‘Studio 666’: Foo Fighters take a stab at horror, with goofy, gory results
Full of terrific supporting actors (and blood), the movie is a cross between “This Is Spinal Tap” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
Dave Grohl has always seemed like a man possessed — and I mean that in a good way — from his early days behind the drum kit for Nirvana through a second Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career as the frontman for the Foo Fighters to his status as a truly cool dad of rock ’n roll who absolutely loves playing and writing and recording music. Anytime the Foo Fighters perform live, or you see Grohl giving an interview, you can tell how much he loves his craft and appreciates his life.
Open Road Films presents a film directed by BJ McDonnell and written by Jeff Buhler and Rebecca Hughes. Rated R (for strong bloody violence and gore, pervasive language, and sexual content). Running time: 110 minutes. Opens Thursday at local theaters.
Now Grohl truly is a man possessed in the bat-bleep crazy, WTF-is-happening, weird and cheerfully bloody drive-in horror/comedy “Studio 666,” which just might be the most bizarre movie starring a band since “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park” in 1978. Directed with genuine splatter-film style by BJ McDonnell and featuring game performances from Grohl and his bandmates along with a terrific roster of supporting players such as Jeff Garlin, Whitney Cummings and Jenna Ortega (the latest “Scream” queen), “Studio 666” is “This Is Spinal Tap” meets “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
Is it a great movie? Not even close. But is it a real, actual movie and not just some wacky vanity project? Yes! Pretty much.
The Foo Fighters play, well, the Foo Fighters, who are told by their manager (Jeff Garlin) it’s time to deliver their 10th studio album, NOW. Seeking the same kind of inspiration Led Zeppelin found at Headley Grange back in the day, the Fighters of Foo set up in an Encino mansion, a property with a decidedly creepy, haunted vibe. As the nosy next-door neighbor (Whitney Cummings) explains, there’s a lot of dark history surrounding this place — but there’s something about the acoustics that convinces Dave something special could transpire here.
If only he could get over his writer’s block. When he plays a “new” riff for his bandmates, drummer Taylor Hawkins says, “Dude, wait, [that’s] called ‘Everlong’ and you wrote it about 20 years ago.”
Eventually, though, Dave has a breakthrough when he discovers a long-lost underground recording studio, and he becomes possessed with making music — and also possessed by some sort of demon. At this point “Studio 666” becomes a full-out horror film, with various characters getting sliced, diced, grilled, chopped, pureed, you name it. We get some great guest cameos from Will Forte and Lionel Richie, yes, Lionel Richie. Late in the movie, Jenna Ortega appears and amps up the supernatural proceedings, and while I’m still not sure exactly who she was playing and what it had to do with the inner workings of the plot, there’s some badass pyrotechnics involved.
“Studio 666” also has some great laughs, e.g., when the Foo Fighters celebrate by doing a “Pearl Jam high five” (aping the cover of the “Ten” album), or when they know the charred corpse they find on the property must be that of the food delivery guy, because little cups of ranch dressing are scattered all around him. This is a stupid, silly, freewheeling mix of music, comedy and blood that kills.