There is a long tradition of rock n’roll, heavy metal, and even disco associated with the horror films of the latter half of the 70’s through the early 90’s. Even beyond the “heavy metal horror” subgenre that spawned the likes of Edge of Hell, Black Roses, Trick or Treat (the real one, with Gene Simmons and Ozzy, not that piece of crap from a few years ago) and Shock ’em Dead, we have such entries as the atmospheric Alice Cooper vehicle Monster Dog, the goofy but amusing Slumber Party Massacre II, even Juan Piquer Simon’s Extraterrestrial Visitors (aired on MST3K as “Pod People”).
One of the more unfairly maligned films of the type actually proves to be a step or two above the rest of its ilk: namely, Paganini Horror, directed by sci-fi aficionado and Dario Argento protege Luigi Cozzi (Starcrash, Contamination, Hercules I-II), whose final film this was.
After a brief and somewhat pointless opening scene involving a poorly dressed child, the film opens on a (then modern day) band in studio, recording an even softer pedaled variation of Bon Jovi’s “you give love a bad name” which appears to be called “Stay the Night” (as in “stay the night, lose control, you get rock n’ roll”, whatever that means). What’s so fascinating about this particular sequence is in how generally, films of this vintage tend to contain cheesy but actually kinda cool fist pumpers penned by film score composers and unknowns that you get the distinct impression “coulda been contenders” – catchy, melodic and anthemic rockers that just scream “it’s the 80’s”. But in this case? The song just kinda sucks – it’s average at best.