Shaun Costello – Joe Rock Superstar (1973)
Marc Stevens plays Joe Cock, a Jim Morrison by way of David Bowie circa Ziggy Stardust vocalist whose claim to fame is his uncanny ability to get it up on stage. When the film starts, his girlfriend (Tina Russell) is upset that her oral skills aren’t arousing him so she blows guitar player Sean Costello in the hallway telling him she’s ‘always had a passion for balls.’ Indeed.
The band goes on stage – Stevens lip synching to a Door’s cover (the original Doors’ song that Costello used has been removed and replaced for this release – you can’t blame After Hours for not wanting to get their asses sued off) with Costello hammering away at his guitar where this is none as Jamie Gillis keeps time on the drums. The same performers also appear in the audience in front of the stage, making you realize just how small the cast is for this Costello directed picture. At any rate, Cock can’t get it up and the band is booed off the stage. They retreat to think things over and Cock’s mother, ‘Mrs. Cock,’ helps him out (think Taboo here) before Gillis decides to give her a poke. The film ends with the news that the band has just been booked for Madison Square Gardens now that the news is out that Cock’s got his erection back.
Filled with stale sex, incessant bickering and talking over one another, and the most jaw droppingly funny stage performance ever, Joe Rock Superstar is pretty terrible stuff. Most of it feels like it was made up on the spot and the cast members all look completely out of it. Stevens seems to be having fun playing rock star while Costello (wearing a hippyish leather vest) and Gillis (sporting a Coke-Cola inspired Cocaine shirt) sort of wander from scene to scene as needed. As bad as the movie is, the stage scene is so completely bizarre that it completely redeems the rest of the picture and it’s worth watching the movie just for that short sequence.
Costello mentions in his essay that the concert scene was shot in an off Broadway theater on East 12th Street and Third Avenue but doesn’t name the venue. This is another film played for laughs and not intended to be taken too seriously at all. The actors are once again obviously having fun with the material here, however, and the comedic elements are definitely plentiful. The film has previously been released by Alpha Blue Archives and Something Weird Video with the ‘borrowed’ soundtrack intact.
Decadent rock star Joe Cock (nicely played with appropriately arrogant bravado by Marc Stevens) lives a life of total hedonistic excess. However, Joe suffers a serious career setback after he’s unable to get an erection while performing live on stage at a major gig. Can Joe’s doting mother (a hilariously bawdy turn by Ultramax) help him regain his mojo? Director Shaun Costello whips up a wickedly raunchy send-up of the gloriously lurid 70’s rock scene that admittedly downplays the drugs, but more than delivers on the sex with its graphic depictions of fellatio, cunnilingus, and copulation. Costello warrants extra praise for tossing really hot incestuous fornication into the sordid mix. Moreover, it’s a real hoot to see Jamie Gillis as the drummer wearing a cocaine t-shirt. Lovely brunettes Tina Russell and Valerie Marron further heat things up as a couple of fawning groupies. Better still, there’s an extraordinary concert set piece with Stevens lip-syncing to “L.A. Woman” by the Doors and pulling down his pants to expose his flaccid penis to a roaring crowd chanting “We want Cock!”. Bill Markle’s plain cinematography gives the picture a suitably scroungy look. But it’s Costello’s winningly no-frills unpretentious style and sly sense of winking crude humor that makes this movie so amusing and enjoyable to watch. A complete sleazy blast.