Grant Page is a world-famous veteran stunt man from Australia and his new big project, a high octane, thrilling action move feature packed with car chases, fire sequences, and death-defying falls set in Hollywood, California. When he arrives, his cousin Curtis picks up from the airport and shows him around, ending up at the recording studio where Curtis’s band Sorcery is lays down tracks for their upcoming album. Between Grant’s thrilling high flying, quick burning stuntman work and the band’s theatrical heavy rock and magic trick performances, a showcase of entertainment energizes the soul as well as entertains it. Before long, a column journalist Lois Willis aims to get Grant’s story on occupational health and lifestyles. They’re joined by Grant’s costar of the film, leading lady Monique van de Ven, and together they rock out and enjoy the daredevil antics like one big life party.
Unique in format and content, “Stunt Rock” reflects upon the ostentatious career of director Brian Trenchard-Smith. Before immersing himself in straight-to-video sequels of “The Omega Code,” “Night of the Demons,” and “Leprechaun,” Trenchard-Smith had a talent for being unabashed and taking risks in making something different. Thus, an 86-minute one-part showcasing demo reel, one-part fictional story, and one-part heavy rock music video was born from a slew of Trenchard-Smith shot achieve footage highlighting the impressive physicality resume of the one and only Grant Page. In 1978, “Stunt Rock’s” short theatrical run assumed the picture too radical for the general public with a motley crew of characters and a get-to-know Grant Page storyline that interjected the heavy rock, or borderline glam rock, of Sorcery, a five-piece band accompanied by two magicians whose illusions and pyrotechnics were performed live on stage as the musicians rocked out. Only recently has “Stunt Rock” re-emerged onto home video due in part to the advocating acolytes of the now defunct by not forgotten band and has become a wonderous and enriching blast from the past of reliving decades old history, contrasting artistry cooperating under one umbrella, and a deluge of rock and master class stunts. Also known as “Crash” or “Sorcery,” Martin Fink produces the quasi-action docu-musical with Trenchard filming under his own banner, Trenchard Films.
Grant Page, a man you may never recognize in name or face but probably have seen his broad list of service work at least a dozen times or more. “Mad Dog Morgan.” Yup, Page did the stunts. “No Escape.” Yup, that too. “Mad Max.” That as well! Between performing the stunts and a stunt coordinator, Grant Page has achieved over 100 credits to his name, but not until receiving the lead role in “Stunt Rock” is where he actually got to be himself…literally. Trenchard-Smith’s goal was to put Grant Page on a platform having worked with the stuntman on previous films, such as “Deathcheaters” and “The Man from Hong Kong,” putting his career, and life, on the line numerous times. Page is charming and collected under his rugged facial hair and glasses atop a muscular physique as he’s paired to cohabitate with the latter half of two-word title. Grant Page is stunt whereas Sorcery is rock. Consisting of, at the time, members of the Americna rock group were front man Greg Magie, bass Ritchie King, guitarist Smokey Huff, drummer Perry Morris, and Keyboardist Doug Loch who always wore a glitzy or colorful stocking mask with had his vocals adjusted to a higher pitch. There were also two highly skillful stage performing magicians in Paul Haynes as the bearded King of all Wizards, Merlin, and Curtis James Hyde as Haynes on stage villainous counterpart, the Prince of Darkness aka Satan. In between the two rip-and-roaring personas is a reporter working on a column piece and Grant becomes her angled subject. Brian Trenchard-Smith’s wife of 40+ years is Margaret Gerard in the role of Lois Wills, a love interest who doesn’t quite understand Grant’s obsession with intentional self-destruction as a profession but quickly falls for the big hunk despite any real tangible flirtation. Across the aisle at the other end of female perspective is Monique van de Ven playing as herself. The Netherlands actress, who mastered the art being in a catch-22 love triangle between her longtime husband and her adventurous and new female lover in “A Woman Like Eve,” is positioned in “Stunt Rock” as certifier of the fake movie Grant is there to stunt for being the leading actress eager to do what Grant does, the stunt work, at the chagrin of her asset protecting agent.
“Stunt Rock” may not be our bread-and-butter material for review, containing a severe lack of ghastly horror, creature horror, sleazy exploitation, gore and shock, phantasmagoria schlock, etc. Instead, what “Stunt Rock” is is a pure, 100%, grade A cult classic title that goes beyond the baseline criteria for critique, as if the film even needed our insignificant stamp of world cinema approval. Absolutely not, as “Stunt Rock” speaks for itself, literally so in the very title, delivering essentially what the film is selling, documenting, exhibiting, and entertaining along with the caveat to be a career booster and an endearing tribute for director Trenchard-Smith’s much adored and highly respected Grant Page. The way Trenchard-Smith fashions his own shot stock footage of Page’s exhilarating and adrenaline junky spectacles into flashbacks, split screens, and just a reel of collected examples whenever Page goes into specific memories of stunts, a montage of similar acts, or even how he feels before or during the performance never bogs down into arrogant gray area on the part of feature’s star. Only the director behind the one-two punch “Day of the Panther” and “Strike of the Panther” could pull of “Stunt Rock’s” insanity on celluloid, rock on reel, and a cloud nine high on a combination of both.
“Stunt Rock” is more than just assemblage of electrifying stunts as it also brings down, as well as breaks down, stunt work as not this grandiloquent behavior but more about precision, planning, and self-care with some mild levels of egomania to do things bigger, better, and more dangerous. All of this great content is now on coming at you on a Blu-ray home video from Umbrella Entertainment as the 8th spine on their Ozploitation Classics label. Presented in a widescreen 2.35:1 in full high definition, 1080p, the region free Australian release is a fury of packed goodness, in all sense of the term. Rated PG, “Stunt Rock” is about as wholesome as a PG film came come that even comes with an opening disclaimer about not trying these stunts at home, so parents open your children’s eyes to “Stunt Rock!” As far as image quality is concerned, Umbrella’s release perfects the natural-looking colorization by adding a pop of robust color, unintrusive grain, and baring miniscule blemishes. Most of the film is shot in 35mm, but some of the older footage Trenchard-Smith shot on Grant Page is in 16mm and the varying levels of difference in the details can play tricks on the mind with the stark contrast. The English language DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 is a solid track. Dubbing can tilt an audio imbalance in the depth around certain dialogued moments, but for the most part, no compression issues leave a clean and clear outcome with even an array of well-recording Sorcery tracks and capturing all the fine details in their pyrotechnic and smoke and mirror shows in front of a live high school audience. This Blu-ray is packed with special features beginning with an exclusive virtual interview with Brian Trenchard-Smith and his wife/leading lady Margaret Gerard at their home in Oregon going over every facet in the genesis and aftermath of “Stunt Rock,” plus 2008 interviews with Grant Page and the director from Not Quite Hollywood segment, 2008 audio commentary from Page and Trenchard-Smith, 2009 audio commentary from the director, producer Marty Fink, and actor Richard Blackburn, a 2009 introduction to the film, extended interviews with Sorcery guitarist Smokey Huff and Marty Fink, 2009 audio interview with the band’s drummer Perry Morris, Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Alamo Drafthouse Appearance, Cannes Promo Reel, a HD theatrical trailer, an exclusive new Trenchard-Smith approved trailer reel, and more audio commentary from the director in Trailers from Hell. And that’s not all! Beyond the colorfully retro-esque slipcover and snapper cast with reversible cover art with the film’s posters on the inside is a 14-page collectible comic book with the abridged illustrated version of the film. “Stunt Rock” is an amazing, one-of-a-kind film with now a one-of-a-kind Blu-ray release from Umbrella Entertainment sure to be a must-own for any fans of Brian Trenchard-Smith, Grant Page, or Sorcery!