Films should not require anything from audiences. At least, regular films. However, we’ve become used to fan-servicing films and now things could change. Not to say there’s a clean slate and fans should be forced to be fed whatever’s on the screen, but we should open our minds more often. It’s definitely necessary. This is one industry that should not follow a boring mindset, or even one that feels formulaic or repetitive.
All this to say, Röckët Stähr’s Death of a Rockstar deserves to be considered at least by those who seek something different in movies. Trust me, you will headbang your way into a weird universe of raunchiness, stardom, and powerful lyrics. But it isn’t a film for everyone. Those of you not familiar with heavy metal culture probably should stay away from this one.
Few films are so literal when being promoted and Death of a Rockstar was. This one was regarded as “Yellow Submarine” meets “Rocky Horror Picture Show” meets “Tommy” meets “Jesus Christ Superstar”. And yes, absolutely yes. It’s an animated feature that packs the goods and bads from those films and everything that came out after them. It’s a celebration of rock n roll and its effects, an exploration of how authoritarianism is capable of destroying our ability to be pure and express ourselves. All through a set of animations that go from the genius to the absurd. Watching this while being high should be curious.
In the future, a rock star is shot on the stage. The mystery is “who did it?”. A year before, a tyrant rules the city and rock is forbidden. But a mad scientist creates a Frankenstein figure for the sake of rock n roll. Röcky Stähr is his name and he will free everyone.
Time moves strangely in this musical. It’s part of a set of questions you’re not supposed to ask because you’re also not asking what’s with the big boobs, and insanely psychedelic imagery. Death of a Rockstar is to be accepted no matter what.
The key for this is to accept rock, and the soundtrack embedded in every single second of footage is responsible for this. It’s hard to identify who has done this, but his DNA is a mashup of the greatest rock influences in history. He has composed something as a result, a symphony of rock and cartoons that only serve one purpose: release you for a while from whatever structure you’re trapped in. Rock has the capacity of transporting you places, and Death of a Rockstar channels that feeling.
Again, Death of a Rockstar isn’t for everyone. It’s a product of passion and love made by someone who’s fascinated with rock as few of us are today. Add a crazy animation style and a goofy and irrational story and you get the idea of Death of a Rockstar, a rock opera in a modern industry where such things don’t exist, and cinema doesn’t require much from you. Sometimes.