Is there a band who enjoys rock stardom more than Foo Fighters? They fill stadiums, record disco songs and death metal tunes. Leader Dave Grohl does drum-offs with teenaged musicians on YouTube and they trolled a Westboro Baptist Church protest with a loud ‘n lengthy version of the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing” from the back of a flatbed truck.
Foo Fighters let the good times roll into theatres this week with the release of “Studio 666,” a rock ‘n roll horror comedy now playing in theatres.
Following in the footsteps of their ancestors—KISS and the Monkees—they play themselves in a big screen schlock fest with some guts, glory and great tunes.
The movie begins with a flashback to 1993 and a horrific murder scene in an Encino mansion. The band Dream Widow has been recording an album there, but are interrupted by a nasty guy swinging a hammer. The dull thwacks of the hammer hitting the final victim are even captured on tape.
Cut to present day. Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Rami Jaffee of Foo Fighters owe a new record to their label. “It’s our tenth album,” Dave says, “we can’t do the same old ****. We have to break the mold on this one.”
The label boss (Jeff Garland) knows how to make that happen. He suggests an old, abandoned mansion in Encino (see above). The place is rundown, and even the flirty neighbor (Whitney Cummings) gives off a strange vibe. “It definitely has a weird energy,” Dave says. “Do you guys get an overwhelming sense of death and doom?”
They do, but Dave hears something no one else does. “The sound of this house is the sound of album ten,” he says. “No songs yet, but we’ve got the sound.”
Reluctantly, the band moves in but despite Dave’s enthusiasm, the songs don’t flow. All he can come up with are retreads of his old tunes or plagiarized versions of other people’s songs, which leads to a Lionel Ritchie cameo that makes you wonder why he doesn’t do more comedy.
The writer’s block breaks one night after Dave is tormented by a dream—or is it?—of strange creatures who lure him into the mansion’s basement, where he finds a dusty old reel to reel machine, loaded up with hard driving songs left behind by Dream Widow.
Dave emerges with some killer riffs and a plan to record a devilish epic that could be a double or even triple album. “It’s going to be like “2112” times 2112,” he says.
Question is, what exactly has possessed Dave to record this song and what, exactly, will the band have to sacrifice to finish the album?
“Studio 666” is a satire on the whole “Devil made me do it” heavy metal lore with old school splatter effects, spurting blood and headbanging, literally and figuratively.
It’s unlikely we’ll be seeing any of the Foo Fighters on next year’s Best Actor list, but that isn’t the point here. This is a loving tribute to the kinds of movies Blockbuster kept on a shelf near the back of the store. Devil possession movies with low fi effects and some fun thrills and chills. Add to that some pretty good in-jokes, some funny/gross killings and you have a Faustian tale about selling one’s soul for rock ‘n roll.
“Studio 666” feels a bit long, but Foo Fighters, as usual, bring the good times, by poking fun at themselves and the devil movie genre.