Studio 666

Studio 666 is a lark, through and through.

First conceptualized by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and then further developed by fellow bandmates Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Rami Jaffee, Chris Shiflett, and Pat Smear, Studio 666 follows an exaggerated version of Foo Fighters as they escape to a creepy house to record their tenth album.  Grohl has a bad case of writer’s block (or as the film refers to it “creative constipation”), and he hopes a change in environment will help clear his head.  As soon as he hears the acoustics in the new house, he’s instantly inspired.  When he finds an abandoned reel-to-reel tape recorder featuring wild riffs (which features a new note Grohl claims as the “L-sharp”), the direction of the new album takes a heavier tone;  possessing Grohl in a way that worries, and sometimes pisses off, his bandmates.

Studio 666 is billed as a horror-comedy, but it works better as the former genre.  The movie goes hard to create some absolutely disgusting kills with very gory effects, and each one of those deaths is a memorable demise.  The details in the effects, while gross, are truly fantastic and startlingly realistic.  Likewise for the beady-eyed demons that haunt Grohl, that have a terrifying design akin to those who have described sleep paralysis hallucinations.  The movie is reminiscent to Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem and, to be honest, Studio 666 does a better job with these ideas than Zombie’s flick.

The members of Foo Fighters are naturally funny guys, so it’s surprising how unreliable the film’s humour is.  Considering how much swearing there is and how “inside-jokey” the dialogue seems to be, I wonder if the screenplay provided by Jeff Buhler (The Prodigy, 2019’s Pet Sematary) and Rebecca Hughes (Der Vulkan) was used more as a map for the movie to follow while the musicians riffed.  The movie is obviously scripted, but the banter between Foo Fighters seems to only play towards the personal dynamic they have with each other.  To give you an idea, I’m pretty sure one of the running gags in Studio 666 is that Pat Smear isn’t a very good actor.  A joke that may be enjoyed by the band, but it’s too indistinguishable for casual movie goers.

Foo Fighters, however, initially set out to make a goofy “midnight movie” that you can be entertained by over a couple of beers with friends.  On that level, Studio 666 works.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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