Starring Jon Mikl Thor, Craig Bowlsby, Brad Pope, Sharon MacDonald, Melissa Ellingham
Directed by Benn McGuire and Jacob Windatt
What the @*#% was that crap?
I should I have known I was in for quite an experience when the film opened with a montage composed of still photos and flash animation and followed it up with an opening credits sequence set to the tune of the kind of hair metal I thought had completely gone out of style about 15 years ago before the actual movie started and revealed the kind of production values and cinematography that makes one realize that what they’re about to watch isn’t an actual movie but somebody’s home movie masquerading as a real film. Then the actors began “acting” and it confirmed that not only was this really someone’s home movie, it was an amateur home movie of the worst kind. It’s like none of the advances in digital movie filmmaking that have taken place the past few years ever happened and we’re back to making digital movies that look like somebody got some friends together, put them in costumes and had them recite dialogue while being filmed with a little handheld digital camera, and then inserted some cheaply animated digital effects in post-production. But then, as I would soon come to learn the hard way, shoddy production values were only part of the film’s problems.
Intercessor: Another Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare is a sequel of sorts to a mostly forgotten 1980s heavy metal themed horror flick called Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare. How forgettable was that film? I know I saw it a long time ago but I’ll be damned if I could recall a single moment from it, and keep in mind I’m someone that can recount actual storylines used on episodes of “Madame’s Place.” You don’t have to have seen the original to watch this one since the only thing they have in common are star and heavy metal musician Jon Mikl Thor apparently playing the same character he did in the original, although you’d never really know it other than a barely hinted at reference to the first film in the opening prologue. Since I know trying to explain the film’s stunningly overwrought plot will only result in confusion and cerebral trauma (at least that’s how it affected me), I’m just going to reprint for you the synopsis from the back of the DVD box and go on from there.
“Almost twenty years have passed since John Triton expelled the forces of evil from the earth. Now, he wanders the countryside in search of his forgotten past.
Meanwhile, a feud between Zompira, the lord of the undead, and Mephisto, a dark sorcerer from the depths of hell, has brought chaos onto the world of the living once again. A spell has allowed them to come to earth with the intent to corrupt and devour the souls of the innocent. Mephisto decides young Laura, the picture of innocence, is a prize target and sends his minions The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Four Elemental Demonesses to corrupt her in her dreamworld. Zompira, sensing a sweeter victim, sends the undead after the beautiful and kind Julie, whose friendship has won over the heart of Harry, a physically challenged young man. Now, Harry must leave his recluse life of comics to wield his crutch as a weapon against flesh-eating guardians and the zombie captors of his beloved Julie.
Battle rages as Harry, the Intercessor, and a mysterious Space Goddess, combine their strengths to overthrow the undead lords.”
Got all that? No? Good. Let’s move on.
Intercessor: Another Rock ‘N’ Roll opens with three guys that look like the members of the world’s worst Ramones tribute band. Actually, two of them looked like members of a Ramones tribute band; the other looked like the 2nd runner-up in a Horshack look-a-like contest. I don’t know why I’m bothering to mention them because they are very minor characters that have nothing to do with the actual plot.
So there’s this scrawny goth teenager named Harry scribbling comic book doodles while talking to someone on a walkie-talkie; the voice of the female on the other end sounds like its coming from someone in the room standing right behind him and not like a voice coming out of a walkie-talkie. I honestly didn’t realize until the camera zoomed in on the walkie-talkie that he was actually talking to someone through the walkie-talkie and not to an imaginary voice coming from lord knows where.
Harry’s right leg and right arm are in braces and he walks around with crutch. This makes him look like Tiny Tim (the one from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and not the oddball musician with the ukulele) if he grew up to be a Marilyn Manson fanatic. Harry’s got issues because his older brother was killed in an accident. His only friend is the girl that lives across the street who talks to him via walkie-talkie.
We’re then introduced to Jon Mikl Thor as The Intercessor. The Jon Mikl Thor that starred in the original Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare looked like a bodybuilder version of Dee Snider. The Jon Mikl Thor of this film looks more like the dad from “American Chopper” dressed like Darth Vader who occasionally dons a Spencer’s Gifts quality Quiet Riot mask whenever a battle ensues.
Mephisto is a dead ringer for Brain Guy from the Sci-Fi Channel seasons of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” albeit minus the pale white skin. Death itself is brought to life via a man in a ridiculously cartoonish looking Halloween costume; the outlandish skull mask I’d swear I’ve seen for sale in a costume shop somewhere in the past few years. And Zompira came across to me as what I imagine Ben Stiller would be like if he were playing Dracula. The other characters’ costumes, make-up, props, and set pieces are worthy of a local Halloween haunted house, as is the acting.
Folks, Kaiju Big Battel has better acting, better action, and better production values than this film and I’m talking about the Kaiju Big Battel of five years ago.
You’ve heard of movies where the boom mics can be seen in a particular? There are scenes in Intercessor where you actually see the wireless microphones the actors are wearing.
So Harry ends up running around fighting the forces of darkness in what looks to be an Evel Knievel football helmet, a set of homemade shoulder pads, and wielding his mighty crutch as a weapon. Because the forces of darkness are fundamentally retarded, they instantly assume this idiot is their most feared foe, the Intercessor. All of this is moot anyways since Harry’s character soon vanishes from the film as the primary plot shifts to Jon Mikl Thor’s plight. The actual Intercessor gets his powers back (Don’t ask!) and finds himself having to protect this young red-headed girl of I’d reckon about 8 or 9 years of age (she also happens to be the best actor in the film although that’s hardly high praise in this case) that the forces of darkness are after for reasons to needlessly convoluted to explain. See the synopsis above. Simply put, the whole fate of the world hangs around this child’s head and the Intercessor must come to her rescue.
The plot is also punctuated by sporadic black & white flash animation sequences that are designed to further the plot but instead come across as a parody Strongbad would come up with.
And then there’s the heavy metal soundtrack. All I’ll say about it is that there’s a good reason why this particular style of metal has long since gone out of style.
Now I’ll give the filmmakers credit for coming up with such an imaginative, if inherently goofy plot, but that’s about the only praise I can heap upon Intercessor: Another Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare. It’s clearly a story far more ambitious than it’s capable of being on the obviously meager budget, but there’s only so much one can excuse because of the lack of funds. As campy as the film is at times and unintentionally funny it is at others, most of the time I was either confused by the astoundingly muddled way in which the story played out or bored by the succession of scenes in which the various characters stand around or sit around and talk about what they’re going to do, what somebody else is going to do, how much they enjoy what little they are doing at that very moment, or worried that the Intercessor is going to show up and interrupt all the joy they are having sitting or standing around plotting and cackling about whatever they are doing at the moment.
When the film’s action scenes do kick into gear they’re, well… How do I put this kindly? They’re some of the most pathetic displays of cinematic action you’re likely to ever see. We’re talking public access television quality Mortal Kombat.
No matter how intentionally campy Intercessor: Another Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare may have intended to be, the truth is that the film is so damn bad that even the intentionally campy stuff comes across as being unintentionally awful. I’d be lying if I said the film didn’t invoke some serious laughter from me early on but the novelty soon wore off and the agony kicked in with a vengeance. Hey, I’m a guy that can enjoy a fun bad movie; I’m even the one usually advocating them to you in my reviews, but this was just too much and by around the 35-minute mark I was already beginning to feel like I was trapped in a rock ‘n’ roll bad amateur home movie nightmare and there was no Intercessor in sight to rescue me.
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