Dave Grohl always seemed like a possessed man – and I mean it in a good way – from his early days behind the drums of Nirvana to his second Rock & Roll Hall of Fame career as frontman of the Foo Fighters to his status as a really cool rock ‘n’ roll dad who loves playing, writing and recording music. Every time the Foo Fighters perform live or you see Grohl give an interview, you can tell how much he loves his job and appreciates his life.
Now, Grohl is truly a possessed man in “Studio 666,” which is perhaps the most bizarre film featuring a band since “Kiss Meets.” the Phantom of the Park” in 1978. Directed in true splatter movie style by BJ McDonnell and featuring playing performances from Grohl and his bandmates, as well as a terrific roster of supporting players such as Jeff Garlin, Whitney Cummings and Jenna Ortega (the latest “Scream” queen), “Studio 666” is “This Is Spinal Tap” meets “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.
Is it a great movie? Not even close. But is it a real movie and not just a goofy vanity project? Yes! Rather.
The Foo Fighters play, well, the Foo Fighters, who their manager (Garlin) tells it’s time to deliver their 10th studio album, NOW. Seeking the same kind of inspiration that Led Zeppelin found at Headley Grange back in the day, the Fighters of Foo settled into an Encino mansion, a property with a decidedly spooky and haunted vibe. As the nosy neighbor (Cummings) explains, there’s a lot of dark history surrounding this place – but there’s something about the acoustics that convinces Dave that something special might be happening here.
If only he could overcome his writer’s block. When playing a “new” riff for his bandmates, drummer Taylor Hawkins says, “Man, wait, (it’s) called ‘Everlong,’ and you wrote it like 20 years ago.”
Eventually, however, Dave has a breakthrough when he discovers a long-lost underground recording studio, and he becomes possessed with making music – and also possessed by some sort of demon. At this point, “Studio 666” becomes a complete horror movie, with various characters sliced, diced, grilled, chopped, mashed – you name it. We get some great guest cameos from Will Forte and Lionel Richie, yes, Lionel Richie. Late in the film, Ortega appears and amplifies supernatural proceedings, and while I’m still not sure exactly who she was playing and what that had to do with the inner workings of the plot, there are some badass pyrotechnics involved.
“Studio 666” also has big laughs, for example, when the Foo Fighters celebrate by doing a “Pearl Jam high-five” (aping the cover of the “Ten” album), or when they know the charred corpse that they find on the property must be the food delivery man’s, as little cups of ranch dressing are strewn all around him. It’s a silly, silly, and free mix of music, comedy, and blood that kills.