Studio 666 (2022) poster

Studio 666 (2022)

Rating:


USA. 2022.

Crew

Director – B.J. McDonnell, Screenplay – Jeff Buhler & Rebecca Hughes, Story – Dave Grohl, Producers – John Ramsay & James A. Rota, Photography – Michael Dallatorre & Eric Leach, Music – Roy Mayorga, Visual Effects Supervisor – Matthew DeJohn, Visual Effects – Therapy Studios (Supervisor – Geoff Stephenson), Special Effects Supervisor – Brandon Turner, Makeup & Animatronic Effects – Alterian, Inc. (Supervisor – Tony Gardner), Production Design – Michael Barton. Production Company – Foo Fighters/Open Road Films/Briarcliff Entertainment/Roswell Films/Therapy Studios.

Cast

Dave Grohl (Himself), Nate Mendel (Himself), Pat Smear (Himself), Taylor Hawkins (Himself), Chris Shiflett (Himself), Rami Jaffe (Himself), Whitney Cummings (Samantha), Leslie Grossman (Barb Weems), Jeff Garlin (Grant Shill), Will Forte (Delivery Guy), Kerry King (Krug), Lionel Richie (Himself)


Plot

The Foo Fighters are dragging their heels on coming up with their latest album. To help them find inspiration, record company head Grant Shill books them into a mansion in Encino. As the group settle in, they learn that a previous band was killed in an occult ritual back in 1993. Dave Grohl starts uncovering the occult secrets in the cellar. He becomes obsessed, driving the band to unusual lengths in finishing the record and the final song in particular. As Dave’s behaviour begins to change, the others believe he has become possessed by demonic forces that are driving him to complete the song that will open a gateway.


Foo Fighters are an enormously successful rock band. The group was formed in 1994 by Dave Grohl, the drummer for Nirvana, who put the band together after the sudden dissolution of Nirvana following the suicide of Kurt Cobain. Since then, the Foo Fighters have put out ten studio albums and enjoyed enormous success touring internationally. Dave Grohl had previously appeared on screen in a rather hilarious cameo as an incarnation of The Devil in Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny (2006).

There is a whole tradition of musicians making films. Elvis Presley developed a dual career as an actor in the 1950s and 60s but the tone was largely set with The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night (1964), a freeform film based around The Fab Four larking around. There has been a regular tradition since of films with bands and artists spinning off a film, which can range between regular concert films to narrative works like The Who’s Tommy (1975) and Pink Floyd – The Wall (1982) to films centred around the artist(s)’ presence with genre examples ranging from Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (1988), The Spice Girls’ Spice World (1997) and Daft Punk’s Electroma (2006). The 1980s brought the peculiar specialty of the heavy metal/horror film with the likes of Trick or Treat (1986), Rock‘n’Roll Nightmare (1987) and Black Roses (1988) – Studio 666 is essentially a 2020s equivalent of one of these heavy metal horror films.

The film was apparently inspired by a series of unexplained incidents that occurred during the recording of the Foo Fighters’ previous album, Medicine at Midnight (2021), at a house in Encino. Several months later, the band returned to the same house and shot the film there. Much of Studio 666 consists of the band hanging out at the house and recording their album. These scenes are largely of interest if one wants to see band camaraderie (and Taylor Hawkins in his last appearance with the band before his death a month after the film came out); for everyone else, they consist of fairly lowbrow tomfoolery.

A possessed Dave Grohl in Studio 666 (2022)
A possessed Dave Grohl in Studio 666 (2022)

None of the band are particularly good actors so there is often an embarrassed awkwardness when it comes to them actually trying to carry lines. The one that goes way above and beyond the call of duty is Dave Grohl – indeed, this is more a Dave Grohl film than it is a Foo Fighters film – and all the others are shuffled into second place behind him. Grohl looks more like the type of character that a casting agent would put forward for the roles of the slightly nutty dad role or the inept best friend in a comedy but goes at everything with a determined enthusiasm.

The film is largely a fairly lazy Horror Comedy thrown around the antics of the band. Once Grohl gets possessed in the second half, this becomes undeniably entertaining with scenes of him eating animal (and possibly human) meat, levitating through the background of scenes and projectile vomiting. The film’s most entertainingly absurd scene is where Rami Jaffe falls into bed with neighbour Whitney Cummings while beneath the bed Grohl revs up a chainsaw and longitudinally carves them in two – a variant on the scenes with two lovers stabbed with a spear from Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) pushed to an outrageous level of gore. There are other such scenes throughout – heads cooked on the barbecue, a cymbal thrown that severs Taylor Hawkins’ body from the head down, or Grohl feeding bodies into a garden mulcher.

Director B.J. McDonnell had previously made Hatchet III (2013), along with a host of heavy metal music videos. Jeff Buhler who also wrote the Clive Barker adaptation The Midnight Meat Train (2008), Jacob’s Ladder (2019), Pet Sematary (2019), The Prodigy (2019) and The Grudge (2020), as well as created/produced the George R.R. Martin adapted tv series Nightflyers (2018). Buhler also directed the horror film Insanitarium (2008). The film also features a rare acting appearance from John Carpenter, the director of Halloween (1978), Escape from New York (1981) and The Thing (1982), among others, as the band’s sound engineer.


Trailer here


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