Anthony R. Miller checks in with five Movie Musicals you should drop everything to watch.
Hey you guys, Happy New Year. Like many of you, I had a little extra free time at the end of December and instead of y’know, writing or being a productive member of society, I watched a bunch of movies. And like any good theatre nerd, I watched a bunch of movie musicals, but my tastes are a little, ahem, different. So in order to turn all the time wasting into “research” I’ve compiled a list of weird-ass, off the beaten path movie musicals you need to watch right now to get your 2016 started proper.
Stage Fright (2014)
This Canadian gem features ridiculous songs, bloody death scenes, skewers theatre-kid tropes and stars MeatLoaf. A prestigious theatre camp produces a much maligned musical with a dark past, singing and killing ensues.
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)
Another Canadian treasure is this mega low budget, musical kung-fu movie that tells the story of Jesus Christ coming back (with some sweet piercings) to save a bunch of good hearted lesbians from a pack of vampires. What the film lacks in production quality, it makes up for with sheer “Hey guys let’s make a ridiculous movie together” joy.
The Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
This Phantom of the Opera meets Faust tale is really one of the great cult musicals. With Music by and starring Paul Williams as Swan the evil record producer, a deep voiced Jessica Harper, and bizarre Brian DePalma weirdness. It’s easy to just call this a “Bad Movie”, but it’s more, it’s much more. It’s quotable, packed with strange musical numbers and drugged out 70’s goodness.
Shock Treatment (1981)
The not quite sequel to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Brad and Janet star in a proto-reality show to save their marriage. This film aspires to be art, and was truly ahead of its time in its criticism of reality television. In many ways it’s a better musical than RHS, it’s more ambitious, subversive, and Richard O’ Brien’s score is legitimately great.
Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)
L.A. is one of my favorite theatre scenes in the world, I’ll never understand it. This film was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman of Saw 2-27 fame and boasts a ridiculous cast of all-stars. Set in the future where body parts can be repossessed, and everyone is addicted to a pain killer that is extracted from dead bodies, this goth-industrial horror musical is one of my favorite things in the world. Starring Anthony Stewart Head, Bill Mosely, Orge Nivek (of Skinny Puppy), Paris Hilton and Sarah Friggin Brightman, the film tells a classic story of a love triangle, betrayal, hidden secrets, and a powerful and corrupt family. It also features a lot of dead bodies, a musical score you’d be more likely to hear at Deathguild than in a theater, and Paris Hilton’s face falls off, which is like the most symbolic thing ever.
Anthony R. Miller is a writer, producer and generally weird guy, keep up with him at http://www.awesometheatre.org and see his short play “WE hate is when our friends become successful” as part of Theatre Pub’s “The Morrissey Plays”.