Monday, September 12, 2011


To be sure, I'm a fan of spectacularly failed media. Lately I've been indulging in terrible movie musicals, the most momentous of which I've wintessed recently is definitely Voyage of the Rock Aliens. But V.O.T.R.A.'s availability in the U.S. is nil without some Internet gymnastics. So instead I'll discourse upon my second favorite recent find, 1990's Rockula-- recently rescued from distribution oblivion by the great re-animator that is streaming Netflix.

This is far from the worst movie I've ever seen (though exactly what is the worst movie I've ever seen? That'd be a hard call), but it's really dumb in all the right ways. Best of all, it's the only film I'm aware of to feature appearances by Toni Basil, Thomas Dolby, and-- who else?-- Bo Diddley. That's right. All three of these people in the same film.

The plot concerns a 200-year-old vampire named Ralph LaVie (Dean Cameron) who's been cursed to meet Mona, the reincarnated love of his life, every 22 years. For some reason Mona is always killed by a peg-legged pirate on Halloween night, and this cycle will continue until the curse is broken.

Anyway, Mona's a singer in this era, so Ralph decides to impress her by starting a band called Rockula. Bo Diddley is somehow persuaded to join this combo, which immediately starts playing huge club dates in the way that bands in movies often do. Witness:

Mona, of course, is quite impressed by all this (who wouldn't be?), and lots of romantic comedy stuff ensues. This includes meeting Ralph's mom (Toni Basil), who's also a vampire, and who for some reason decides to regale Mona with the following musical number:

Yep. If you've ever wondered what went on with Ms. Basil between "Mickey" and the choreography for those Gap ads, wonder no more...

But my favorite deliciously terrible moment in this film is, hands down, the big hip hop number. Check this out:

Truly incredible. So it kind of goes on like this... basically a dumb 80s musical romantic comedy, but it plunges into a surreal lack of quality often enough to satisfy. Vinnie Rattolle's terrific blog goes into a lot more detail if you're interested-- this is where I found out about the film in the first place. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. So bad it's GOOD! Thrilled- of course- to find anything with Toni Basil, I may possibly be one of her biggest fans! She did- after all- have the world's first video album ever, etc. Thanks for posting... :-> B