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‘Studio 666’ is a goofy, gory horror flick

Jake Coyle

AP – For anyone who found the band tensions that reverberate in The Beatles: Get Back too tame, the Foo Fighters have made a movie in which arguments over recording an album lead to a trail of dead bodies – and, no, this isn’t Yoko’s fault, either.

Studio 666, a horror-comedy starring the six members of the Foo Fighters as themselves, is one of the sillier concepts to reach the big screen in a while.

That it even exists is part of the joke – maybe even the whole joke. While Dave Grohl and company were making their 10th album at a big, old house in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, they hit on the idea of a bloodier riff on This Is Spinal Tap that would parody not just themselves but any band that’s ever sequestered themselves in a colourful locale said to have good sound.

“Like Zeppelin, when Zeppelin went to the castle,” Grohl urged his bandmates in the film.
Studio 666 was conceived as a lark, and that’s exactly how it comes off. It’s a goof, and there’s something to be said for watching Grohl and the gang having so much fun.

In the version I saw, you can even catch them laughing once or twice. The charm of that can only go so far, of course. This is essentially a decent SNL sketch stretched to nearly
two hours.

Dave Grohl in ‘Studio 666’. PHOTOS: AP
Whitney Cummings stars as Samantha
Taylor Hawkin as himself in a scene from the movie

But the Foo Fighters have in their three decades proved, if nothing else, the boundless possibilities of positivity and being regular, self-deprecating guys.

Letting the good times roll has made the Foo Fighters – despite being decades removed from their biggest hits – one of rock’s biggest acts, hall of fame inductees and, now, movie stars. If anything, Studio 666 is a testament to how likable they are.

Bad vibes are the enemy in Studio 666 – that, and a demonic force that dwells beneath the house and seizes Grohl, turning his monomaniacal desire for an “epic” album into a fevered, murderous obsession. Referencing Rush, he wants it to be “2112 times 2112”. He claims to discover a new note: L Sharp. A heavy metal thrasher stretches past 40 minutes in length.

Members of the band – Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Rami Jaffee, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel – are peeled away one by one, and director BJ McDonnell makes sure any death is comically extreme.

A few friends make cameos – Lionel Richie, Whitney Cummings and Will Forte as a delivery guy with a demo tape who tells the group they’re “like my second favourite band after Coldplay”.

It’s rare for any musical act to make a movie like this today – documentaries seem the preferred format these days – and rarer still for it to be a band that’s been around as long as the Foo Fighters have.

But hopefully it starts a new trend among ’90s acts. Maybe a hairbrained heist movie with Pavement or a science-fiction thriller with Radiohead?


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