Hard Rock Zombies (1984)

Hard Rock Zombies (1984) Werewolves. Nazis. Dwarves. 80s glam rock. Oh yeah, zombies too. Either you’re in, or we’re not friends anymore.

Everything and the kitchen sink is thrown into Hard Rock Zombies (1985) — a cheesy and unabashedly joyous B-flick in the vein of Return of the Living Dead (1985).

Everything you’d want in an 80s horror camp-fest, I promise you it’s there in first-thing-that-comes-to-mind idiocy that will plaster a smile on your face.

This is definitively not one for the zombie purists out there, but there is a lot of cheesy fun to be had here – the poster and artwork for the film should give you a pretty good taste of what to expect from Hard Rock Zombies.

Every Rose Has Its Bloody Arm Stump

Hard Rock Zombies

Hard Rock Zombies

An 80s glam rock band finds themselves performing in the tiny town of Grand Guignol. With nary a boobie to autograph, the group instead encounters hicks, werewolves, a murderous hitchhiking mistress (her pickup is a total homage to Texas Chainsaw (1974)), and finely dressed, eye-patched dwarves. Don’t you miss the days when you could get away with casually including an eye-patched dwarf on screen? Plus there’s also… Hitler? Yeah, there’s actually a 95-year-old real-life Hitler (vitamins can do wonders).

Alright, so the band’s lead singer falls in love with this local girl named Cassie (Jennifer Coe). And that’s good, because it’s not long before nazi sex perverts murder the band. Cassie calls them all back from the grave using a song from the Middle Ages that the band recorded. They all come back to—hopefully—save Cassie and her little town from an old man Hitler (Jack Bliesener), his wife Eva Braun (Nadia), and their very own army of zombies. Historical accuracy is paramount here: Hitler’s wife was actually named Eva Braun.

You gotta look past the gross German stereotyping and just about every single appearance of a dwarf, but also know that this movie was originally intended to be a farce. The team was only planning on making a 20-minute long short feature to use as the film playing in American Drive-In (1985) — a movie within a movie. They decided to throw a bit more money at it and extend it to feature-length, I’m assuming because they were having so much damn fun.

Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through

Hard Rock Zombies

Hard Rock Zombies

It’s impossible for you not to have a good time along with the Hard Rock Zombies cast. Who among us can’t enjoy a montage of 80s glam rock music video tomfoolery? And how is it that the songs in the film are actually so good? Real-life glam rocker Paul Sabu (David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Madonna, Prince) was enlisted to write the soundtrack.

The ballads are real, and “Cassie’s Song” would make Meatloaf jealous. (Side note: amazing as the soundtrack is — and it really does rule — how is it that glam rockers really thought they were, like, rocking as hard as they could? The band’s opening number sounds more like Elvis Costello, complete with a Toni Basil “Hey Mickey” organ. I love it, but I’m just saying.)

Everything comes with a heaping spoonful of stick-it-to-the-man and enough laugh out loud turns to hold your interest. The only way camp of this variety works is if you go whole hog, and Hard Rock Zombies knows exactly what it’s doing—I think. It never once apologizes for being what it is, and never once apologizes for ROCKIN’ AND ROLLIN’. Death to the squares, hail satan, and glam rock forever. You’ll enjoy this one.

Watch the trailer for Hard Rock Zombies:

Useful links:

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As mentioned, the soundtrack for ‘Hard Rock Zombies‘ is a lot of fun, and it was composed and performed by Paul Sabu. If you are into hair metal and power-ballards, it actually stands up as a record in its own right – if you had never heard of the film and didn’t know that it was a soundtrack that you were listening to, then you’d probably be in soft-rock heaven. You can read more about the soundtrack here: Hard Rock Zombies soundtrack.

Written by: Ben Mueller