Sunday, October 14, 2012

30 Days of Fright - 13: Suck

I like a wide variety of musical types, bands, and singers, but I know that the bands and music I would consider to be my favourites do not appeal to everyone, as most people are plebs with no taste. Knowing that taste is such an important factor in music it takes a brave soul to set out to make a film, in or around the horror genre, about music and bands and things, as no matter what direction you go with it you're likely to annoy someone. Unless the music you choose is Norwegian Black Metal as anyone with any class at all loves that shit.

Really, what's not to like?

"The Winners" are the band at the heart of Suck (2009) and are struggling their way on tour around the U.S. and Canada. Struggling is the operative word as The Winners do not live up to their name and are shite and doing poorly as a result. Their only real asset is their bass player, Jennifer, the only chick in the band, who always manages to turn heads whenever the band play. The band is also made up of singer Joey, lead guitarist Tyler, drummer Sam, and handyman Hugo. They're managed by Jeff, an incompetent pisshead who's unable to secure a half-decent gig for the band.

After one show, Jennifer is lured away by some dude for a night out. When she turns up the following morning she's a different person; more sultry, far paler, and sick as a dog. The rest of the group put this down to having partied too hard the night before, or maybe as a come down from some drug she may have taken. However, as they travel onwards it's apparent that there's something else wrong with Jennifer as she's using her sexuality a lot more when on stage; and her playing, which was good already, has improved; and she's getting even more attention then she did; and she's a vampire.

Jennifer's vampiric ways prove to be contagious as the rest of the band slowly succumb to her charms and the lure of the lifestyle that goes with being one of the children of the night. As the lads turn vampire the fortunes of the band improve as the vampire thing is just the gimmick they needed to get the fan attention they craved. As their star rises though, they attract the attention of an erstwhile vampire hunter who would (like anyone) love to put an end to some celebrities...

Not for the first time, Jerry regrets not getting that job at the Apple store

Suck is not a musical but instead a film about music. As such, it depends heavily on cameo appearances from various rock stars playing either themselves or as full blown characters. Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, and Henry Rollins are among the recognisable faces that turn up during the film. Moby even appears as "Beef", the dog-rough, tattooed lead singer of a meat orientated band from Buffalo, and he was good even though the follow up jokes about “eating Beef” fall a little flat, but he was also indicative of the trick the producers were trying to pull. Getting lots of famous people to pop up from time to time in a film like Suck distracts from the weaknesses the movie suffers from.

Suck is a small-time movie. There's nothing wrong with that at all, many small movies are great, but Suck, regardless of all the famous people that they managed to get to appear in it, feels... small. The story is small, the settings are small, the effects are small... and it's kinda shit too, but in a good way. The biggest thing about the film is its heart. The ideas are all OK and the general point of the film is quite fun, it's just a shame that it wasn't made by some people with a bit more talent. The best way I can put it is that Suck is one of those movies that will turn up late at night on the SyFy channel, if it hasn't already.

That aside, there is still a lot to like about Suck and there are some quite funny moments and dialogue. Even some of the characters are quite compelling, especially Malcolm McDowell as the vampire hunter (though if I were him I'd be very worried about the state of my career after this flick and Halloween 2). I also liked the border crossing guard who’s a prick until he realises the guys are in a band so he lets them go as he was in a band himself and seeing Jennifer throw up into her bag really brings him back. Jennifer also gets one of the lines of the film where she asks for help and bluntly states that she wants someone to dismember a body and dispose of it.

Vampires and other dark creatures would find a home in rock music, what with all the black t-shirts and tattoos of bats, but I would have thought that only certain types of rock bands would be completely comfortable with bloodsuckers, and the clean cut, non-bat-tattoo types in The Winners don't seem the type as they're more Weezer than Black Sabbath. Whatever their influences, their music is fucking terrible – but that might be the joke (honestly, I’m not sure).

One Thumb Up and One Thumb Down for Suck.

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