Great Bad Movies: "Hard Rock Zombies" (1985)

Updated on November 18, 2017
FatFreddysCat profile image

I have a weakness for cheesy, "so bad they're good" low budget horror, sci-fi or action movies. I watch'em so you don't have to!


"They came from the grave to rock 'n' rave and misbehave!"

Hard Rock Zombies (1985)

Starring: E.J. Curcio, Geno Andrews, Sam Mann, Lisa Toothman

Directed by: Krishnah Shah


During the 1980s horror-movie boom, numerous attempts were made to cross pollinate the scary-movie genre with the "devil music" hysteria that was surrounding the heavy metal scene at the time. The most well-known and arguably best of these "heavy metal horror" flicks is probably 1986's Trick or Treat, which starred Marc ("Skippy from Family Ties") Price and rocker Gene Simmons of KISS, but if you dig deeper into the sub-genre you'll find several other mostly-forgotten cheese-bangers like 1984's Rocktober Blood, 1987's Rock N Roll Nightmare (starring Canuck bodybuilding rock legend Jon Mikl Thor), and 1988's Black Roses. Trick Or Treat aside, most of these flicks were pretty terrible... but nothing prepared me for the onslaught of absolute awfulness that is 1985's Hard Rock Zombies.

"Hard Rock Zombies" trailer:

As a dyed-in-the-wool metalhead and a bad movie aficionado, I have been told several times over the years by people whose opinions I usually respect that Hard Rock Zombies was a movie I "had to see." The film's relative obscurity made it hard to track down a copy, but a few years back I finally found it - in the bargain bin at my local supermarket, of all places, on a 3-film zombie compilation DVD. I happily slapped down my $1.99, bought some cheap beer to wash it down with, and raced home to give Hard Rock Zombies a spin...

...and 90 minutes later, I was punching myself in the head and wondering aloud, "Why the @#$% did I buy this movie? WHY?"

The Story...

Our heroes are an awful mullet-rock band whose name is never actually mentioned -- or at least if it was, I missed it, and I'm not about to revisit the film to find out what it is. Anyway, the rockers are on their way to the town of Grand Guignol (subtle, huh?), conveniently located in the middle of nowhere, to put on a showcase gig for a record-company scout. They pick up a hot blonde hitchhiker along the way, who invites the road weary travelers to stay at her place instead of at a hotel. Naturally, this will prove to be a terrible decision.

As it turns out, the Hot Blonde's house is populated by the most bizarre cast of redneck characters this side of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel - including a wheelchair bound, switchblade packing Granny, some twisted looking midgets, and an old guy who we soon learn is ... Adolf Hitler himself. Yes, seriously.

The moment of the band's arrival is apparently the perfect time for Adolf to throw off his disguise and announce the rise of the Fourth Reich (Wheelchair Granny is also revealed to be Adolf's squeeze Eva Braun ... and by the way, did I mention she's also a werewolf?). The creepy house inhabitants swiftly gang up on the band members and murder them, but fortunately, a bushy-eyebrowed groupie appears at their shallow grave sites and plays one of their songs on a boom box, which re-animates them thanks to the power of rock n roll... or something. I wish to point out at this juncture that I am not making any of this up.

The zombie band now resembles KISS, and they robot-walk into battle with Adolf and his crew. Naturally, every Nazi they kill becomes a zombie as well, and soon the tiny town of Grand Guignol is overrun by the Undead. At this point the band's (still living) manager reappears and convinces Jesse and the boys to go on with their record-label showcase anyway, even though they're dead. The zombies show up at the gig to rock out, and the band leads them out of town to a cave, where they are sealed inside and dispatched by a stash of Hitler's mustard gas.....aaaaaand that's the end. The film fails to mention whether or not the band ever scores that elusive record contract, which is a shame. Nothin' sells records like a dead rock star, y'know.

Hard Rock Zombie Tunes!

What the...?

The complete and utter randomness of Hard Rock Zombies makes a little more sense if you read the "trivia" section of its IMDb page. Apparently HRZ was originally intended to be just a small part of another film called American Drive-In, in which clips from HRZ would have been the "feature" playing onscreen at a drive-in theater. At some point the producers decided to pad Hard Rock Zombies out to feature length and release it as its own separate film. I guess that explains the numerous, overlong rock concert sequences, as well as the MTV video-style musical montages of zombies munchin' on Nazis and hot dancing girls, set to a couple of halfway decent songs and instrumental tracks by AOR/melodic rock legend Paul Sabu -- who has worked with everybody from Heart and Alice Cooper to Ann-Margret! You'd think that Sabu would want to downplay his connection to this turkey as much as possible, but he actually released a Hard Rock Zombies soundtrack album via CDBaby in 2008!

In case I haven't made it totally clear: Hard Rock Zombies is the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to heavy metal horror flicks. If you can imagine a cheese-metal version of Michael Jackson's Thriller made on one-twentieth of the budget but with 100 times the suck, you're in HRZ's ballpark. .

I've seen Trick or Treat more times than I can count over the years, and I'd gladly revisit Rocktober Blood or Black Roses again, but Hard Rock Zombies should've been left in the ground. You have been warned!

© 2017 Keith Abt


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • FatFreddysCat profile imageAUTHOR

      Keith Abt 

      2 years ago from The Garden State

      Hey Natalie - If "Hard Rock Zombies" isn't your speed, I watched "Tales of Halloween" on Netflix a few nights ago, which was lots of fun. It's an anthology of ten short horror stories which all take place in the same town on Halloween night. A few segments were gross, most were quite funny, and it definitely put me in the proper Halloween mood! Check it out.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      2 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Any recommendations for what to watch on Halloween? I'm not usually a fan of zombie movies unless there's some kind do of humor involved. (I'm generally a bigger fan of vampires). Thanks for the article.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      It's worth the time if you want a laugh. :)

    • FatFreddysCat profile imageAUTHOR

      Keith Abt 

      2 years ago from The Garden State

      Hi Kari - "Zombeavers" is currently in my Netflix list, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Hopefully soon! :D

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      I had to laugh when you wrote you were not making this up. I may find it's randomness amusing in a certain mood. Speaking of cheesy zombie movies, have you ever watched "Zombeavers". Wonderfully cheesy. :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)