When’s it out?
Suck is due to premiere on DVD and Blu-Ray this coming October.
Who’s in it?
Rob Stefaniuk, Jessica Paré, Malcolm McDowell, Dave Foley, Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Moby.
What’s it about?
Suck is described by its makers as a “rock’n’roll vampire comedy” and you won’t find a more perfectly explanatory synopsis than that. After parting company with their lovable oddball of a manager, struggling goth-rock four piece The Winners are in the middle of a tour when one of their number is seduced and infected by a debonair vampire. As the tour continues across North America, the band have to deal with their briskly escalating success (and infamy) as well as wrestle with the pungent seduction of voluntarily turning to the dark side themselves. They are ceaselessly pursued by a one-eyed vampire hunter named Eddie Van Helsing, played by Malcolm McDowell.
What’s it like?
A completely bizarre 1980’s cult oddity.
Star of the show?
He’s only in it for a handful of scenes, but Dave Foley – an immediately recognisable Canadian comedian who’s been in everything over the years from Kids In The Hall to Will And Grace to Pixar’s A Bug’s Life – plays The Winner’s unflappably loyal and laid-back on/off manager Jeff, and almost pinches the entire film. His deadpan delivery fits the tone of the material like a glove, and he has a truly impeccable way with a one-liner.
It’s probably the quality of the direction. Despite the rambling nature of the film’s road-movie plot and the notoriously tricky melding of horror with comedy, it all hangs together surprisingly well, and the pace is sustained by a collection of gags that are never needlessly coarse or slipshod. The musical interludes, many of which play on the ridiculous clichés of 1980’s goth and hair metal music videos, are hilarious. The cinematography isn’t bad either, and like almost everything else in the film it rather brilliantly summons to mind the ‘me decade’ with tangible sharpness. This should all feel terribly antiquated, but somehow it doesn’t.
There is a gag involving Moby and a sandwich that is absolutely guaranteed to bring the house down. But the best scene involves a prolonged cameo from Henry Rollins as a radio host named Rock’n Roger, a blithely juvenile slimeball who also happens to be the world’s most ferocious bastard. It’s the kind of scene you’ll go back to as soon as the end credits roll.
Suck is a film that couldn’t care less about narrative convention, and is never once concerned with making concessions for any audiences who may be wanting contained order or a familiar structure – but these are all very big reasons to love it. It genuinely feels like some kind of forgotten relic, discovered rotting on the bottom shelf of a dilapidated video shop and quietly re-released in the hopes that nobody will notice. It’s amiable and occasionally slow, but it’s always true to itself and some of the observations about the personal dynamics of a band on the road are uncommonly barbed, and certain to resound with anyone who’s ever been in a similar situation. It also strives to earn its cult status legitimately, rather than merely playing it weird and hoping that one will bubble to the surface by accident.
Hit or miss?
It’s an acquired taste to be sure, but if you ever taken a drunken gamble on a grungy old video that you knew nothing about, chances are you’re going to dig the absolute hell out of this. However, even if you’ve never been in that particular situation, this really is perfect post-pub fodder. Hit.