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Review: We Are Twisted Fucking Sister! (2014)

Director: | 134 minutes | , , , ,

If you think “ We Are Twisted Fucking Sister! ” Is yet another music documentary, you know: about 13 in a dozen that expands on the history of a once popular band from its early years to its inevitable breakup then you are wrong. Of course, that has a lot to do with the subject. Considering the band name, call it a coincidence, but the life of Twisted Sister is quite “twisted”. Young enthusiasts who come together to make music, perform in local clubs, hope for a record deal, groupies, booze, drugs … That’s six ticks, but ‘We Are Twisted Fucking Sister!’ Shows that the career of the heavy metal band has gone a different route. The second reason that ‘We Are Twisted Fucking Sister’ differs from the average rockumentary is that director Andrew Horn chose not to capture the rock band’s glory days in his film – their breakthrough came in the 1980s – but to focus on the years before. And there were quite a few. So enough food for an interesting movie!

Twisted Sister started in 1972 as a Silver Star. Guitarist Jay Jay French (real name: John Segal) was very influenced by and Lou Reed and quickly learned their way of dressing – glitter and drag. There were quite a few band changes, singers came and went, bassists and keyboard players were replaced, but the band, which only started calling itself Twisted Sister in 1973, did get to work. There were periods when they did as many as five shows a night and that six nights a week. Twisted Sister was a real club band. They were regular customers at a number of well-attended clubs in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and attendance grew steadily. Their repertoire included covers by Led Zeppelin. In 1976 there was an important turnaround: Dee Snider (real name: Danny Snider) joined the band as a singer. The frontman turned out not only to have a golden throat, his embrace of the drag look was also well received. In addition, the gentlemen managed to stir up the audience by expressing their unvarnished opinion on current topics during the performances. Legendary is their “Disco Sucks” routine, in which they even put up a pop by Barry White – representing the genre. When it turned out that some racists were cheering on this particular show item, the band didn’t know how soon to stop.

Despite the huge sales figures – shows for 4,000 people were the rule rather than the exception – the band still had no record deal. Despite this, they made mountains of money. In 1979, at a free open-air concert in Long Island, as many as 23,000 attended the expected 2,000 people. Unimaginable. In “We Are Twisted Fucking Sister!” It becomes comically clear why the record company’s contract took so long. You have to hear the musicians tell it to believe it.

A rockumentary can hardly do without the standard talking heads and ‘We Are Twisted Fucking Sister’ cannot escape that either, but with leading men Jay Jay and Dee, Andrew Horn definitely holds gold. They are funny, self-aware, honest and know how to conjure up creamy anecdotes from the seventies down to the smallest details. The fact that – against all convention – they never took a sip of alcohol, quite unusual for rock artists, will undoubtedly have contributed to their striking clarity of mind. “We Are Twisted Fucking Sister!” Is indispensable for the fans, but really no music lover should skip this film. Enjoy more than two hours.

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