Halloween White Elephant: Black Roses (1988)

Posted by Brian Salisbury - October 21st 2011 @ 10:00 am

From Noah–“BLACK ROSES is not a classic by any means but I personally have a blast with it’s melding of demons and heavy metal. It really is the epitome of 80s horror where they throw logic out the window and just try and go balls out. I feel Brian can often times be sensitive to the B-movie ethics at work in 80s horror, so I figured this would be either a good test of wills for him or hopefully, at best, would add another fun flick to his roster of movies he enjoys.”

When Noah assigned me Black Roses, I have to admit I was both excited and filled with trepidation. While I had often heard this was an incredibly entertaining flick, it resides within a weird substratum of horror of which I am virtually ignorant: heavy metal horror. I had previously seen 1986’s Trick or Treat at Terror Tuesday, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but that was the extent of my foray into the subgenre. So would this sophomore experience prove just as enjoyable…or completely disastrous? My outlook on the situation did immediately improve once I found out my only rental option for this film was VHS.

Black Roses is the story, to use the term loosely, of a rock band that strolls into a small town to play a four-day concert. The parents in town are not happy about this “evil influence” taking seed in their quiet community but, after the least amount of convincing that has ever been necessary to convince anyone of anything, they chill out. But, wouldn’t you know it, the band really is evil and their lyrics soon hypnotize these cutesy little Mayberry sprats into deviant, ugly punks-for-Satan. Now it’s up to super-straight-laced English teacher to save these brats before they off all the other adults and become full-fledged minions of the dark lord.

Whoever told me that this film was entertaining, was truly underselling it. Viewing Black Roses marked possibly the most fun I have ever had watching a VHS tape, and for me that is saying something. This movie is so sincere in its conceit and works hard to erroneously convince us that heavy metal is the catalyst of society’s inevitable downfall and that the youth of the 80s will comprise the armies of the Armageddon. I loved every outlandish, poorly-written second of this cautionary tale gone awry.

There are plenty of demons, monsters, transformations, and other happy things in Black Roses requiring of practical effects. While the budgetary constraints of Black Roses is evident from the get-go, it manages to create some great creatures that are hilariously cheesy when they aren’t borderline outstanding. The long-neck thing that chases the English teacher through his kitchen is especially creepy. The Godzilla-like devil being at the end of the film left a little to be desired, but points for inducing a guffaw or five.

Here’s a little tidbit about Black Roses you may not have known. Dapper friend of the internet, and movie blogger extraordinaire James Rocchi actually has a small role in the film. He plays one of the kids in the heroic English teacher’s class. He’s not easy to make out, especially when watching the film on VHS and the pause function makes everything go all wonky, but he is definitely there. I have just given you everything necessary to ignite your interest in seeing this film. Thanks to Noah for the assignment, I shall be buying a copy of Black Roses very soon.

I loved the movie so much that I made it the subject of last week’s Junkfood Cinema. Feel free to give it a read if you’d like to sample more of my random musings on the film.

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  1. October 24th, 2011 | 12:15 pm | #1

    I would’ve watched this just based on that awesome poster, but the write-up has me hooked. Great review.

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