The famous ’80s hair band, Solid Gold, have made a trek to a small community located on some snow covered mountains. They have made this trip in order to film a music video for their new hit song, Blood Tracks. The band and their entourage,which include the film crew and a gaggle of models who will appear n the video, are being housed in a cabin near their shoot and the small town is even lending them a chopper and it’s pilot, John. As luck would have it, near the cabin they are staying in is an abandoned factory. Deciding that an abandoned factory would be too awesome of a location NOT to shoot a music video, some of the crew begin scouting out the place. What no one knows is that for 40 years, a feral family have been living in this factory, and the sounds of all that shitty music has pissed them off, and visitors to their humble abode are not welcome. To top things off, avalanches have now trapped the band and their entourage on the mountain, cutting them off from help or any easy way to escape.
The first thing you should know about Blood Tracks is that the band in the movie, Solid Gold, is actually a Swedish glam band called Easy Action . They found a little success in their native country of Sweden, and some of their members went on to more recognizable hair bands. Kee Marcello, the guitar player for Easy Action, went on to be the lead guitar player for the more well known, puss-rock ’80s band, Europe. The lead singer, Zinny Zan, went on to form Shotgun Messiah, whose bass playervocalist, Tim Skold, would later go on to replace Twiggy in Marylin Manson’s band. Lastly, some may remember Easy Action as the band who sued Poison for ripping off the chorus to their minor hit, We Go Rocking, to use in their more widely known, craptacular single, I Want Action. Zinny Zan later reported that they won the case in 1989.
Now how in the hell did a Swedish hair band become involved with a slasher film? Easy Action were trying to be international stars and were told that in order or them to be sold abroad, they needed to be selling records in their native country. While they kicked around a few ideas about how to separate themselves from the pack, Alex Tyrone came up with the idea of making a movie after looking at the VHS copy of KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. He wanted a film that mixed a bit of every rock n´roll movie he had ever seen. Help, A Hard Day’s Night, Tommy, Quadraphoenia and even Purple Rain. In order to do this, they enlisted the help of Swedish B-movie director, Mats-Helge Olsson (credited as Mike Jackson in the film). Olsson already created a few movies already, filming mostly in a small, Swedish town but making the films seem as if they were filmed in other locations – but he was currently in prison because of some financial matters from the last movie he made.
For whatever reason- probably financial – they decided to contact Olsson in prison anyway and explain what they wanted to do. Olsson was interested and a few months after that phone call, he was out of jail and with the band collaborating on the movie that would help make them International Superstars! Aside from completing the movie, nothing else panned out. Easy Action were disbanded about a year later, and the movie was terrible. So, that’s all the background you never wanted to know about Blood Tracks so let’s move on and talk about the actual film.
Blood Tracks opens showing us a woman who kills her asshole husband during a domestic spat, picking up her young kids and running off into the night. A voiceover explains that this family found shelter in an abandoned factory and have lived there for the last 40 years. As Easy Action and crew are headed to the cabin that has been prepared for them, they notice the factory in the distance and decide to stop for a bit and begin filming some scenes for the video. There are many things I could say about this portion of the film, from the band members themselves, to the song, to the girls whoring themselves up and getting their hair to reach dizzying heights to convince you just how goddamn hilariously trashy it all is, but I don’t have to. A Youtube member has already capped it. So sit back and enjoy what could have been the beginning of one of the most unintentionally funny slashers ever and watch a bit of the video for Easy Action’s Blood Tracks:
Ok, come on. You have to admit that after sitting through that, you are thinking that you have to be in for some good times. I really, really thought I may have stumbled upon some trashy, forgotten gem. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Blood Tracks. Even with this perfect setup of spandex wearing glam band and their skanky dancers, Blood Tracks just follows the standard slasher formula in an attempt to rip off The Hills Have Eyes. One after another, the crew and band members all decide to go investigate the surrounding areas alone or small groups. In one scene, while exploring the abandoned factory looking for their missing friend, one male even tells the female companion “It’s too big. I think we’re gonna have to split up.” Of course this makes our victims easy pickings for the pizza-faced clan and they are dispatched accordingly.
Still, even with this, they could have salvaged the film with some good, gory kills but that is another area that is flubbed both by Olsson and the censors. Not to say that there is no gore, as surprisingly, there was a high body count in Blood Tracks, 18 deaths in all, which is a pretty decent body count even by today’s standards. A good bit were off-screen and uninspired, but there were a few notable kills. One involves the head of Kee Marcello. So for all of you hair band haters, here is a chance to see something on film that you may have envisioned doing every time you had to hear someone blasting Europe’s The Final Countdown. Other notable scenes include an amputation by shotgun blast, an impalement and an axe to the head. The movie was a victim of censors, and supposedly there are a few different versions of the movie floating around. I want to say the version I watched was uncut, but there were two scenes that seemed heavily edited.
But had Blood Tracks had 100 deaths, it would not matter much as Blood Tracks suffers from something that totally ruins any fun you may have had watching a movie no matter the caliber. It is too goddamn dark. The majority of the film takes place during the night and this does not bode well for inadequate lighting in night scenes in the woods or an abandoned factory. There were some scenes when I am still not exactly sure what the hell happened. Of course, it is not the directors problem if I got a bad transfer, or if his film was edited, but even had there been good lighting and more gory deaths, Blood Tracks would not have fared much better because of the shit dubbing, cringe-inducing dialog that include such nuggets of gold as one of the dancers exclaiming “I’m gonna freeze my tits off!” to which the director replies “Who ever told you snow was warm…baby.” The acting by the band, when they are onscreen, is bad but only echoes the rest of the cast who do not even look like they want to be there. It may have helped the film a tad, even for the laugh factor, had Easy Action been featured more than they were.
The soundtrack, aside from two original tracks created by Easy Action, is a bowel-churning synth score you have heard variations of in countless direct-to-video films. But topping off this turd, is the absolutely uninspired direction. Blood Tracks is utterly devoid of any type of style whatsoever and consists of one badly framed, point-and-shoot scene after another. It all reeks of complete ineptitude from every single person involved. Hell, even the closing credits only include the actors real names and not who they played. It’s a shame too, as you would think it would be hard to screw up scenes that include an ’80s hair band video vixen on a snowmobile trying to escape the clutches of a mutated madman. But Olsson does just that. Even the booby traps that the clan set in the factory are not fully realized and could have added an entirely different aspect to the film.
I am a glutton for punishment and actually do enjoy bad ’80s horror as much as I like good ’80s horror. But this is one film I just cannot recommend anyone waste their time on unless you want to see a possible reason of why no Swedish horror was ever seen in the ’90s. Maybe if you are a slasher completest or someone who is attempting to check out all metalhorror movies no matter the quality. But this is no Black Roses or Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, so beware. Zinny Zan was later asked what he thought about this film. He responded, “Not much to say about it. Save your soul and don’t see it.” I couldn’t agree with him more. I’ll give this forgettable entry into the slasher genre 1 out of 5 cans of hairspray.
One final note. I wonder how much better had this film been had they kept the entire plot device, as unoriginal as it was, but once the bodies started piling up, have the band unite to fight the mutant clan. An ’80s glam band fighting a family of mutated cannibals with sharpened guitars, drumsticks fastened into mini-spears and hairspray flamethrowers. They could even have a scene in which they decide to fight instead of cower. It could be a montage of the band putting on their makeup like war-paint and teasing their hair. Now THAT would be a movie I would watch any day of the week.
For you ’80s hair band lovers, I have included the final track to the movie.
Click here to listen to Middle of Nowhere