Johnny Gruesome (2007)

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Overall Rating 44%
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Ranked #12,020
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Connections: Johnny Gruesome

When high school heavy metal rebel Johnny Grissom is murdered by a coke head, he returns from the grave as Johnny Gruesome, the "Headbanger from Hell!" --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: June 26, 2008
Back in '05, I stumbled across a little film called Slime City from director Greg Lamberson. Being the fan of eighties cheese that I am, I thought that it was a great movie, but I was a bit disappointed when I realized that this was basically his only claim to fame. Sure, he had another film entitled Naked Fear which came as a bonus feature on that Slime City disc and he also had another film (New York Vampire) which is apparently impossible to get on DVD, but when it comes to honest-to-goodness horror, it seems as though that one film was all that we were going to get.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that Lamberson had actually kept himself rather busy in the world of horror with his latest creation: a zombified rocker by the name of Johnny Gruesome. As of this writing, this particular character has appeared in two comics, a novel, a concept CD, and yes, even a short film. There's no real information about a feature-length film being developed with this property as far as I can tell (although there are hints at the idea floating around), but if this short film is any indication, someone really should throw this guy some cash so that we can see ninety minutes of Gruesome on the big screen or on DVD at the very least.

The short film is what we're going to take a look at tonight, and it basically serves as a huge tease to get us to move into the other properties that Johnny has appeared in. It begins with an introduction to Johnny Gruesome (Ryan O'Connell), a badass fellow with a slick car and a hot girlfriend named Karen (Erin Brown), but unfortunately for Johnny, a crack addict (Dan Loughery) murders him and steals his girlfriend away from him. Unfortunately for the crack addict and his whore of an ex, Johnny returns from the grave as a zombie with a severe attitude problem who has but one thing on his mind: vengeance.

As mentioned, this is basically a teaser video as it runs for about eight minutes, and it basically plays out like a music video with songs from the CD thrown in to spice it up. However, as a teaser video, it does its job and it does it damned well: I'm already drooling over the idea of a full-length version of this tale, I've already purchased the CD soundtrack, and that novel is looking mighty attractive. Who can pass up the idea of a tale of revenge served up with a zombie rocker in the starring role? Who can listen to that eighties-themed metal and not find themselves singing along after the first chorus?

Now, remember that the property is in the good hands of Greg Lamberson, a man who has proved that he knows a thing or two about making a good horror film with Slime City, and then consider that that film was his debut from twenty years ago. With decades of experience under his belt and a downright awesome idea in hand, this film could be a classic if given the time and budget that it deserves.

Observant readers may have noticed that I've talked more about the possibilities and the "what if's" than I have the film at hand, but that is quite simply because the short film itself has me hooked on the character and what could be done with it. This is not to say that the mini-movie is all potential with no delivery, as it's actually an entertaining affair that I've already watched a couple of times over. Ryan O'Connell is perfect as Johnny and the makeup effects are great, and of course, we have the actress formerly known as Misty Mundae as his costar who... well, do I really need to say once again how much I love that little lady?

Even if this is all we ever get in terms of live action Johnny Gruesome, it'll serve as a great introduction to the character and get fans hooked on the other media that he appears in. However, if my review hasn't clued you in thus far, I'd love to see a feature-length version of this film, and I truly believe that it would become an instant classic. 8.5/10.
Chad #1: Chad - added 06/26/2008, 07:37 AM
If you want to watch it, click the Official Site link on the side there, click "Gruesome MySpace" from there, scroll down, and click play.
Optimus Prime #2: Optimus Prime - added 10/19/2009, 04:31 PM
It'd make a pretty good film if they made a feature-length version. Wasn't bad, 7/10.
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