The band KISS (Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley) is going to be performing at an amusement park, but the evil park engineer Abner Devereaux (Anthony Zerbe) doesn’t want that. You see, he’s intent on replacing humanity with his totally loyal androids….
I’ve never understood the popularity of KISS. To me, they’re nothing more than clowns who play bland middle-of-the-road rock music. They do seem to be good showmen, but otherwise I can’t see anything special there. I suppose I can understand Gene Simmons‘ appeal with the ladies as I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t like having her cervix licked while a gent – or, for a cool chick, a lady – works on her fishing hole. Still though, this band was popular enough that it has kept touring and even inspired a comic book series which became a computer game which resembles this film more than a little. Whatever.
The three biker-type baddies known as Chopper (John Dennis Johnston), Slime (John Lisbon Wood) and Dirty Dee (Lisa Jane Persky) are jerks who mess with the park, so Abner messes with them in the haunted house setup that features the quite scary sight of a Frankenstein’s monster doing sit-ups. Not likely to make one forget the haunted house at Disneyland nearby, as opposed to this silly park which has the main claim to fame as being the stand-in for Wallyworld in National Lampoon’s Vacation, otherwise it’s nothing more than something to look at from I-5 as one goes to or from Los Angeles. Still, the passion that Abner has for this sorry place is fun.
Another sort of Abner’s fun is turning people into androids. Considering the technology of the time didn’t even make them seem lifelike when a team of humans worked their controls, the rest is even more idiotic. Sam Farrell (Terry Lester) is one of the transformed, his fiancee Melissa (Deborah Ryan) spends most of the film looking for him, only to enlist the help of KISS when she breaks through a barrier and their magical powers tell them that she’s legit. Yes, KISS has magical powers in this film for some reason.
Of course, I’m assuming that anything in this film has a reason. This is a plain gimmick film, designed to get viewers by putting the KISS bland front and center while a plot reminiscent of Scooby Doo played out in the background. The plot’s not the only thing that reminded me of Scooby Doo, the music, by Scooby Doo composer Hoyt Curtin, also sounds a lot like the music he composed for Scooby Doo. Still, I like it better than the KISS music. Yes, really. The plot feels lifted from a Scooby Doo episode as well.
What’s also true, is that this film was very popular when it was shown on television, but is now popular mostly with people who come out at night, mostly. Wait, no, it’s popular mostly with the people who like watching dreadful, awful, dire and other negative adjective movie titles. Yes, in that way the the movie is a great success in that the acting of KISS is worse than Keanu Reeves‘ minus Robert Mitchum‘s, yes, I know that’s a negative acting level, but leave me alone. The rest of the film’s epic badness comes from the recycled plot, bad music, low production values, and lines that even Mitchum couldn’t make sound good. It’s something that any connoisseur of crap must see.
Look out for Brion James as a guard.
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