Terror on Tour 1980 Review
Posted by Luisjo Gonzalez
Terror on Tour 1980
Directed by: Don Edmonds
Starring: Rick Styles, Chip Greenman, Rich Pemberton
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
Ok – so who is brave enough to admit to remembering, or perhaps being a fan of glam metal? If you are too young, (or too embarrassed) to know what I am talking about, then I will give you the briefest possible insight. Before Gangster Rap had set a new level of explicit lyrics and rebellion, the baddest boys of music wore blusher, lipstick and more hairspray than Dolly Parton. Bands like Poison, Faster Pussycat, Pretty Boy Floyd and even early Guns n Roses were regulars on LA’s Sunset Strip and often looked prettier than the groupies that stalked them. Think Tommy Lee’s as hard as nails? Well, check out his perfect lipstick on the cover of Mötley Crüe’s ‘Too Fast for Love’ LP and then get back to me…
The true roots can be traced way back to the mid sixties, but the origins that cemented the theme were seventies metal group Kiss. Gene Simmonds and his band mates were a massive draw throughout the following decade and their outrageous costumes were the pre-cursor for the musical sub-genre that would follow until Kurt Cobain and his grunge buddies from Seattle would kill off hair metal completely in the early nineties. It’s not a style that I imagine would ever return, even if there is still very much an impressive following around the world. I noticed recently on eBay, Heart Throb Mob’s brilliant début CD, Hit List, was selling for over £2,000
Now I have mentioned previously on a SLASH above about the slasher genre often attempting to incorporate trends from outside of cinema in an attempt to reach other audiences. Well producer/director Don Edmonds, who had a made a name for himself with his exploitation classic Lisa: She Wolf of the SS, tabled this effort to mix the then extremely popular slasher trappings with the musical craze of the time.
The Clowns are a popular glam band who have a great stage act, which includes chopping the heads off of mannequins and threatening audiences with lines like, “Go home or we will kill you!” They wear distinctive make-up and face masks and their second LP is flying off the shelves. It seems however that someone has been taking the death elements of their shows a tad too seriously, as a killer dressed in the same costume has been hacking his way through the groupies backstage. Is it a fan with an unhealthy obsession? Or perhaps one of the band members has grown bored of only decapitating models and wants to experience the real thing?
When I sit down to watch any movie, I think about it as a meal. The screenwriter (recipe) gives us the ingredients and then the director (chef) has to find the right seasoning and cooking method to put it all together. Take a great killer guise, a host of naked females and a director with experience and surely only a fool could make a mess of it, right? Well Don Edmonds did many Interesting things in his career and I still think that True Romance (which he helped produce) is one of the greatest movies anywhere ever. Keeping that in mind though, it’s hard to know what he was thinking when he put together this alarmingly disappointing slasher.
Ok, so let’s begin with the cast. Rarely have I seen people that are so close in terms of location seem so distant in terms of chemistry. One character begins a conversation with another and we have to wait an unusual amount of time for a reply. When the response comes around it feels like the actors had just woken up from an overlong siesta and they maintain the same lack of emotional urgency, no matter what the situation. Whether it be a chat-up line to one of the countless semi-naked groupies (there’s loads of nudity in this one) or the reaction of discovering a bloody corpse splattered in the corridor, the mood never rises above… well, pancake flat.
With performances that stilted, you can imagine how much this drags when the killer’s not on screen. I found myself browsing the back of the video box by the thirty minute mark and had to remind myself that what I was reading about was actually playing on the screen. The killer, who proves he is REALLY crazy by going ‘grrrr’ in to the camera, is one of the less creative types that I can remember. He goes on his merry way with a large knife, but never gets a tad more creative or adapts his bog-standard MO. There’s a fairly large body count, but no development of most of the victims, so we don’t give a damn what happens to any of them. Come to think of it, they are so alien to the audience that they are billed in the closing credits as, Girl, Girl 2 and Next Girl etc.
There’s the opportunity to guess who’s killing everyone and the first two characters on the screen do their best ‘red herring’ Impersonation, but if you haven’t figured this one out by the forty minute mark, you need to really question whether you should be watching a R rated movie. Things come to a close with the obligatory final chase sequence, but despite a few possibilities, the momentum never feels suspenseful. It doesn’t help by having basic errors in the continuity, like a four-inch cut in the victim’s face that doesn’t bleed.
This was made before the genre had defined its trademarks, so there’s no real hero or heroine to root for. They introduced a possible final girl late in the feature, but she didn’t overpower the bogeyman this time around. In fact, I’m struggling to recollect a central protagonist to relate to and I only finished watching this an hour ago, so there was definitely no worthwhile characterisations of note here.
I’m not usually so harsh on these films, because I love slasher flicks, but this one left me so frustrated. It had the potential to be really sleazy and actually very good, but it never seemed to step back and make the most of its strengths. To have such a cheesy set up and such a great opportunity to exploit its synopsis, you’d think that this would be everything but tedious. It drags like chain smoker with his first cigarette for a month.
I didn’t mention what The Clowns as a band actually sounded like. Well the actors were from a real group called The Names and even though I didn’t enjoy their stage work so much, there’s an acoustic ballad about halfway through that’s actually quite good. They at least deserved better than the lacklustre ideas that they were given for their one and only movie outing.
Terror on Tour could have been better with a more motivated cast. It could have been better if someone had proof read the script. It could have been better if there was a bit of gore, suspense… Actually anything else that they chose could have been better than this.
Unless you have trouble sleeping – don’t even bother…
Posted on November 17, 2011, in Pure Eighties Cheese, Slasher and tagged 1980, cheese, Glam metal, heavy metal slasher, Hot Chicas, Kiss, masked killer, Slasher, terror on Tour, Whodunit?. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.