“They seem like such a perfect match. Each represents the outside edge of their respective mediums, a specific subgenre that caters to a very select, eclectic few. While many can argue that there are universal elements involved – to wit, the desire to be scared or the need to rock and roll – it is clear that not everyone embraces these extreme entertainment entities. No, it takes a true type of enthusiast to enjoy the intensity of punk or the fear factors of horror. So imagine what it would be like to meld these two totally intense concepts together, to construct a movie around the separate but equal elements of whiplash, aggressive music and the similarly violent statements of the cinematic variety Voorhees built. What would such a peculiar merger look and sound like?
The answer, interestingly enough, is incredibly FUNNY! Yep, that’s right. In the rather recent tradition of Midnight Skater, Shaun of the Dead and Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker, the combination of the slacker and slayer, the terrifying and the rib tickling has turned the creature feature on its head, proving that scary and silly can easily co-exist and even compliment each other. You can now add Punk Rock Holocaust to that list of amazing amalgamations. With Vans annual Warped Tour as a backdrop, and what has to be the highest body count in any movie EVER MADE, Doug Sakmann’s lunatic love letter to bloodletting and mosh pitting is big, brash power chord layered across the entire DIY mentality of the music, and the moviemaking, he’s championing. And the results are amazingly insane.
What Punk Rock Holocaust does best is play to the excesses inherent in both the world of power pop hardcore and extreme sports, the two areas Warped founder Kevin Lyman has used to forge a successful showcase empire. The unfettered energy expressed by the bands and their fans is funneled into this film, folded and mutilated a little by Sakmann’s desire to gently tweak the entire corporate rock sponsorship angle of the modern music biz, and expelled like so much pus from a flesh wound. Using subtle asides to the audience (the constant reference to Warped’s $25 ticket price, the numerous, noticeable product placements for things like Yoo-hoo and Monster Power Drink, etc.) and actually providing a little cynical commentary about the entire post-millennial punk movement (Lyman has a clever speech in which he rationalizes feeding the dead fans to the live ones in some manner of strange “circle of life” conceit), Sakmann socks us with one amazing moment after another, be it in the live arena (all the concert footage is great) or the realm of the ridiculous and repulsive.”