Written by Zack Carlson, author of DESTROY ALL MOVIES: The Complete Guide To Punks On Film
The '80s marked a major cultural shift towards a wider appreciation of the finer things, like breakfast cereal, ninjas, VHS, and Mr. T. We stood in the first rays of an MTV-tinted dawn and absorbed all the action and electricity that the entertainment industry could crank out. New wave, heavy metal, and lowbrow cinema were all at their apex, leading to an inevitable collision. Where reality couldn't satisfy our insatiable hunger for gutter-level entertainment, fiction stepped in to fill the void. Taekwondo-themed rock band Dragon Sound from the lost-and-recently-found late '80s masterpiece Miami Connection may just be the most powerful faux rock band of all time, considering that when the multi-ethnic synth-pop combo isn't busy igniting Florida's nightclub scene, they're roundhouse-kicking drug-dealing ninjas straight off of their goddamn motorcycles. But while this pulse-pounding cinematic warhead languished in obscurity for decades without a proper release, there were plenty of mythical megagroups to actually debut during the '80s. In the blue haze of late night cable, they were as true as life itself, and a thousand times more fun, so let's take a gander at the Top 10
10) The Hard Rock Zombies from Hard Rock Zombies (1985) A van-load of hairy-chested rock wildmen stop off in a semi-abandoned town and end up in a Nazi occult plot to reanimate the dead
9) Solid Gold from Blood Tracks (1985) Real life Swedish glam goons Easy Action portray Solid Gold, whose snowbound music video shoot lands them in the sights of mountain-dwelling cannibals. From the director of Russian Terminator
8) The Clowns from Terror On Tour (1980) Teens across the nation are going wild for these AM radio rockers in Bozo wigs. As if that's not mysterious enough, someone in clownface is murdering the group's fans. Is it a member of the band, or a grease-painted frame-up
7) Velvet Von Ragnar from Never Too Young To Die (1986) John Stamos is Lance Stargrove, an acrobat forced to battle hermaphrodite supervillain Von Ragnar (actually Gene Simmons in drag) before he/she enslaves and destroys the world with his/her army of punk rock maniacs
6) Rocktober Blood from Rocktober Blood (1984) The post-mortem frontman of murder-rockers Rocktober Blood returns from the grave to lay waste to anyone in his path. The audience goes wild as his victims go to hellllll! Endure the extended opening solo. It's worth it
5) The Black Roses from Black Roses (1988) A small town is invaded by the first metal band to live up to parents' fears, meaning the members of the band actually are vicious, Satan-spawned demons. Their malignant influence causes one of their followers to get his ear pierced AND butcher his dad!
4) Sacrifyx from The Gate (1987) Though the members of the band are all deceased and you never see them perform on screen, they DO orchestrate the subterranean takeover of the Earth from beyond, which is pretty hard work
3) The Stains from Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1982) 14-year-old Diane Lane and Laura Dern jumpstart a youth revolution as the leaders of all-girl, anti-intercourse minimalist punk band The Stains.
2) Sammi Curr from Trick or Treat (1986) Backwards masking: the danger is REAL. Lithe, undead psychopathic metal icon Sammi Curr brings a kamikaze apocalypse down on Skippy from Family Ties when he returns from the afterlife to annihilate his own fans
...and the all-time greatest blast of unstoppable '80s rock lightning
1) Nada from Get Crazy (1983) On the most explosive, chaotic New Year's Eve in movie history, Fear frontman Lee Ving takes the mic for this manic hardcore/new wave rendition of blues standard "Hoochie Coochie Man." Unbridled '80s punk rock mayhem from the undersung director of Rock N' Roll High School.