A very Rock N’ Roll Nightmare screening in Portland, OR
On July 19th 2014, I made a special trek from Seattle down to Portland for a very special occasion. The reason behind this particular jaunt was a special once in a lifetime screening of the often overlooked John Fasano classic, Rock N’ Roll Nightmare! Little did anyone know at the time just how special the night would be and the significance.
The night began early at Portland’s historic Hollywood Theater. There was an incredible turnout of people from all walks of life that showed up to see Rock N’ Roll Nightmare. (for a summary on the film, check here)
Originally, it was supposed to be director John Fasano and star Jon Mikl Thor in attendance. Sadly, John was not able to make it that night due to an illness and had to cancel. Little did anyone know at the time how serious it was. Everyone was saddened that John couldn’t be there, but the show went on.
Upon first entering the building, I was greeted by the man himself, Jon Mikl Thor at the front table. I took the opportunity to meet him in person and get a few things signed. He was very cool and down to Earth and was very approachable. He even wore the very metal armbands from the film! After taking the opportunity to meet and talk with several of the fans, Jon took off to get ready for the show and we soon made our way inside the theater where the show was set to begin. Before the show began, the man who runs the screenings Greg Hamilton had the fans record a get well greeting on his phone for the ill director John Fasano. I’m not sure if he ever got it.
The man, the myth, the legend: Thor!
First up was the movie that we all came to see in person, the cult classic Rock N’ Roll Nightmare. The reaction was amazing. I must say many of the people even put my knowledge of the film to shame! They laughed at the goofy parts, they sang along to the rockin’ songs and quoted many lines. We laughed our asses off at many parts along with the rest and it was a great to experience the movie in the theater setting. (side note: these throwback cult classic screenings are always a lot of fun. If you ever get a chance to see one of your old favorites in the theater setting, I highly suggest going for it!)
After the movie was over, Thor hit the stage. He talked about the film for a bit before he did something that took me by surprise when he started to belt out several of the classic songs from the film on the mic. Thor was joined on stage by two guitarists (one of which was super fan Billy Larouqe, who came all the ways from New Orleans for the screening!) and John Fasano’s son as he sang such bad ass 80s metal songs as “Energy” and “We live To Rock”. The crowd was fist pumping and singing along in their seats along with Thor.
Thor then had some old concert footage of his band from 1984 played on the screen to show the modern crowd the power and volume of what it’s like to see him live with the band. After that, things calmed down a bit as he sat down on the stage with Greg Hamilton to have a q and a session with the fans. Thor answered questions on topics ranging from the film to metal music, from bodybuilding to groupies, to questions about his questionable wardrobe choices in the film. Luckily, Thor was right with everyone and laughing along with the fans through most of it. I personally asked him about a particularly ridiculous premise in the movie and his answer was hilarious. When the Q and A session was over, there was another short screening of a documentary that Thor has been working on for years to cap off the event. It was really eye opening and looks like an interesting watch. Keep your eyes out for that one. Afterwards, Thor signed more autographs and took pictures with the fans again, this time probably to a whole new throng of fans who weren’t previously aware of his work. All in all, it was a very fun and interactive screening the likes of which are rare.
Throughout the night, the subject of John Fasano kept coming up constantly. Sadly, we did not find out until later the next day that John had passed away through the night. It was a sad way to cap things off, but can also be seen as a perfect sendoff for the man. I’m sure he would have been pleased to see so many people show up with such love and adoration for his film.
For more on John Fasano including my previous interview with him, check out my article Tribute to John Fasano here