MURDER BALLADS: HOW TO MAKE IT IN ROCK 'N' ROLL (2023)
Release Date: TBD.
Genre: Comedy. Horror.
Studio: Figi Productions. ProveMotion.
[Seen at Nightmares Film Festival 2023]
"Six interconnected stories tell the rapid rise and violent fall of rock band 'Stack of Corpses'"
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Mitchell Tolliday’s Murder Ballads: How to Make It in Rock ‘n’ Roll is a British invention that is as over-the-top violent as it is blood-induced fun. At its core, this is a comedy revolving around a series of chronological shorts, building an “anthology” of sorts that creates a masterful work of humor.
The characters are phenomenal together, creating an almost sketch-like presence with their delivery. The humor and the attitude of the characters reminded me of one of the greatest series to ever come to light, the cult-classic Portlandia. Similar to what Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein did with their portrayal of usually two oddball characters, Tolliday and co-writer Neil Rickatson have indirectly recreated the brilliance of their comedy stylings with a “band” consisting of actors that really bounce off one another. It’s a flow of comedic genius that is so uncontrollable in its wild turns, that you can’t help but stay latched to the piece of the storytelling within this band’s surreal mental state.
From getting the band together, to stealing a song from a deceased idol, to trying to save their kidnapped manager, to the conclusive end of the band as a whole by the end of the ballad. It’s a delightful experience to say the least with some short segments landing harder than others, but as a whole it nails a sweet consistency between comedy and horror. It’s truly such a beyond whacky tale from beginning to end with interruptions throughout by the deceased idol himself, Richard O’Keefe as played by Simon Callow (Four Weddings and a Funeral) - which on a personal level feel more like fluff than intentional gold written for the screen. These interruptions numb the experience to revolve around a character that shares almost no relevance to the plot beyond a singular segment.
Nonetheless, the feature is a rapidly moving train of insanity that allows for its hilarity to consistently hit beyond a few snags here and there. It’s a 97 minute comedy that is impeccably filmed, with a filmmaker that clearly knew what he wanted to accomplish here. The more time we have with these troublesome band members - the more we can’t help but fall in love with their antics. It’s hilarious, at times brutal and just the right amount of absurd - that anyone watching should find something to enjoy in this handsome tale of fame and misfortune.