Monday, January 20, 2014

Hair Band Horror Series Part 2 Terror on Tour

Hello and welcome back to another installment of hair metal horror. Today's film is Terror on Tour, a film that has been sadly maligned, lost in time, and having never seen release beyond VHS. Not everyone likes it,however, I happen to enjoy this film a lot. It's known for it's wooden and often cheesy acting, and super low budget. I should also note, it's the same director who did the infamous Ilsa films. Considering the budget and limitations of the film, I think it succeeds as a low budget 80's metal slasher. The film kind of falls into a grey area, at 1980 we weren't yet into the full swing of what became known as hair metal. The music falls somewhere between glam rock, 70's arena rock, and metal. But I feel it belongs amongst the ranks of other metal slashers nonetheless. One wonders at first if it was intentional how close the band looks like Kiss, but during the back story, you quickly learn it is no accident. The lead singer wants to leave, and perform power ballads,and we are treated to a performance of the Clown's verison of "Beth" that they call "Lisa" The movie starts off in the middle of a rock gig featuring the main characters of the film, the "Clowns" a rock band with a glam flair. They wear black and white clown make up, poofy black afros, white phantom masks, and black spandex jump suits with red capes. The suits are cut low to show off their hairy chests, and chain necklaces. Their gimmick is to dismember a mannequin and send the parts off into the audience, which apparently results in violent mosh pits. Additionally, they fake murder a woman from the audience, to the delight of everyone. The clowns are in fact a real live band called "The Names", a band that broke up and was brought back together for their first acting gig, starring in this 80s rock and roll slasher. I can't fault them for their poor acting, they aren't even actors to begin with, but they get the job done. While the music gig is going on, we are introduced to a sleazy producer and two guys whose purpose I dont fully understand, but one guy likes to wear the clown make up, even though he's not actually one of the clowns. The band is aware he does this, and says it's because it helps him hook up with the ladies. It's somewhat hard to follow what's going on, because everyone looks the same, in make up and out. Which is a benefit to the film when suddenly the real violence begins. It starts with a female drug dealer who is killed while waiting for her money. The film than quickly shifts focus to giving us a quick look into the band's "shag pad" complete with water beds, a pool table shaped like an octagon, and groovy 70's era furniture. The film is from 1980, and it wasn't quite yet time for pastel colors and shoulder pads. WHile the police try to solve the woman's murder, we quickly go into familiar 80's slasher territory, as the band unwinds by doing lots of dope, and having sex with lots of groupies. But, the killer clown appears, we can't tell who it is because he looks like every other clown, but he quickly begins to kill off naked groupie chick after naked groupie chick. The incompetent police, and their bait hooker fail to catch our killer, until it's too late for them all. Before the film comes to an end, we get bits and pieces of back story of various band members, as the film tries to make you think it's one guy, than another. But the film really points towards the guy who walks around in clown make up, and sets up a motive by his reading aloud a letter from Mom that urges him to resist temptation and not fall prey to Satan.Surely this has to be the guy, right? Well I won't spoil it, in case you happen to dig this up on VHS, butI felt the reveal was rewarding enough and not what I expected, although the ending was a bit abrupt, I didn'tthink it was a let down. If you can find a copy, it's worth checking out, I for one appreciate films where the ending is not spoon fed to you, and you have to work a bit to figure things out.

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