“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Blood Tracks

I noticed there are a couple still-only-on-VHS horror movies that are heavy metal themed, and that also seems to be a motif through some of the modern horror I’ve been enjoying like DEVIL’S CANDY and MANDY, so I decided to take a look at them in this special Slasher Search investigation (in association with Tape Raider). This first one is from 1985 and it’s about a hair metal or whatever type of band who make two major mistakes

1) For some reason thinking that a remote mountain area is a cool place to film their new video

2) Choosing the remote mountain area that’s protected by a family of anti-social brutes.

3) You know what, I’m gonna count #1 as two mistakes because why they hell did they think this would look cool in a video? It doesn’t even look cool in a horror movie.

In the prologue, a mother kills her abusive, alcoholic husband in self defense and runs off with her four young sons. In case we can’t make the connection between them and the killers later there’s a brief, one-time-only explanation from a wildlife documentary style narrator: “For the next forty years the family hid out in the middle of nowhere. Now intruders are on their way.”

Said intruders are the super-famous band Solid Gold, played by Swedish glam metal band Easy Action. They’re welcomed into town by a bunch of fans but then never bothered again. I’m not sure what the original plan was, but while they’re there the director spots a condemned factory where, of course, the family are living, now looking like savage mutants.

Again I must emphasize that the interior of an abandoned factory in, say, the outskirts of L.A., would look about the same as the one on top of the mountain that’s only accessible by helicopter. Also, I think I just figured out why the factory didn’t continue to operate.

Disappointingly, the band, with their big hair and makeup and stuff, don’t get to be the heroes. That’s left to the normal people, like the helicopter pilot, the makeup lady and a guy who looks like Kenny Rogers. The band mostly just hook up with the poor video girls who have to dance in the snow in their lingerie (“I’m gonna freeze my tits off”). The most they do is dig one of their members and his naked girlfriend out when an avalanche buries them in the trailer.

The first guy to get killed is wandering around the factory with a boom mic recording natural sounds. I don’t know why he needs that – does Solid Gold do Michael Jackson style short films?

There’s alot of time spent analyzing footage and sound recordings for evidence of spooky shit. Also, the ol’ trying to get the radio to work. I did not feel attached to any of the characters or remember who was who exactly, and that includes the villains.

One of the better parts is when one of the band members brings his fur-coat wearing lady into the factory for the ol’ “they’re coming to get you Barbara” scene where he is very half-assedly acting “scary” and she keeps telling him to knock it off. Then one of the savages pulls him around a corner and throws his bloody severed head over. Not sure what he does with the body. Maybe saved it to sell to the Hard Rock Cafe or something. Another Solid Golder gets killed while peeing naked.

One of the victims is unusually inquisitive when he comes face to face with the killers. “What did they do? Linda? Why Linda? Tell me. Why are you doing this to us?” I feel like most people, when attacked by feral berserkers, wouldn’t try to ask about motive. To be fair, one of the family does know how to speak, and does know better. He says “They’re animals, but they’re still my brothers.” Which is how shit like this happens. You gotta be able to put your family, your peers, etc. in line when you know they’re in the wrong.

The end is kind of funny. One of the brothers gets his arm chopped off, and one of the survivors sees a crucifix in his hand, and she reaches down and takes it. (It must’ve belonged to one of the band members?) The survivors escape in a helicopter, like DAWN OF THE DEAD. But Susie or whoever whimpers “Oh my god, he’s still down there.” And we see the mutant holding a heated shovel to his bloody arm stump.

This represents the endless cycle of abuse. They’ll fly far away and never come back, but she knows this guy is out there, alive, and she’ll never be free of that trauma.

I mean, I’m assuming it represents that because it’s too sad to think they might’ve thought they were gonna make a sequel.

There’s a sticker on the VHS cover that says “FROM THE MAKERS OF A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.” That doesn’t refer to Wes Craven or even New Line Cinema, but the financing company Smart Egg Pictures. The produced the first five ELM STREETs and they did CRITTERS the year after this one.

It was filmed in Sweden, with many Swedish-sounding names on the crew, and much of it seems dubbed, but IMDb says it’s a UK production. It was director Mats Helge Olsson’s followup to NINJA MISSION. Sexploitation vet Derek Ford (I AM A GROUPIE, SUBURBAN WIVES) is “associate director.”

I cannot say I got much out of this one, but I recommend it to all Easy Action fans, which I assume after some research is a thing that exists. Turns out they released two albums on Sire Records, and the reason they only lasted about five years is that their guitarist, Kee Marcelo, quit to join the band Europe. They reformed in 2006 and last month they were on tour with Dinosaur Jr.

NOTE: I actually couldn’t find the VHS on Amazon, and they do have a DVD, but it doesn’t look very legit.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 at 10:20 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

12 Responses to “Blood Tracks”

  1. There are so many movies about inbred and savage cannibal families hiding in the woods or the mountains, yet we never got a real Sawney Bean movie, I think. Okay, it seems like historians are still fighting over the credibility of the story in the first place, but a whole different historical “maybe it never happened” horrorstory, gave us BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF! Someone really needs to get on that!

  2. CJ Holden, there’s a couple flicks that deal with decendants of Sawney Bean’s clan, but none that are directly about him I’m aware of. “Sawney: Flesh Of Man” and “Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain” (there’s a workprint cut of this that I recall has more gore and whatnot in it).

  3. The Easy Action that tours with Dinosaur Jr is a garagey punk band with John Brannon of Negative Approach and Laughing Hyenas, not the Swedish hairspray metal poodles. The latter is funny to imagine, though.

    BLOOD TRACKS bummed me out. I love the cartoonish depictions of “punks” and “metalheads” you get from square 80’s genre filmmakers trying to make sense of/exploit fashionable alternative lifestyles and cultural counter-currents (shame we never got a hip-hop themed HILLS HAVE EYES clone or whatever), but the Swedes couldn’t figure out the recipe and leaned too hard on boring side characters wandering around and other slasher bugbears. ROCKTOBER BLOOD makes the smart decision to put its heavy metal clowns front and center and is better for it.

  4. Thanks, zero, that clears it up. I was very confused as to what turn of events could possibly lead to Dinosaur Jr touring with an 80s Swedish hair metal band.

  5. grimgrinningchris

    October 17th, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Both EASY ACTIONs did have the good taste to name themselves after a line in “When You’re A Jet” from West SIde Story.

    Did you already review Trick Or Treat (not, Trick R Treat)? Must investigate.

  6. grimgrinningchris

    October 17th, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Oh wow… you never did. Yeah, gotta do Trick Or Treat. Mid-80s attempt to cross Freddy Krueger with satanic-panic by way of butt rock heavy metal. Cameos from Ozzy and Gene SImmons (though the box cover would lead you to believe they star. It ACTUALLY stars Skippy from Family Ties and some dude that was a Solid Gold wrestler.

    A movie a actually like quite a bit even if it doesn’t really stick its landing.

    Oddly enough, directed by Terry The Toad from American Graffiti.

    With the fictional band’s music by Fastway… 80s metal/hard rock band fronted by Dave King who would, much later, find success fronting the celt-punk band Flogging Molly.

    Yeah, see and review Trick Or Treat for this… not SLASHER, but still heavy metal horror with slasher elements, so…

    Also, the recently released American Satan (which I liked) and Deathgasm (which I didn’t) fall into heavy metal horror… though definitely not a slashers.

  7. Slasher search forever, woo-hoo! And I gotta second TRICK OR TREAT, especially for this year’s search. I saw it at the Alamo a couple of years ago (and in the theater when it came out!), and I not only predict that you’ll love it, but it’s pretty much tailor-made for what you’re looking for this year.

    BTW, just saw THE SISTERS BROTHERS and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes great acting and pretty scenery.

  8. grimgrinningchris

    October 18th, 2018 at 5:12 am

    *Solid Gold DANCER, rather…

  9. I have a suggestion. I see you’ve reviewed Invasion, but I don’t see any prior IofTBS, particularly the 1978 version. Maybe I’m just missing them on the site somewhere, cuz I feel like I’d read those once upon a time, but I’d enjoy reading those.

  10. Yeah, TRICK OR TREAT is really solid, the kind of quasi-slasher that takes its characters and stakes seriously enough to get you invested, but also isn’t above being silly and trying to think of imaginative rock-and-roll themed deaths.

    But if you really want A+ weirdo Metalsploitation/Horror, there’s no avoiding the films of John Fasano: ROCK N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE and BLACK ROSE. Deeply ridiculous and chock full of monster puppets and terrible music breaks. Ironic enjoyment, to be sure, but absolutely enjoyable.

    I did a series on Metalsploitation horror movies a while back, including DUNGEONMASTER, DEATHGASM, ROCKTOBER BLOOD, TRICK OR TREAT, HARD ROCK ZOMBIES, and ROCK N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE, but there are plenty more… TERROR ON TOUR, MONSTER DOG, and arguably SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II.

    http://wearecursedtoliveininterestingtimes.blogspot.com/2016/08/trick-or-treat-1986.html

  11. grimgrinningchris

    October 18th, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Good to see some love for Trick Or Treat… I really dig that movie and also saw it in theaters on original release (in the second run dollar theater, but still…) I was glad to see the RedLetterMedia guys enjoy it too on one of the Halloween episodes of Best Of The Worst a while back.

    Also, I dunno what I was thinking earlier, attributing “Easy Action” to WEST SIDE STORY’s “When You’re A Jet”… that line was actually in “Cool” (still from WSS though).

  12. I second Subtlety’s mention of MONSTER DOG above – ok, it’s sort of a werewolf movie, but it has Alice Cooper in a major role! C’MON.

    Great series, Vern!

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