★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by BJ McDonnell.
It’s probably not too far out on a limb to say that Dave Grohl is an American treasure, but it turns out he actually is. From his time in Scream to Nirvana and his alt-grunge outfit the Foo Fighters, the man has done it all. Vacillating between documentaries with topics as varied as the Bad Brains, Lemmy, obscure record labels, and even Devo, Dave has covered nearly every possible music genre and sub-genre.
While he’s acted in a handful of fictional films, he’s never really touched on the world of horror. That is until now. Turns out he’s a pretty great actor. And he’s also got a penchant for comedy.
Studio 666 (not to be confused with the grade D 2005 horror film of the same name) is directed by music video director, BJ McDonnell (Hatchett III). Like Grohl, McDonnell also has a pretty decent eye for comedy, comedy writing, and it turns out, GORE. Glorious gore!
The film follows the actual Foo Fighters as they struggle to pen a 10th album. We all know their hits, but after ten albums and thousands of appearances, the Foo Fighters are (fictionally) tapped out. Their hyper-sleazy manager Jeremy Shill, played superbly by Jeff Garlin, suggests they seek song-writing refuge in an abandoned Hollywood mansion. But it turns out, you guessed it, the mansion is haunted by the ghosts of former fictitious rock legends Dream Widow.
The Foos are undeterred by recording and certainly undeterred by recording in a haunted mansion. In a reoccurring hysterical bit Grohl calls in the entire band for a “Pearl Jam 10 high five” and then proudly proclaims “Jeremy has fucking spoken!” This laugh-out-loud interlude is frankly worth the entire rental fee.
While it should come as no surprise — at least from a plot standpoint — Grohl is quickly, hilariously, and unceremoniously possessed by the ghost of Dream Widow by way of a Evil Dead-like book. Sort of a compact with the Devil brought to you by the worst-ever entertainment lawyer. Grohl excitedly tells the band that he’s discovered an undiscovered musical construct — the “L” note. Being who they are the Foos go along with Grohl’s excited explanation as he compels them to play harder and faster in the service of the L note.
The third act of Studio 666 does somewhat devolve in to a rather formulaic horror tale, but it’s not before incredible, and dare we say, never before seen varied guest appearances. Everyone one from the comedic talents of SNL alum Will Forte as an opportunistic delivery driver to Whitney Cummings as the weirdo neighbor with a penchant for the occult, the film is packed with perfectly concocted guest vignettes.
Amazingly, thrash metal great and Slayer guitarist Kerry King makes a wonderful appearance as the Foo Fighters’ gruff and churlish roadie, Krug. Maybe even more incredible than thrash god King? John Carpenter’s appearance. Yes, that John John Carpenter has a passing, but sadly not humorous, stint as a sound engineer.
The great thing about Studio 666 is its broad appeal. You don’t have to like horror or even the Foo Fighters to appreciate a loving homage to comedy forefathers. Writers Jeff Buhler and Rebecca Hughes do an exceptional job of boxing in the limited acting talents of the Foo Fighters, all the while concocting scenes that allows for each of their personalities to rise to the surface and offer up a funny line or two.
Given that Studio 666 was made during a global pandemic, coupled with the fact that it was really a goofy add-on to the very real recording of their album Medicine at Midnight, this film is nothing short of a miracle. Studio 666 does hit a number of well-developed comedic beats and also manages to dole out several rather gory bits that will even make the most hardened horror fans wince.
While all the Foos participate, Studio 666 is really Dave Grohl’s film. Not in a selfish and possessive way, but in a way that allows everyone to creatively participate. Like any good band there are frontmen/showmen/leaders. Everyone does their job, but occasionally there are those band members that have a little more focus. You might even say they’re possessed!
Studio 666 is Rated R and available for streaming everywhere.