Music Video of the Day: Leader of the Pack by Twisted Sister (1985, directed by Marty Callner)


Since today is Dee Snider’s 65th birthday, it makes sense that today’s music video of the day would come to us from Twisted Sister.  It might not make as much sense for that video to be for their cover of Leader of the Pack, which is widely considered to be one of the worst covers of the 80s.  Personally, I think both the cover and the video are a good example of Snider’s sense of humor.  Watching this, it’s hard to believe that Snider and the band were once considered to be a threat to young minds.  I may be picking Leader of the Pack because I think its underrated or I might be picking it because Valerie already did the video for I Wanna Rock.  Take your pick.

The Leader Of The Pack video is from the 80s and it features something that I always love to see in videos from that era: bad green screen special effects.  The anti-Twisted Sister notes from Mom and Dad float through the video like a weatherman superimposed in front of a map of the continental United States.

The video is about a girl who apparently only has room in her heart for Twisted Sister and Leonard Nimoy.  Just check out that giant poster of Spock that she’s got in her bedroom.  Her parents are probably alright with her love of Spock but they can’t stand the thought of their daughter liking Twisted Sister, probably because they think that Tipper Gore has a point about labeling music.  As for the girl, she may be in love with the leader of the pack (Dee, of course) but that doesn’t make her a good driver.  Not only does she wreck that bulky car but she barely survives.  Was it all worth it?

Just ask Bobcat Goldthwait, who plays her boss for some reason.  Goldthwait is instantly recognizable.  I haven’t been able to find the name of the girl in the video, though she looks familiar to me.

This video was directed by Marty Callner, who directed videos for everyone.

Enjoy!

Let’s Talk About The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (dir by Anthony C. Ferrante)


Yesterday was Sharknado Day.

What is Sharknado Day?  If you have to ask, you’ll never understand.  Sharknado Day is the day that the latest chapter in The Asylum’s Sharknado franchise premieres on SyFy.  That’s the day when people like me cause twitter to go over capacity tweeting about the film.  That’s the day good people all across America try to count the number of celebrity cameos while also trying to keep track of all of the homages and references to past movies that are always waiting to be found in every Sharknado Film.  Yesterday was the sixth Sharknado Day since 2013 and, if we’re to believe our friends at The Asylum, it was also the last Sharknado Day.

Is it true?  Was The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time truly the final Sharknado?  Perhaps.  But somehow, I have a feeling that the flying sharks will return someday.  Critics have always underestimated the production savvy of The Asylum and I wouldn’t be shocked if, after a year or two of nostalgia, we saw Sharknado 7: A New Beginning.

But if The Last Sharknado was truly the final Sharknado, then it can be said that the franchise truly went out on a high note.

The plot — well, usually, the conventional wisdom is that the plot of a Sharknado movie really doesn’t matter.  Usually, it’s assumed that all a Sharknado film needs is a lot of shark mayhem and snarky humor.  And that’s true, to an extent.  And yet, I still found myself getting caught up in The Last Sharknado‘s storyline.  It all deals with Fin (Ian Ziering), April (Tara Reid), the head of a robot version of April (again, Tara Reid), Nova (Cassandra Scerbo), and Skye (Vivica A. Fox) traveling through time, hopping from period to period.  Fin and April’s goal is to stop the first Sharknado and to save the life of their son, Gil.  Nova wants to save the life of her grandfather, even though that might change history to the extent that she would never become a great shark hunter.  As for the robot head … well, she develops an agenda of her own, one that really has to be seen to be believed.

The film has a lot of time travel and, of course, the journey from period to period allows for several celebrity cameos.  When Fin ends up in Arthurian Britain, Neil deGrasse Tyson pops up as Merlin.  During the Revolutionary War, a somewhat sarcastic General Washington is played by Darrell Hammond.  Dee Snider plays a sheriff in the old west.  Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott show on the beach in the 60s.  Touchingly, the film even finds a way to include the late John Heard in the action.  (Heard played a key supporting role in the first Sharknado.)  I’m a history nerd, so I enjoyed all of the time travel.  I especially enjoyed the film’s portrayal of Benjamin Franklin as a rather bitchy eccentric, largely because it’s often forgotten that Franklin was, in real life, a bit of a bitchy eccentric.

(Add to that, how can you resist a film the features both dinosaurs and flying sharks?)

The film takes a surprisingly dark turn during the second hour, as Fin and Skye spend some time in a dystopian future and Nova tries to change history by saving her grandfather’s life.  When Fin points out that doing so will change history and that, for Nova to become a great shark hunter, her grandfather has to die, Nova calls him out for being self-centered.  To their credit, both Cassie Scerbo and Ian Ziering play the argument totally straight and both give heartfelt performances.  Amid all of the comedy and the shark-related mayhem, the film develops a real heart.

That heart is at the center of The Last Sharknado.  To a large extent, the sharks are superfluous.  They’re carnivorous MacGuffins.  Instead, the film is about celebrating not only the bonds between Fin, April, Nova, and all of their friends but also the bond that’s been developed between the characters and those of us who have watched them over the course of six films.  Towards the end of the film, when Fin talks about what his friends and family mean to him, it’s clear that he’s also speaking for the filmmakers.  Just as Fin thanks his friends for sticking with him, the filmmakers take the time to thank the audience for sticking with them.  It was a heartfelt scene and it was the perfect way to end The Last Sharknado.

To those who do not celebrate Sharknado Day, it may seem strange to say that I got emotional while watching the final scene of The Last Sharknado on Sunday night.  Then again, is it any stranger than the idea of a franchise about a bunch of sharks flying through the air, spinning around in a funnel, becoming a major pop cultural milestone?

It’s a strange world and we’re all the better for it.

12 Days of Random Christmas Songs: “O Come All Ye Faithful” by Twisted Sister (Razor & Tie 2006)


cracked rear viewer

Dee Snider and his band released “A Twisted Christmas” in 2006, a heavy metal rendering of Christmas classics. The best of the bunch is “O Come All Ye Faithful”, using riffs from their hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” to rock the traditional holiday hymn. There’s even an official video, and here it is! Enjoy “O Come All Ye Faithful”… and rock on, Dee!:

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