By: Kevin Jordan
What are you doing, Dave?
If I were a Foo Fighters fan, I might have been genuinely excited about seeing Studio 666. I couldn’t pick a Foo Fighters song out of lineup, but I’m sure I’ve heard some of their late ‘90s/early 2000s stuff. I might even have liked a song or two. My desire to watch Studio 666 came completely out of curiosity for what kind of B-movie horror flick they decided to make. Dave Grohl (the band’s front man) may be a talented songwriter, but after watching Studio 666, it’s clear he has a thing or two to learn about screenwriting. By which I mean he needs to learn all the things.
As a general rule, I would normally not review a B-movie. Like porn, B-movies are by definition bad and the viewer has just one expectation – show us the money shots. In the case of Studio 666, that means blood and gore by the barrel and probably a boob or dick or two. Critiquing a B-movie as if it were a real movie is like stealing candy from a baby, kicking a dead horse, shooting fish in a barrel. Studio 666 isn’t even a good B-movie – in that it’s so bad it’s good – that picking it apart would be like stealing candy from a dead horse in a barrel. Or something like that.
It pretty much goes without saying that the acting from the Foo Fighters is bad, but so is it even from actual actors Will Forte and Whitney Cummings. That the dialogue sounds like it was written by a junior high drama team at a school for troubled teens. That the attempts at humor fall flat at almost every attempt, save for Forte’s delivery man telling Grohl that Foo Fighters are his second favorite band behind Coldplay. That the horror effects came from that same junior high drama team and were restricted to cheap rubber facsimiles of people, those plastic vampire teeth kids get from cashing in Skee-Ball tickets, the use of a Commodore 64, and as much corn syrup as they want. But, that’s the kind of stuff that people like in B-movie horror flicks. Where this movie utterly fails is that they made the wrong kind of movie.
The premise is Grohl wants their tenth album to be special and they need a different kind of place to record. Their manager, Shill (Jeff Garlin), suggests a house in Encino that was the site of another rock band’s demise back in the ‘90s. Predictably, the movie is just a straight murder house story, with the band being forced by a possessed Grohl to finish a song that will set the loose the devil or something (this is never clear) and lots of death by the end.
The structure of the film should have been an interview with Grohl discussing how the new album got made. The scenes would shift between the interview and Grohl’s memories of what happened in the house. Instead of one fifty-minute song (even for a B-movie, this was nonsensical), they make a series of songs where each song ends up being dedicated to a character who died, including non-band members. Hire Christopher Guest to help make the film or, at the very least, watch his movies and take notes. Not only would this structure make for a much more compelling movie, it would allow for each death to be setup in dramatic or comedic fashion or both. And, it would have allowed them to keep much of what ended up in the film. How much fun would it have been to see Grohl explaining lyrics or musical choices that tied into Rami Jaffee trying to bang the neighbor or Pat Smear sleeping in the kitchen or Chris Shiflett grilling meat?
I can’t stress enough that I had exactly zero expectations for Studio 666, just morbid curiosity. If you like bad B-movies, the Foo Fighters, or both, you’ll probably enjoy this film. I can easily see it becoming a cult classic, like so many other inexplicably popular bad movies. Just know that no amount of camp can distract you from the fact that Grohl should probably stick to writing things that only last a few minutes.
Rating: Do not ask for any money back because you’re not allowed to ask that for B-movies.