Since the days of Tipper Gore and her Parents Music Resource Center, rock music has always been associated with devil worship. Films like Trick or Treat (1986), The Lords of Salem, and Black Roses played into that fear, as did Tenacious D (albeit in a more satirical way).
So when it was announced that Dave Grohl and the rest of the Foo Fighters were starring in a demonic horror comedy titled Studio 666, it really wasn’t that surprising. What is surprising is just how entertaining and all out the movie winds up going.
Based on a demented idea by Grohl himself, the movie features the whole bland playing exaggerated versions of themselves. And while the humor can be hit or miss, in terms of horror, director B.J. McDonnell (Hatchet III) knows exactly what he’s doing and delivers a kickass satanic slasher!
Opening with an absolutely gruesome kill set nearly 30 years ago, Studio 666 jumps to present day with the Foo Fighters struggling to deliver their promised 10th album. Dave Grohl is suffering from writer’s block, but their production company (represented by Jeff Garlin and Leslie Grossman) gets them a large house in Encino that is alleged to have the perfect acoustics.
Between desperate delivery drivers with a demo CD (Will Forte), and a hot neighbor that they want to seduce (Whitney Cummings), the band deals with strange occurrences, including a crew member getting killed on their very first day there. It’s kind of ridiculously hilarious how that doesn’t really seem to phase them into leaving, but that’s very much the overall tone of the movie.
Struggling to craft the album, Grohl spends many a sleepless night trying to work through his musical writer’s block. In doing so, he discovers a mysterious symbol in the basement, and the odd supernatural occurrences seem to center around him entirely.
The rest of the movie deals with possessed Grohl trying to finish the album to complete some ancient ritual, while the rest of the Foo Fighters fight to survive and save their friend and bandmate from the forces of hell.
Foo Fighter Thespians?
While they’ve appeared in documentaries before, this was the first time that the Foo Fighters were acting in something fictional, albeit as satirical versions of themselves. Grohl is without a doubt the best actor of the bunch, and there’s a reason that he’s the lead of the film. The rest of the band do the best they can, but they often sound like they’re just reciting lines rather than naturally saying something.
As for Grohl, he’s no thespian, but he does a solid and convincing job of playing the pre-possessed version of himself that’s anxious and full of doubt. And you can’t tell he’s just having a blast and chewing up every scene when he’s getting to be evil and killing people. Given how long they’ve been playing together, there’s a real comfort and chemistry there, and it seems like he was just having a blast making this movie.
The comedy can be hit or miss. It tends to work best during the more absurd moments when the characters or scenes are just going all out and holding nothing back. When the humor is dark and over the top, it gets a genuine laugh. But when different band members are just bantering back and forth, it feels less natural and kind of awkward.
Maybe it was from them struggling with learning their lines (something Taylor admitted on a late night show during the press junket), or maybe it’s just that these guys are musicians rather than actors. By no means does that take away the immense talent they have in terms of music. And to be fair, even the most awkward performance in this movie is Laurence Olivier compared to the flat and boring delivery that LeBron James gave in Space Jam 2 last year.
But for fans of horror (which if you’re on this site, you most likely are), they will not be disappointed at the sheer amount of over the top gore with creative kills that go to places you never expected. It’s strange because some of the non-horror comedic scenes almost feel like they could be from a PG kids movie with how corny they are. But when this movie does horror, it goes full splatterfest!
Director B.J. McDonnell previously graced us with Hatchet III, and a lot of what worked about that movie works here too. Without getting into spoilers, a lot of the kills make for great references from classic slasher movies that diehard fans will certainly recognize. And whenever someone dies, the movie doesn’t shy away from showing the gruesome details with gallons of fake blood and awesome practical makeup/prosthetic work to pull them off.
Granted, when Studio 666 resorts to using CGI for the demons and other visual effects, it looks a bit like something you’d see on a YouTube channel. But thankfully, it leaves the kills to purely practical and gives all you sick, demented gore fans (myself included) exactly what you want form a supernatural slasher!
Overall, Studio 666 makes for an extremely entertaining watch, especially if you’re a fan of the Foo Fighters and get a lot of their self-aware references. The jokes don’t always work, but the ones that do come from an absurd place that makes the horror play out like something Sam Raimi would have made. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s a gleefully grotesque good time for people who think horror should be fun!
What did you think of Studio 666? What are some of your favorite Foo Fighters songs? Let us know in the comments!