Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Key of L Sharp

Film: Studio 666
Format: DVD from DeKalb Public Library on basement television.

I have to admit that I didn’t expect a great deal out of Studio 666. This is clearly something that Dave Grohl wanted to do and figured he could. In that respect, Dave Grohl is a lot like Snoop Dogg. Both of them have essentially won life and are now just playing through the side quests. So why not make a horror movie?

Of course that’s what Studio 666 is. With that name could it really be anything else? It’s going to feature the members of Grohl’s band Foo Fighters as movie versions of themselves, more or less. I honestly don’t know enough about them to know how much their portrayals are exaggerated for the film. I imagine, like many instances like this, that these are intensifications of who they are.

We’re going to start, as many a horror movie does, in the past. In a house, we hear screaming and see someone bloodied crawling away from a figure who pursues her, catches her, and kills her. And now we’re in the present. Foo Fighters are preparing for their 10th album but are dealing with writers block. Under pressure from their manager (Jeff Garlin), they move into a house together to produce their next album. Is this the house from the opening? Of course it is—that’s why we saw that opening.

What happens is exactly what you expect to happen. Odd things happen around the house. There are weird noises and echoes. One of the techs is electrocuted, but Grohl, as the putative leader of the group, demands that they soldier on. Eventually, he winds up in the house’s basement where he sees some tortured animals and the recording equipment of the last group to record in the house. This is where he’ll get his inspiration for their newest concept album/song—a 40+ minute epic along the lines of classic ‘70s prog rock. Of course, this song opens a portal to hell.

In that respect, Studio 666 is precisely what I expected it to be. There’s not a lot going on in the plot here that isn’t to be expected. So why watch? For a few reasons. The first is that the six members of the band are clearly having a great time. This is also a group that has tremendous interpersonal chemistry. Foo Fighters have been around for a couple of decades and have had almost no line-up changes for a band this prolific. Grohl and bassist Nate Mendel have been with the group since essentially its inception. Guitarist Pat Smear (one of the greatest stage names around) started with the group, took a hiatus, and returned for the last 10 years. Taylor Hawkins took over the drums in 1998 until his tragic death earlier this year, and guitarist Chris Shiflet has performed with the group since 2000. Only Rami Jaffee, with the band since 2018, is a relative newcomer. For the most part, these are guys who like being around each other, and that comes through in the film.

It's also surprisingly funny. It’s not surprising that the group would aim for horror comedy. A straight horror film, or even a straight drama, probably isn’t the best choice for a band that clearly has a sense of humor in a lot of what they do. No, what’s surprising here is that a lot of the humor actually works. There are some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, something that I did not expect to be the case. They’re having a good time in large part because they’ve got a lot to work with.

It's also worth saying that Pat Smear and Rami Jaffee are genuinely having a lot of fun with their personas in the film. With the possible exception of Grohl, they’re having the best time here, living their best lives (and dying their best deaths).

Last, Studio 666 is a lot gorier than I expected. There’s a lot of blood here, both in the real world of the film and in a dream sequence or two. Much of this is comedic, but not all of it is. There are a couple of genuinely violent moments.

Studio 666 has a very clear market. If you like horror movies, you’ve got one foot in the door already, because while there isn’t a lot here that is new, there’s a lot here that you can expect to like. If you also happen to be a fan of Foo Fighters of Dave Grohl in general, I don’t have to do a lot of work to sell you on watching this.

Is this a great movie? No. It is a fun one, though, and because of it, a pretty entertaining one.

Why to watch Studio 666: It’s funny.
Why not to watch: It’s not like these guys can act.


  1. I do want to see this as I do like the Foo Fighters as they're a bunch of funny guys though it will feel like a bittersweet experience since we lost Taylor Hawkins. Man, this is a tough year for rock and alt-rock. I'm starting to think that both the Foo Fighters and Depeche Mode should just call it day as I can't see either band without Hawkins and Andrew Fletcher, respectively.

    1. As long as Wilco makes it to the end of the year, it won't be a complete write-off.

    2. OK then, I do love Wilco. At least there's still my beloved NIN though I didn't get to see them this year due to the fact that I'm not really into music festivals. I am still waiting for a dual NIN-Radiohead tour.

    3. I'm too old (and generally too uninterested) to go to concerts these days, but I saw Wilco at two different tour openings years ago.