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Article

Review: Studio 666

Gone are the days where rock bands were such an IP in and of themselves that they warranted their own movie. That is precisely why Foo Fighters' Studio 666 stands out as an unburdened and creatively absurd project amidst the current rising sea of mass formulaic media.

Gone are the days where rock bands were such an IP in and of themselves that they warranted their own movie. That is precisely why Foo Fighters’ Studio 666 stands out as an unburdened and creatively absurd project amidst the current rising sea of mass formulaic media. Is it a masterpiece of cinematic horror? No, but I couldn’t imagine the Foo Fighters conceiving a better movie to their sensibilities, and thus, to the sensibilities of their fans, alongside the fans of both rock and horror-schlock.

Studio 666’s synopsis - conceived by perennial rock icon and lead singer Dave Grohl – is simple. The Foo Fighters need to make their 10th Album. After finding an eerie mansion to record in, Grohl struggles with writer’s block and begins to experience unsettling visions around the mansion. Eventually, he is overcome by the supernatural forces of the mansion, possessing him to complete a song in the demonic “key of L#” and to wreak murderous R18+ havoc. It’s a role that Grohl was destined to play since his time as ‘Satan’ in Tenacious D’s Pick of Destiny. The other Foo Fighters members - Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Rami Jaffee, Chris Shiflett, and Nate Mendel - stand out for their dad-band brand of comedy. Sure, the crude dude comedy may not be for everyone, but there’s a good mix of self-referential genre gags and aptly timed middle-fingers. For non-actors, they hold their own in a film which admittedly does not take itself very seriously – and that’s where all the fun is had. The cast is rounded out with the acting presences of Whitney Cummings, Jenna Ortega, Leslie Grossman, Jeff Garlin, and Will Forte, who provide a reliable comedic familiarity on screen.

Naturally, Studio 666 has an abundance of head-banging heavy rock playing throughout the film as the band records a new track for the possessed Grohl. The delightful musical standout was the unexpected presence of legendary horror director, John Carpenter (The Thing, Halloween), who composed the score alongside Daniel Davies, and even made a small cameo in the film. The score, undeniably familiar in its repetitive Carpenter-esque style, is the perfect counterpart to Studio 666’s practical horror.

With an almost 2-hour runtime, Studio 666’s biggest weakness is its structuring. It would have done well to take a lesson from the many great Carpenter films and aim for a clean 90-minute run-time. It’s not a deal-breaker for an already imperfect and admirably insincere film, but there is definitely a lag in the last 20 minutes. What is provided by the dragging runtime, however, is a handful of absurd, drawn-out death scenes which are sure to make you wince and laugh (in that order) – simply put, if you like crazy, stylistic, violent, and well-crafted death scenes, then you’ll enjoy what Studio 666 has to offer.

Having recently read Dave Grohl’s book The Story-Teller–wherein he recounts how after the end of Nirvana, he lived in a house which he genuinely thought was haunted, despite not being an avid believer in the supernatural–it’s easy to feel that Studio 666 is the manifestation of that feeling many years later, mixed in with the themes of ‘the death of rock’ and ‘going solo’. That being said, there isn't too much to read into Studio 666. It’s a film that’s wholly concerned with making sure you have a good time, in a gory, crude kind of way. And with the dying breath of 20th Century rock slowly fading out, this may be the last ‘rock-band film’ we see for some time.

In making Studio 666, the Foo Fighters (and their collaborators) truly succeeded in being true to their comedic and creative sensibilities. It’s a mean feat which pays off in an entertaining gore-fest that certainly won’t disappoint if you too share that same adoration for rock and horror-schlock. It would be hard to ask Studio 666 to do much more than that.

Studio 666 will be in theatres for a one week special event season, and as an added bonus, the Foo Fighters will be playing in Geelong this Friday March 4th.

 
Farrago's magazine cover - Edition Four 2022

EDITION FOUR 2022 AVAILABLE NOW!

Saddle up! Farrago’s brand spanking new edition is here! It’s jam-packed with art, photography, news, non-fiction and creatice writing; and it calls on you to “be the cowboy.” “But what does that mean?” you ask. Well, let the wise words of Mitski guide you… ”What would a swaggering cowboy riding into town do in this situation?”

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