I watch a lot of movies. I love films of the horror and exploitation genres and as such I watch a lot of independent horror. Every once in awhile something comes along that is downright enjoyable; though often the films make it hard to find anything praiseworthy. It’s even harder now to make found footage films seem relevant. Pat Higgins and Jinx Media blew all of my expectations out of the water.
Everyone loves a good music documentary. The more tragic, mysterious or lascivious the better. The story of Angela Lee (Victoria Hopkins), an up and coming shock rocker who claimed to be a satanic voodoo witch bitch from New Orleans named Erika Spawn, fit the bill nicely. THE DEVIL’S MUSIC is filmed in the documentary format and involves former band mates, shrinks, evangelists and opposing acts. Her band included bassist Adele Black (Jess-Luisa Flynn), drummer ZC (Alan Ronald) and an ever-changing string of gas mask sporting guitarists. Things went askew when a mysterious groupie, Stef Regan (Lucy Dunn) appeared backstage after one of their shows. Soon after they would go spiraling out of control with only a handful of people able to explain their version of events.
Erika Spawn is about to make it big. On the verge of greatness they decide to film a documentary of the most recent tour with the help of Stef the creepy groupie. Stef kind of bounces from act to act it seems as she was once a fan of pop crooner Robin Harris (Scott North). He is a boy band veteran, now solo, who sings saccharine bubblegum songs with vaguely Christian underpinnings as a counterpoint to Erika’s songs of mayhem and death. Robin’s attempt to play off the fact that his “Simple Words of Love” was knocked off the top of the charts at Christmas by Erika’s “Body of a Whore” doesn’t fool anyone. Soon a pair of jarring events leave the future of Erika Spawn in doubt as Robin tries to bring public opinion to bear against her. Is he just trying to climb the charts again or does he have a more sinister motive?
THE DEVIL’S MUSIC excels at all levels. The story is engrossing. It pulls the viewer into its world of underground rock and the cults of personality that goes with it. The characters are interesting and possess depth despite the lack of back story for all but the protagonist- possibly a product of the documentary style. The music performances are well shot and the songs (at least the ones by Erika Spawn) are pretty good too. The production values are top notch, the picture is well shot, the film is well edited and the sound design is excellent. The performances are all convincing and quite well done for an independent horror film and Hopkins and Flynn are smoking as the gothed out rockers. All of this belies what must be the miniscule budget of the film. It is found footage, but it is found footage of the highest caliber. Slick like THE BAY and gritty like THE LAST BROADCAST, THE DEVIL’S MUSIC will blow you away.
THE DEVIL’S MUSIC disappeared from US shores shortly after its release in 2008 due to rights issues but it is now available once again thanks to Jinx Media through Distrify.