horror movies.
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.