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| 23 February 2016 | Reply

Directed by Andrew Horn
Starring Twisted Sister
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

We Are Twisted Fucking Sister

Twisted Sister throw everything but the kitchen sink at this epic documentary which tells the story of the band’s formation and evolution and six or seven hard years playing mostly covers in the bar scene of the greater New York area.

Far from merely being a document of a bands journey, We Are Twisted Fucking Sister is primarily the story of two disparate personalities, both driven to succeed, but who are like fire and water together. Against all odds Jay Jay French – cool headed, organised, business-minded, and Dee Snider – wild, passionate, outspoken, made it together, despite their inherent competitiveness and tension between them.

It’s a crazy story, but with precious little of the drug & booze of most rock bios. Neither Snider nor French drank or drugged, and those who did in the early days of the band are weeded out one by one as it takes its toll on their performances.

Instead, we get fanatical fans, groupies, cross dressing, conflict and dysfunction, incredibly untimely bad luck, opportunities missed, and can clearly see the edge of the tension between these two prime players. At one point Snider tells the story of taking his first song to French in the hope they could co-write it, and the guitarist dismissing it as “cute” without a second thought. “II was maniacal and malicious – and I did it,” Snider follows about the drive that gave him to “obliterate Jay Jay” as a songwriter from that moment on.

There are lashings of archival live footage, loads of rare audio that will be knew to all but the most ardent fans, and interviews with most ex-members and crew, fans from back in the day and the five band members (including drummer A J Pero, who died shortly after the film was shot), which explore almost every minutiae of Twisted’s career up until their big crossover breakthrough.

At 135-minutes long, no-one can accuse them of not making their one shot at a definitive documentary worthwhile – though the film may be twenty or so minutes overlong down the rabbithole for the casual observer, true SMF’s will love every minute of it (plus there are more extras promised on the DVD release!)

Stopping just short of their major label signing and entering the studio to record Stay Hungry, the album which boasted mega-hits We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock, We Are Twisted Sister ends on a strangely flaccid and anti-climactic note, instead of building tension to incite hope for a follow-up to tell the second half of the story. It’s a disappointingly dull finish to what is otherwise an excellent and illuminating film.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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