In select theaters now (find out when and where here)!
AMERICAN SATAN (2017)
Directed by Ash Avildsen
Written by Ash Avildsen, Matty Beckerman
Starring Andy Biersack, John Bradley, Denise Richards, Booboo Stewart, Jesse Sullivan, Tori Black, Bill Goldberg, Malcolm McDowell, Bill Duke, Sebastian Gregory, Ben Bruce, Olivia Culpo, Jamie Bernadette, Mark Boone Junior, Sebastian Bach, Drake Bell, Patrick Muldoon, Tomas Arana, Larry King
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AMERICAN SATAN isn’t really a horror movie per se. The film follows the rapid rise and just as rapid fall of a band called the Relentless. From living in a van down by the river to headlining festivals around the world, AMERICAN SATAN depicts the sexy and fatal life of sex, drugs, and rock and roll and what one must do to get there, in a truncated, yet entertaining manner.
Lead with the golden voice of their bandleader Johnny Faust (Andy Biersack – real life frontman for the rock band Black Veil Brides), the Reckless arrive on the Sunset Strip and immediately begin their rise to stardom after running into a mysterious man who first appears to them as a hobo, but soon reveals his name to be Mr. Capricorn (Malcolm McDowell). The rest of the band, which includes actors and real life rockers – including TWILIGHT’s BooBoo Stewart and John Bradley aka Samwell Tarley from GAME OF THRONES acting as the bands manager, take the deal which calls for a blood sacrifice in exchange for fame. Resultantly deciding to do through with it, all of the band’s dreams come true, but with that comes drug and alcohol addiction, sex and abuse, and a cult of fans willing to do anything the band commands them to do in their songs.
AMERICAN SATAN never goes full horror and merely skirts on the idea that all bands who rise to stardom have made deals with the devil. From the insiders view into the industry, we see all of the rock band clichés of trashing hotel rooms, getting into brawls in hick towns, overdoses, and being too strung out to play. The thing that this film has going for it is that it has a pretty phenomenal supporting cast like SONS OF ANARCHY’s Mark Boone Junior as the band’s record producer and wrestler Bill Goldberg as the band’s head of security. These two, plus some fun cameos by PREDATOR’s Bill Duke as an angel complimentary to Mr. Capricorn’s devil influence, Denise Richards as Johnny’s mom, and even Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach lend some heft to this somewhat typical rise and fall tale. Another thing that stands out is that the music is actually not half bad, so this doesn’t feel like another Hollywood rock and roll depiction. Biersack actually lends credibility with his formidable stage presence and makes a decent protagonist to watch wreck his life.
Still this is hardly a horror story. Some somber quotes from notable rockers like Ozzy, Carlos Santana, and others at the beginning and the end hint that there is some truth to the devil actually being behind all of this, but also it could just be people who were already pretty fucked up not being able to cope with all the attention of the public and the way the media loves a rise and fall story. Either way, even though the film doesn’t have many scares, it does depict the rock n’ roll lifestyle pretty legitimately. So if you’re looking for a backstage look at the ugliness of rock fame, AMERICAN SATAN does a formidable job of showing it.