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Fasano, John (Director)
Black Roses (DVD)
March 2015
Released: 2007, Synapse
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

The Black Roses movie soundtrack still gets rotation in my player today. David Michael Phillips, Hallow’s Eve, Lizzy Borden and of course the ‘Black Roses’ super-group (which was basically King Kobra with Alex Masi) it was (is) one of the quintessential 80’s horror movie sound tracks. I only ever saw the movie once when it came out (on VHS naturally) but the soundtrack stayed with me. In 2007 Synapse Films reissued the movie on DVD and it gave me a chance to revisit it.

BLACK ROSES has been re-mastered. It sounds and looks great. There aren’t many bonus features just some audio commentary and trailers for the film. Let’s face it, there were a lot of sub-grade horror movies in the 80’s and this was certainly one of them. I’m a huge fan of the genre and a fan of the movie (enough to buy it on DVD) but even I realize it is not very well done, in terms of plot, acting, dialogue, special effects etc. Setting aside film as ‘art’ and looking at BLACK ROSES for what it is, it’s a classic.

The plot is essentially a commentary on the real life scenario involving the moral panic surrounding heavy Metal in the 80’s fuelled by the PRMC and the unfortunate suicides of a few teenagers and the parents who tried to blame (and sue) Heavy Metal artists. The youth of generic small town America bring in the band Black Roses, which naturally start to corrupt everyone because they are well…demons in disguise. There is a decent amount of gratuitous nudity, an oxymoron if I ever heard one, to give it that spark for a horror film. There are some funny and innovative kills and death scenes. The demon in the stereo speaker still makes me laugh! That will teach that mean ol’ father not to yell at his kid, turn off his Lizzy Borden record and make him go do chores! Elsewhere, the parents protest, the concerts go on, more people start to be bad, more people get killed and then all hell breaks loose. I won’t spoil it much more.

There is a large amount of nostalgia for me when viewing this film, even though I didn’t see it over and over and over in the 80’s like some did. Lizzy Borden features prominently in the soundtrack especially the song ‘Me Against The World’ which is still one of my favourite, teen-rebellion-anthems for me, even to this day. Trivia fans will want to watch for cameos by Carmine Appice.

Younger Metal fans may just view this as a bizarre curiosity but for older fans who grew up in the 80’s; pair this movie up with TRICK OR TREAT and ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE and you have the (un)holy trinity of 80’s demon Metal horror movies and a perfect movie night! You may have noticed that in this review I did not once stoop to making cheap jokes about mullets or 80’s fashion. You’re welcome.
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