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Rockers’ 20 Best Appearances in Eighties Horror Movies

Feel the Sting! Fear the Flea! Watch out for the Wolfman, Jack!

Debbie Harry in 'Videodrome' and David Bowie in 'The Hunger'

Debbie Harry in 'Videodrome' and David Bowie in 'The Hunger'

(L-R) Moviestore Collection/Rex and MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

Alongside schlocky special effects and franchises with diminishing returns, the 1980s were a killer time for musicians traipsing around in between the bloodbaths of horror flicks. From David Bowie and Deborah Harry in critically acclaimed art creep-outs to heavy metal heroes slumming it in rock & roll nightmares, check out this list of flicks where rock met shock.

Alice Cooper in 'Prince of Darkness'

Alice Cooper in 'Prince of Darkness'

©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

Alice Cooper, ‘Prince of Darkness’ (1987)

A year after Alice Cooper embarked on his Nightmare Returns comeback tour, he met filmmaker John Carpenter backstage at Wrestlemania III and surprised the director by being a "normal, wonderful person." Shep Gordon, Cooper's manager, co-produced Prince of Darkness, and the rock star appeared in the film — which follows a priest as he investigates a vat containing pure evil — as "Street Schizo," an ominous vagabond who stares at the church where the vat is being held. In one scene, Cooper impales a man (who happens to be listening to the song "Prince of Darkness," which Cooper wrote for the film) with a bike frame, echoing an onstage gag from the "Nightmare Returns" script. The film was so popular, and Cooper's performance so memorable, the the shock-rocker began getting recognized without his makeup.

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Jon Mikl Thor in 'Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare'

Jon-Miki Thor, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare’ (1987)

Starring Canadian bodybuilder and self-made hair-metal myth Jon-Mikl Thor — one part Conan the Barbarian, one part Bruce Dickinson, and frontman of the band, um, Thor — this is an extremely messy vanity project. Hard rocker John Triton battles demons from hell who dismember the members of his band, Triton, while they're holed up in an abandoned house out in the boonies to record an album. Highlights include gnarly puppets, gratuitous groupie sex scenes and a cock-rock soundtrack; somehow, there's a cluelessly sincere logic to the whole thing.

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Tim Capello in 'The Lost Boys'

Tim Cappello, ‘The Lost Boys’ (1987)

Long before "Sax Man" prank videos or Jon Hamm's leather-bound turn as Saturday Night Live's Sergio, Tina Turner sideman Tim Cappello blazed the trail for saxophone colossuses everywhere with his Lost Boys beach cameo. Boasting 215 pounds of greased-up muscle, swinging BDSM chains and, as David Fricke put it it back in the day, a "pelvic thrust that could bust open a bank vault," Cappello upstaged the vampire flick's cast during his triumphant cover of the Call's "I Still Believe." Rumor has it that he only made it into the film after the Call declined to appear, and sexy saxman history was made.

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Tiny Tim in 'Blood Harvest'

Tiny Tim, ‘Blood Harvest’ (1987)

By the late Eighties, the slasher-flick bubble was about to pop, so some truly batshit projects were conceived before the money dried up. Like Blood Harvest, starring Tiny Tim, whose career had already bottomed out — the ukulele-playing folkie's only hit, "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," had been released 19 years before. Blood Harvest is rough. Tim seems to be the only remotely professional performer involved and some super-shaky camerawork suggests that the crew wasn't all that seasoned either. But the singer, who plays a psycho slasher, is an inspired and singular choice, with his oddball charisma still shining through.

'Stranded' poster, Flea

'Stranded' poster, Flea

(L-R) © New LIne/Courtesy Everett Collection; Lisa Haun/Getty

Flea, ‘Stranded’ (1987)

Brought to you by Robert Shaye, producer of Critters, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and, shockingly, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, this low-budget sci-fi film features the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist as a bumbling alien on the run from an extraterrestrial bounty hunter. After crashing to Earth, Flea kidnaps a farmer's daughter, played by Ione Skye. After Stranded completed filming, Flea introduced Skye to his bandmate Anthony Kiedis, who dated the actress for two years, around the time she performed her breakthrough role as Diane Court in Say Anything…

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Guns N' Roses in 'The Dead Pool'

Guns N’ Roses, ‘The Dead Pool’ (1988)

The final, and by far the dumbest, installment in the "Dirty Harry" vigilante-cop series involves a serial-killer plot that revolves around a rock star (Jim Carrey), the director of a slasher film (Liam Neeson), a schizophrenic fan, and a mysterious death pool in which participants predict the next San Francisco celebrity to die. Though not exactly a horror film, there's no doubt that The Dead Pool's ornate and ugly murders are in response to the era's slasher-flick brutality and gore. Adding to the sense that the movie is desperately trying to catch up and stay cool are cameos by all five members of Guns N' Roses at the funeral for Carrey's rock star. In another scene, Slash fires a harpoon during a music-video shoot.

The 'Black Roses' trailer

The 'Black Roses' trailer

Carmine Appice, ‘Black Roses’ (1988)

One of the lesser known gigs for Carmine Appice — a hard rock landmark that has drummed for everyone from Pink Floyd to Ozzy Osbourne — was in Black Roses, the fictional titular band in this laughably low-rent flick about some metal-loving rockers who turn a small town's teens into their demonic slaves. "Everything your parents ever told you about rock & roll just might be true" warns the trailer. Though even Tipper Gore probably thinks this movie is harmless.

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