An Italian horror flick!? There was no lumberyard that could compete with the amount of wood I was sporting. But wait – released by Troma!? Ho ho! NOW we're talkin'! Firing EXTREME JUKEBOX up, I anticipated my TV screen to be running with glorious scarlet and Tromatic hilarity of overdose proportions.
So imagine my and my woody's disappointment when EXTREME JUKEBOX turned out to be a pretty mediocre flick, flatter than the disc it comes on.
Jessie Cake (Alessio Cherubini), lead singer of metal band Grave Tomba, idolizes singer David Crystal (Maurizio Lastrico) who vanished twenty years ago. Breaking into Crystal's house in Nova Springs, Jessie finds an unreleased single of Crystal's called "Emily Palmer Was Alive." Playing it awakens a masked killer who – you guessed it – begins offing people left and right. There's another killer, dubbed "Naughty Rocky Boy" by the police, who's slaughtering people as well. And there's also a third one that pops up once. Now, it's up to Jessie and his friends to stop the killers... even though none of them seem particularly alarmed about the killers killing people...
First off, I have to take issue with Lloyd Kaufman's introduction to this movie where he claims that EXTREME JUKEBOX is the most demented Italian film since DEEP RED. Um, no. There are FAR more demented Italian films than DEEP RED, and far more demented Italian films than EXTREME JUKEBOX. Come on, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST anyone?
Okay, moving on to the movie itself. EXTREME JUKEBOX is a bit hard to follow and feels like a rough cut. It doesn't seem to have any goal in mind, instead preferring to just be a collection of scenes loosely tied together to form a semblance of a plot. Many times I found myself wondering what exactly was going on. And it's not helped by the fact that several scenes in the movie serve no purpose. What was the purpose of the two guys browsing in a record store shown at various points throughout the movie? What about the discussion between Don Kappa (Pino Scotto) and Terrance Holler (himself) talking about rock 'n' roll? These scenes don't serve the "plot" in any way (at least no way I could discern), so it's safe to conclude they're just here to pad the runtime.
"But are the kills any good?" I hear you asking. Aside from one they're all pretty lackluster and a few even happen off-screen. So those looking for kills in the Grand Italian Tradition will be sorely disappointed. Your average American slasher contains more on-screen deaths (and more violent ones at that) than EXTREME JUKEBOX.
And for a horror film with heavy metal and rock 'n' roll pumping through its veins, the soundtrack is pretty weak. The heavy metal heard throughout is more like aluminum and we don't even get the benefit of a thumpin' and rockin' Italian synth score. So yeah, nothin' here will find its way onto your iPod or MP3 player.
But the biggest problem with EXTREME JUKEBOX is that it completely lacks energy and vitality. But that kind of seems to be the case with fanboy films: all passion but no clue how to channel it properly. And, though it's billed as a "comedy/horror," it isn't the slightest bit funny.
And I take SERIOUS issue with the fact that heavy metal babes are plentiful yet there is not ONE bare breast, ass, or beaver in sight. UNACCEPTABLE!
Overall, EXTREME JUKEBOX is more like MILD JUKEBOX. No comedy, minimal gore, aluminum instead of heavy metal, no bangin' Italian soundtrack and the energy level of a rock earns EXTREME JUKEBOX a place in the Dust Collector pile.
EXTREME JUKEBOX is presented in Italian with English subtitles and the Blu-ray extras include a trailer, a Making Of featurette (which is as dull as the movie), information on the Rainbow Project (a charity started by Pino Scutto and his fiancée), some "Tromatic Extras," and a photo gallery. – Evan Romero
Evan Romero spends much of his time reading morally-questionable books and watching movies no sane person would touch. He is the vocalist/bassist for the punk band Porno Holocaust (you can find them on Facebook and listen to some demos if you’re inclined). You can read more of his reviews at ReelAtrocities.com, or at PopHorror.com.
EXTREME JUKEBOX is available at Amazon.
EXTREME JUKEBOX is available at Amazon.