February 21, 2016

Screening Report: We Are Twisted F*cking Sister

As I have said many times in the past, I was really late getting into movies and music and it took a very long time for my taste to emerge. What this means is that I missed a lot of what should have been my glory years. I am left playing catch up with old school music and movies and exploring genres and styles and whatnot. While I have made up some good ground, I will never be able to get to everything, it is just impossible. With all that said, I am thankful for movies like We are Twisted F*cking Sister and events like the one held at the Alamo Drafthouse. I mean that will all sincerity.

Twisted Sister is a band that was pretty much done by the time I really started getting into music. I knew their hits, of course, but it was out of my reach to be sucked into the hype around them, or have felt a part of their rise. Fortunately, I have gotten to see them live a few times over the past dozen years, and they put on one hell of a show. One of the venues I saw them in was the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. Why is that notable? It is the venue they signed their first record contract.

Now, as for the film, made by Andrew Horn, We are Twisted F*cking Sister covers the first ten years of the band’s existence. It goes from the early 1970’s when the first lineup, featuring guitar player Jay Jay French, took shape until the early 1980’s when they were on the cusp of international superstardom. These ten years shaped what the bad was and who Twisted Sister wanted to be.

The more than two hour long movie chronicles a band that did everything at full speed. They knew what they wanted, and they worked their asses off for it. Filled from start to finish with interviews with band members, managers, record label execs, journalists, and fans, we get to see them from every angle, taken inside the stories of the clubs, the other bands, the struggle to expand, the evolution of their look, everything. On top of that, there is some amazing footage of the band performing throughout this era, not to mention the photos of some of their crazy outfits.

The film is informative and entertaining. The pace is kept moving and the stories are fantastic. Granted, this may not appeal to those who aren’t fans, or at least interested in them, but that does not take away from how much fun this is.

As for the screening, it was hosted by Video Vortex’s Dino and featured special guests Jay Jay French and Eddie Ojeda, both guitar players for Twisted Sister. At the start of the movie, Eddie Ojeda and Dino came down to introduce the film, to great applause. Eddie told us how much he liked the movie and that he hopes we do as well. He also warned us he had a lot of Puerto Rican family there and we should keep an eye on our wallets!

Following the movie, Dino came back down and reintroduced Eddie and also brought out Jay Jay French. The two told more stories and and answered questions for the next 45-minutes. We heard more great stories like one where they nearly lost all of their equipment when the the back of their truck opened up. One of the funniest was of a drinking contest between Eddie Ojeda and Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray.

When all was said and done, the two took a few extra minutes to take some photos, sign a few autographs, and chat a little more one on one with the fans. It was a great event with a fun, raucous crowd. It gave me some insight into the band’s journey and I walked out a bigger fan than I walked in.

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