Thank you, Cleveland! We would like to dedicate the next one to the fans. Welcome to the Nightmare on Film Street’s Top Ten Horror Movie Prom Bands, the list that stage dives into the crowded world of prom bands. We have a lot to say about these maestros of mayhem so we’ll get right to it. Step right up, please have your tickets in hand and remember, no flash photography.
10. Dance of The Dead (2008)
In Dance of the Dead (2008), it’s prom night in Georgia and the kids are all flocking to the high school for the Hawaiian Hula Night. Even the losers who couldn’t get dates are there and it’s probably a good thing because it’s their expertise that is going to save the day when the prom gets overrun with flesh-eating zombies. Local garage band, The Pinata Heads are ready to rock, too. It seems their smooth sounds soothe the savage beast and whenever they play, the zombies sway. Their stirring rendition of Pat Benetar’s Shadows of the Night provides, not only excellent song choice but also a dance scene with enough blood to make Carrie White blush.
9. Black Roses (1988)
When metal band the Demons come to the quiet town of Mill Basin to play for the local kids, they’re met with an army of overprotective parents. But as the band takes the stage at the show, it comes off more like a Barry Manilow concert rather than a heavy metal show. As the parents decide to leave the kids in the hands of the band the lights go out and when they come back up, it’s a whole different show. There’s enough raunchy leather, suggestive dance moves, and Aquanet to choke the mayor from that town in Footloose (1984). Oh and the band in John Fasano’s Black Roses (1988) just might be trying to turn their new fans into evil demons. So there’s that, too.
8. Graduating Day (1981)
Despite the death of a star track student just days before graduation, Midvale High School decides to go ahead with graduation festivities regardless of the school’s tragedy. But despite this, the school becomes the scene for the graduation dance complete with the Doobie Brother’s ripoff band, Felony. The real-life synth/rock band, whose song “Gangster Rock” is as close as you can get to the Doobie’s “China Grove” without it actually being “China Grove,” that it amazes me there was never a plagiarism lawsuit over it. B ut whatever, Felony clearly knows how to put the “par” in everyone’s “tay!” Fun fact: Felony is responsible for many 80s soundtrack contributions including the song “I’m No Animal” from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986).
7. The Prowler (1981)
The Prowler (1981) features yet another graduation dance that features a live band entertaining the kids. Director Joseph Zito (Friday the 13th The Final Chapter, 1984) takes a break from what is arguably the most unapologetically violent films of the early 80s slasher craze and features the kids rocking out the classic rock sounds of Nowherefast. These dudes were another real band that happened to get featured in the 1981 slasher and while their career never managed to take off, horror fans have been searching the far reaches of the interwebs to find more of their music.
6. Shock Em Dead (1991)
This list wouldn’t be complete without a plot where someone in the band sells their soul to the devil in order to achieve fame and fortune. Shock ‘Em Dead (1991) is our horse in that race, but just to throw a twist in your guitar strap I won’t be including the band that this supernatural rocker is about. No siree-bob, I am going to include the one who gave the fame-hungry wannabe his powers. I’m gonna include Lucifer.
Yep, the Dark Lord played by real hair metal shredder Michael Angelo Batio of Nitro fame makes an appearance complete with a double-necked guitar with enough pointy parts on it to impale any human sacrifice. Not only does the song he plays feature pure guitar shredding at inhuman speed, but he also plays both necks at the same time, each with different fingering and rhythms… AT THE SAME TIME! I suppose it’s not completely out of the realms of reality though since, you know, he is Beelzebub.
5. House on Sorority Row (1982)
The House on Sorority Row (1982) is a bit fringe when it comes to the list criteria but it’s close enough. Especially because the band that plays the Theta Pi post-graduation party is the grooviest bunch of hair bags this side of the Bay City Rollers. The band hired to play is a K.C. and the Sunshine Band look-a-like called 4 Out of 5 Doctors and they are another real band, one that had a recording contract with CBS Records. They had five tunes featured in Sorority Row including the awesomely titled, “Mr. Cool Shoes.”
4. Summer Camp Nightmare (1987)
Are you ready for some “Beef Baloney?” While this isn’t a real band, the kids that perform this lip sync in the Summer Camp Nightmare (1987) talent show give it one hundred and fifty percent and you can’t help but get into what it is they’re dishing out. Mind you, the Lord of the Flies kind of lawless justice that unfolds later in the movie is a different story altogether.
Going by the moniker The Horn Dogs, these two bros come bounding onstage looking like a low rent Twisted Sister and they barely know how to hold their guitars. It doesn’t matter. They’re loving every second of it and so is the audience. Chuck Connors (Tourist Trap, 1978), on the other hand, hates them all for being young, vibrant, and still relevant. Fun Fact: The “lead guitarist” for the Horn Dogs is none other than Tom Fridley, Court from Friday the 13th Part VI Jason Lives.
3. Idle Hands (1999)
There are many reasons Idle Hands (1999) is one of the coolest movies of the 90s but the Halloween Dance scene has to be in the top five. First of all, it starts with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons clones making out and getting killed by Anton’s crazed hand, secondly, the dance band is the freakin’ Offspring and they’re playing Ramones covers and finally, Dexter Holland gets killed.
The band is pretty pumping up until Holland gets scalped by the possessed hand of Anton Tobias. I mean, what says the late 90s more than Devon Sawa, Seth Green, a possessed hand, a killer soundtrack, and a boatload of pop-punk from one of the best in the game? Nothing I’ll tell you! NOTHING!
2. Jennifer’s Body (2009)
The one thing I took away from Jennifer’s Body (2009), aside from strange feelings after witnessing Megan Fox getting impaled with a pool skimmer, was that one song that the band Low Shoulder played at every single gig in the movie. Did they know any other songs? Whatever, the tune is so catchy that if they did play other songs, I was still humming this one.
If it wasn’t for these Satanists who attempt to sacrifice the titular character, there wouldn’t be a Jennifer’s Body movie but when they come to Jennifer’s high school and play the spring formal, poor Needy wouldn’t have saved imperiled Chip from the malevolent Jennifer. You follow? No? Watch the movie.
1. Trick or Treat (1986).
The scene in Trick or Treat (1986) where back from the dead rockstar Sammi Curr plays the Halloween dance still gives me chills when I watch it. It holds a combination of the two things that I grew up idolizing, heavy metal, and horror movies. And with a stellar performance by late dancer Tony Fields (Monsters, 1990 TV) who plays Curr, I was sold from my very first screening.
Initially, W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless was tapped to play the Satanic shredder but talks fell through. After Lawless passed on the role, Kiss bassist and resident demon, Gene Simmons was approached for the role but he opted for a cameo instead. He played radio DJ Norman ‘Nuke’ Taurog while fellow shock rocker Ozzy Osbourne was cast in the role of an evangelical preacher and anti-metal zealot, Reverand Aaron Gilstrom.
As the hum of the amplifiers reverberate the final chord and the stage lights cool down, we come to the end of our Top Ten Horror Movie Prom Bands list. How did we do? Is there any you would add to the setlist? Any classics? Stuff from the new record? Some covers? Let us know on Twitter, Reddit, and the Facebook Fiend Page. Until next time rockers, up the irons and stay scary!