Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare (1987)

Director John Fasano just may be the Metalsploitation version of George Lucas. He may be one of the best directors in the world. The movie that Fasano first directed solely was the 1987 masterpiece, Rock N Roll Nightmare, also known as The Edge of Hell. This movie was written and produced by the legendary Canadian singer and bodybuilder, Jon Mikl Thor who also starred in the movie.

The movie begins with a family living in a farmhouse in Canada getting killed by a bunch of evil monsters. Fast forward 10 years, as we see a van driving to the abandoned farmhouse. After arriving at the farmhouse, the passengers unload from the van, and we discover they are the metal group, the Tritonz, along with their girlfriends. We become acquainted with the bunch, which includes lovable lead singer John Triton (Thor), his girlfriend Randy (Teresa Simpson), guitarist Max (David Lane), and female keyboardist Dee Dee (Denise Dicandia), who have a crush on each other, bassist Roger Eburt (Frank Dietz), and his wife Mary (Liane Abel Dietz), fauxstralian drummer Stig (Jim Cirile), and the obligatory character who everybody can't wait to see die - Louanne (Jillian Peri), and nerdy manager Phil (Adam Fried).

We find out the band is there to prepare for their new album and tour unaware of everything that has happened at the house 10 years before, and they wonder why no one has set foot in there in all that time. The band begins their daily life of playing music and then making love with their respective partners, unaware that evil forces are still within the house. While performing their song, "We Live to Rock," a strange one-eyed monster spits some goo into Phil's coffee cup which remains to be unseen by anyone, and Phil drinks it unknowingly. Soon enough, one by one, limb by limb, everyone begins disappearing at the hands of the evil forces. At first everyone thinks it's just because they have gone into town without telling anyone. Eventually, only John Triton remains, and he must save the day alone, with a mind-bending surprise ending.

The official soundtrack was done by Thor's metal group, Thor, under the alias The Tritonz. The soundtrack was originally released on vinyl as The Edge of Hell, which the movie was known as in Europe, on GWR Records, and was finally reissued on cd in 2006 on La-la Land Records. The reissued cd contains the metal songs from the movie as well as the background music/score, and even some new bonus tracks. But for now, I will mostly talk about the original metal songs that the band performs in the movie.

1) "Wild Life" (AKA The Edge of Hell)
(written by Thor and Mike Dolgy)
A great heavy W.A.S.P.-esque song that is first heard during the scene with the band driving down the highway in the van. The song was later re-recorded by Thor under the title "Thurderhawk" for his '02 album Triumphant.

2) "Live it Up" (written by Thor)
A great 80's party metal anthem that can be heard a few times during the movie where the band has dinner for the first time in the house.

3) "Heads Will Turn" (written by Elliot Solomon)
A pretty kickass song that is heard during the scene with some of the band members and girlfriends washing dishes before they play music the first time. According to the commentary track on the cd, Thor and Fasano originally wanted to use "Whistle While You Work", but couldn't get the rights, so they wrote this song for the scene.

4) "We Live To Rock" (written by Thor and Steve Price)
Originally off of Thor's '86 album, Recruits: Wild in the Streets, this is an ultra kickass anthem that the band performs when they play at the house for the first time. For this movie, some additional guitar parts were added to the song. This song is probably the most well-known off the soundtrack, and it became a huge hit around the world. Apparently, Canadian guitar hero Aldo Nova does additional guitar and backup vocals on this song.

5) "Energy" (written by Pepi Marchello)
This song also originally appeared on the Recruits album, and it also became a hugely popular hit. It’s also a pretty good melodic metal song that the band performs during their second day at the house.

6) "Danger I'm Mad As Hell" (written by Thor, Price, and Liedtke)
A great very heavy and aggressive song that plays when Stig is taken by the evil forces.

7) "Steal Your Thunder" (written by Thor and Aplin)
Another one of my personal favorites, this "Eye of the Tiger" inspired song plays during the scene where Louanne is taken by the evil forces.

8) "Somewhere When Rises the Moon"
(written by Thor and Dolgy)
A pretty nice song that plays during the shower love scene with John Triton and Randy. The song was later re-recorded under the title "Unchained" for Thor's '98 album, "Thunderstruck: Tales from the Equinox."

9) "We Accept the Challenge" (written by Thor and Dolgy)
An epic power metal anthem that plays during the final battle scene. This song also became hugely popular as well.

"It achieved an enormous cult following and even had some remakes and sequels..."

Overall, this is a fantastic soundtrack for a great movie with lots of molten metal anthems that are comparable to Manowar, but better executed. For a long time, many people did not know who exactly played what on the soundtrack, but from my research I could gather, Thor sings lead vocals on all the songs, and possibly played bass on "Energy". Steve Price, Frank Soda, Adam Riddle, John Tonin, Aldo Nova, and possibly some others, played guitars. Keith Zazzi and Umberto Soda, and possibly some others, played bass. Mike Favata, Benjamin Frith, and possibly some others, played drums. Robin Begg, Elliot Solomon, and Darren Solomon, contributed to playing and possibly some others on keyboards.

Additionally, Don Garbutt, Frank Boehm, Tony Favata, David Alpin, and Darren Solomon were also credited in the end credits, but it doesn't say what instruments they played. It’s possible that there were other musicians playing on the soundtrack too. Thor was the main producer of the soundtrack, and the reissue also has 2 new songs - "Rock N Roll Nightmare", and "Lend Me Your Ears" both of which are both excellent.

Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare is definitely one of the greatest movies of all times. Its chock full of lovable characters, great music and dialogue, cool monster effects, really cool atmosphere, and much more. It achieved an enormous cult following and even had some remakes and sequels such as, Intecessor: Another Rock n Roll Nightmare ('05), Thor: the Rock Opera (2011), and Jesse D'Angelo, who appears as the werewolf boy, is planning a remake in the future called Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare; All Hallow's Eve (which he wants me to work on with him). I have become close friends with a lot of the people from the movie, including Thor, John Fasano, Cynthia Cirile who plays the Mom in the beginning of the movie, as well as being one of the producers, Jesse D'Angelo, Jim Cirile, Frank Dietz, Denise Dicandia, Steve Price, Frank Soda, Mike Favata, and many more. They are a very nice and fun bunch who have told me many stories of the making of the film, such as how freezing it was on the set, and that most of the monster puppets were made in John Fasano's basement, and that many of the puppet creatures were operated by the actors, and that RNRN was one of the first movies to be edited digitally.

It's great that there's such a high demand for this movie, with possibly another remake/sequel on the way, it looks like its legacy will carry on forever! Synapse films released a special DVD of the movie with lots of behind the scenes footage, music videos, commentary track with lots of cool facts, and interviews/feature on Jon Mikl Thor, and much more. The re-issued soundtrack cd from La-La Land records is also highly recommended. Pick 'em up, check 'em out, enjoy, and remember that at Horror Metal Sounds, we accept the challenge, and we live to rock!

Movie filmed in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

Soundtrack recorded at Triton Sound in Ontario and Track Studios in New York ('86-'87).

For a complete list of credits, click here.

Billy Larouqe, HMS

Read the previous installment.