DVD REVIEW: SUCK / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ROB STEFANIUK / SCREENPLAY: ROB STEFANIUK / STARRING: ROB STEFANIUK, JESSICA PARÉ, PAUL ANTHONY, MALCOLM MCDOWELL / RELEASE DATE: MAY 4TH
Suck is a curious addition to the horror/comedy genre in that it is both horrific and funny as well as being a musical… well, in as much as the protagonists are a struggling band that perform to unappreciative audiences in seedy, whisky-soaked dives.
Suck is the creation of its writer, director, actor and author of seven of the film's original songs, Rob Stefaniuk (if you want something doing right…). The Winners are a failing rock band that suddenly discover the beginnings of fame and success when their bass player (Paré) becomes a hypnotically alluring vampire. But their rising notoriety soon earns them the unwanted attention of Eddie van Helsin (Malcolm McDowell), a vampire hunter who has sworn to slay the vampire that killed his wife.
Being as this is a Canadian film, the humour is much dryer than what their neighbours south of the border might produce, but if you like your humour delivered deadpan (pun intended) then you’ll find Suck to be a very amusing movie indeed. One comedic little gem is in the matter-of-fact way the band’s manager (Kids in the Hall’s Dave Foley) greets a near death groupie that has inadvertently become the bands post-gig snack. Chris Ratz. as the bands French-Canadian roadie Hugo, gives a wonderfully subtle performance as a man whom craves immortality. Instead he not only has to lug the bands equipment about, he’s also charged with corpse disposal which slowly drives him into the arms of insanity. Think Renfield and you’ll get the idea.
As you would expect from a film that centres on a rock band, there are music references aplenty as well as some great cameos from rock royalty. Alice Cooper effortlessly portrays a bar tender that is anything but what he appears to be. He has plans for The Winners. Iggy Pop plays the bands producer, a man who has been in the music business so long that vampires are nothing unusual to him. And then there’s vegan Moby, who plays the frontman of a band called Steak, a band that relishes having raw, bloody meat thrown at them by their adoring audience. Henry Rollins is perfect as an opinionated radio DJ, Dimitri Coats as the hypnotically creepy Anne Rice-style-like vampire Queeny and Rush’s Alex Lifeson as an NRA card carrying US border guard round off the cameos.
Stefaniuk does an amazing job as director on this his first feature. He skilfully uses footage of a young McDowell from O Lucky Man! in a flashback sequence. But there is very occasionally the sense that, with juggling so many balls, the narrative flow does slightly go off track. However, the instantly likeable characters, impressively stylish visuals, catchy tunes and clever use of stop-motion travel scenes more than atone for any of the films short comings.
Not only is Suck genuinely worthy of the comedy/horror moniker but it’s also an effective little treatise about just how far a struggling band will go in order to make it into the big time, and that you can’t escape what fate has in store for you, be it good or bad.
Special Features: “Down to the Crossroads or: How to Make a Movie SUCK” featurette / Audio commentary / Trailer