ROCKTOBER BLOOD (1984)

PrintE-mail Written by Nick Spacek

Heavy metal horror was such a short-lived phenomenon in the early ‘80s, one can barely call it a movement in horror cinema. The actual metal-themed horror flicks - ones with a band bringing evil to a town - can be counted on one hand, but to their loyal legions of fans, they’re heads and shoulders above the standard fare of the day.

Like its brethren in Trick or Treat, Black Roses, Hard Rock Zombies, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, et al, Rocktober Blood is just as remembered for its soundtrack as it is for the poorly-acted teased-hair fest which was the movie itself. Most of these flicks revolve around dead rockers coming back to raise hell - usually quite literally - and Rocktober Blood was no exception.

Happily, the soundtrack holds up a lot better than the film itself. Lunaris Records has done metalheads the world over a huge favour by reissuing this collection of tunes, and from the moment it showed up in the mail, we’ve been blasting the hell out of it. The first two cuts, I’m Back and Rainbow Eyes, are obviously the best-known, and really could’ve been issued as a split single, and should’ve been huge hits. I’m Back is a high-voiced bit of glam, and has been the first thing in our heads upon waking up every morning since we first put needle to wax.

The tunes by Headmistress, featuring singer Susie Rose, dominate the soundtrack more than we’d remembered and they range from the Pat Benetar-esque Watch Me Rock to the more Joan Jett take that is Can’t Kill Rock and Roll. They’re arguably more rock ‘n roll than metal proper, but the tunes fronted by the character of Billy Harper, and voiced by former Mott the Hoople frontman Nigel Benjamin - the aforementioned I’m Back, as well as Killer on the Loose are as metal as anything put out in the early ‘80s.

We were just stating the other day that more records need locked grooves, so it’s a happy thing that Watching You - which is actually a pretty tender, if slightly creepy ballad - ends with the sinister repetition of Evil kills ad infinitum until one lifts up the needle from the end of side one. Combined with the very disturbing back-masked take on I’m Back entitled Kcab-Mi, and this is exactly the sort of thing people about which people freaked out during the ‘80s Satanic panic.

The vinyl sounds pretty solid. Our copy came on grey marbled wax, and while a little muddy, still manages to confer all the necessary rock we’d expect from these tracks. There’s an insert with promotional text and a poster for the movie, and we’d totally frame it for the wall if we weren’t such absurd collector nerds. It’s a great package, and just in time for Halloween.

ROCKTOBER BLOOD (1984) / COMPOSER: VARIOUS ARTISTS / LABEL:  LUNARIS RECORDS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 


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