Film Review: SHOCK ‘EM DEAD (1991)

Film Review: SHOCK ‘EM DEAD (1991)

Jan 1, 2016


For my second installment of Slasher//Video reviews, I am covering a film from back in the day starring Traci Lords. For the children out there, Traci Lords was a fairly controversial film star in her time. This is probably because she made tons of porn before she was eighteen. In order to make this happen she had to trick the film companies. This created a situation in which all of the movies she had starred in were found to be illegal, even though they had already been sold to the public. This has obviously made her an infamous individual; however, she did eventually build a career and become a cult icon. She has been in many films over the years, John Waters’ Cry Baby is where most people would recognize her.

Anyway, Shock ‘Em Dead is a horror/metal version of the story of Robert Johnson at the crossroads. I may be making this up, but it seems like a pretty good explanation to me. Released in 1991, it involved a nerdy character making a supernatural deal to become the biggest rock star in the world. As the hair band era was coming to an end at this time, this film gives us a look at the final glory days of  the androgynous, spandex obsessed, metal musicians.


Soon after Martin’s deal with the devil and his dream comes true, he quickly discovers that his deal has some unexpected consequences. He can’t eat human food, the hot chicks that live with him are actually dead and hideous, and the living girl he wants is the only person in the movie with any sort of moral code. So he ironically encounters a situation in which he cannot capitalize on any of the perks that come with being the biggest rock star in the world.The other ironic character is the one played by Traci Lords. This ex-underage porn star, plays the only character in the film with any sort of moral code. Her character is one of a strong female lead, that sticks to her convictions no matter what. Of course, much of her career actually involved major feminine roles. So it is good to see that her past didn’t completely destroy her acting career, and she didn’t always need to get naked to get the job.

So while this film probably marketed itself as a gory slasher with a porn star, it lacked nudity and violent death. Unlike Killer Workout, which had the best of both worlds, this film seemed to be more focused on the comedic aspect of the time period. Whether this comedic focus was purposeful or not, this film is totally worth watching. If anything, you will get to listen to the hilarious songs, make fun of the ridiculous costumes, and witness some awesomely bad acting. I had a lot of fun with this movie, even though it did not have the horror aspects that I loved in Killer Workout. So while I strongly recommend this to the collector of horror comedies, it may not, hold up for the gore hounds out there.