07 January 2010


Writing Diary, Entry #13
. . . and Twelve Things about a *Special* Cult Classic

Now that I've finally announced the imminent end of my main blog, I really should start posting better content on this blog.

As I said last week, writing work has been more steady than my silence on the subject has let on. Yet it has been a steady trickle from only one source. My Fully Booked Zine editor didn't take my pitch for the December-January issue; and after she asked me to write something for the next issue, her silence since then makes me conclude that she must have decided to assign it to someone else instead. Ah, the fickle world of magazine publishing!

At least my Atlas TV Guide editor still seems to like me. What that has meant, however, is that I've had to write articles on Reality TV for the past two months. (I still don't know how I managed to pull off those 500 words on The Biggest Loser Asia.)

Only this week did I get a commission really worth blogging about . . . Would I please, the e-mail requested, write a 300-word review on one of the following "Valentine" movies:

A Guy Thing, Miracle Beach, Love Bites, Rockula, Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype, Nobody's Perfect, The Boyfriend School, Impromptu

So . . .
can you guess which one I picked?

You probably already know it
if you're a "Follower" with a Reading List,
but just in case you aren't . . .
can you guess?!?!

Rockula poster

How did I ever manage to miss this movie until this year???

The only sad thing about this new assignment is that I had only 300 words and a clear direction to stick to the romantic angle. I could have written three thousand words, I think, most of which would have laid down the case for why this movie represents the 1980s so well.

Not that I'm going to give you a 3,000-word Rockula review right now . . . unless I manage to write twelve points of 250 words each . . . or attempt a live blog again. Yet I shouldn't talk about live blogging other movies until I actually get around to finishing Conan the Barbarian, so let's talk about the twelve points.

Those who have been paying attention to my movie lists know that I should be up to "Sixteen Things" by now--and you all know that I'd love to do "Sixteen Things about Rockula". However, now that Shredded Cheddar is going to have a future beyond that of "supplementary blog," I've decided to give it some better formats. Starting today, all movie lists will be "Twelve Things" lists.

Twelve Things about Rockula

12. The filmmakers had me at Thomas Dolby, who is perfectly cast as the coffin and gravestone salesman by day, music producer by night. (Just watch the movie, okay?)

11. Dean Cameron is adorable as the vampire Ralph LaVie, who has a slight lisp because of his fangs and has to wear a retainer. He's also really cool as Ralph's sarcastic reflection. Apparently, in the good old days--that is, pre-Meyer--the majority of vampires didn't have reflections, but those who did could talk to them!

More seriously, I think that we all talk to ourselves, weighing thoughts and feelings, pondering possibilities, rehearsing the stories we will someday share with the world, doing in the imagination what we would never do in real life. The moral of this rich inner dialogue is that even though one's "bad side" should be the one stuck behind the glass, well, sometimes the bad side gets it right.

10. Now here is the best reason to finish that live blog of Conan the Barbarian . . .

The first time Ralph and Mona met, she was killed by a jealous pirate, and since then, he has been destined to meet (and lose) her reincarnation every twenty-two years. Well, Rockula may have been released in February 1990, but it was filmed in 1988, which makes it twenty-two years old this year!!! What kind of blogger would I be if I let February 2010 come and go without a Rockula live blog?

9. Furthermore, someone else did the maths and figured that if one of the years in which Ralph met and lost Mona was 1918, then this story is actually set in 1984!!! (You all know how much I love 1984, the year that inspired my Friday Night Movie, right?)

Speaking of dates and stuff, now I can look forward to 13 October falling on a Friday as much as I already look forward to 12 May falling on a Thursday.

8. This is one of those movies that makes me ask, "Why doesn't this stuff ever happen to me?"

7. What is it with the 80s and single mothers of hapless sons? Ralph has a single mother, too, one who is played with relish by Toni Basil of Hey, Mickey fame.

6. Now forgive the bad language, but my favourite non-musical exchange in the whole movie is . . .

"You're such a dork, Stanley!"
"Take that back."
"Okay. You're an egotistical, pseudo-intellectual, money-grubbing slut."
"I'll buy that!"

At the end of the day, is it all just semantics?

5. Cameron and leading lady Tawny Fere do their own singing (and some rapping!), with very mixed results. I think the debut of the new band Rockula would have been laughed off the stage in any real-life club . . . but the fact that everyone in the movie loves it so much only makes it more hilarious.

(Whoever is playing that mean bass guitar totally made my week.)

4. On the other hand, I'm really not crazy about Fere's voice, which makes me wonder what the music technicians used almost a decade before Auto-Tone was available on the market. Yet I do have to give her credit for giving the decent Power Ballad By My Side her all.

3. Yet let me say that I love, love, love Fere's hair. If I could get away with a big perm, this far removed from the 1980s, then what do you think I'd be sporting today?

(Her leather jacket with an image of what seems to be a Madonna on the back isn't bad, either.)

2. One of my biggest issues with Rocky IV is that it had too many music videos and too little plot and character development. Though I have a similar problem with Rockula, its saving grace is that it isn't trying to be more than the Romantic-Comedy-Rock-Musical it so wonderfully is.

On the other hand . . . the animated soap opera Saturday morning cartoon Jem! had at least two music videos in every episode, all of which ably assisted rather than held up the storytelling. So it's actually possible to have both!

1. The first line of my article: Believe it or not, there was a time when vampires could find true love without sparkling . . .

(Word Count: 680 . . . Count yourself lucky.)

Image Sources: a, Rockula movie poster, b) Rockula VHS


iolanthe95 said...

I had never heard of this movie before you posted on my LJ about it. I must check netflix.

Enbrethiliel said...


If they don't have it, you can do what I did: watch the whole thing on YouTube! =)