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QuickView: Studio 666 (2022)

“Did you just say ‘no’ to Dave Grohl?”

Dave Grohl

A ridiculous vanity project from consummate rock star Dave Grohl, Studio 666 is a campy horror comedy inspired by the likes of Sam Raimi, with a wafer thin plot about the Foo Fighters recording their tenth album in a haunted house. If it were not clear from the title, the audience should know what to expect from a brutal murder in the opening seconds and the fact that the opening credits include “make-up and animatronic effects” — it’s that sort of movie, punctuated with gory deaths to make up for schlocky writing. Grohl was clearly the driving force behind the project and he commits fully, relishing the opportunity to skewer his own image. The rest of the band seems to be along for the ride, gamely enough though these men are all performers rather than actors. There is less new music than one might hope, and Studio 666 features a heavier, more thrash metal sound than the Foo Fighters have ever produced. The spectre which hangs over Studio 666 is drummer Tayler Hawkins’ untimely death just a month after the film’s release, and fans may struggle to separate this death-filled story from the real life tragedy. The small cast and essentially a single location also make it painfully clear that this was a COVID production, but that constraint serves to keep proceedings focused. Ultimately Foo Fighters fans will be vicariously entertained by the band enjoying thesmelves, but Studio 666 is average fodder that will be swiftly forgotten.


QuickView: X (2022)

“Alright, that’s enough jabbering. I reckon it’s about high time we cut to the chase and give the people what they want to see.”


Ti West’s horror flick set in 1979 is more than just a throwback — he expertly recreates the visual identity of early slashers, using it is as a tonal palette even as he subverts many of their clichés. For example, the premise of a group of young filmmakers travelling to a remote town to make an adult movie provides a justification for the requisite titillation whilst also undermining the traditional rules linking promiscuity and survival in exploitation flicks. There is no mystery to solve in the killer’s identity since there are so few people on the isolated property and, although X raises the topic of youth and aging, it has little to say beyond the jealousy that gulf invokes. Typically, self-aware horror films swiftly descend into parody but West avoids this, choosing to maintain the enjoyably sinister atmosphere by delivering on gory scares he sets up. The closest analogue is Robert Rodriguez’s modernised yet reverant approach to grindhouse movies in Planet Terror. Fans of the genre will enjoy the period detail — particularly in distinct visual style of the film-within-a-film — but it’s unlikely to appeal to those without an interest in either slashers or filmmaking (and ideally both).


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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