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Twisted Sister film makes U.S. debut at the Magic Bag
Andrew Horn was not a Twisted Sister fan when he first interviewed a couple of band members for a 2004 documentary he was making about the rock performance artists Klaus Nomi.
But he became a fan of the stories they told about the 10 years the group spent playing clubs before hitting in big with "We're Not Gonna Take It" in 1984 And that was a story Horn felt merited its own documentary treatment -- leading to "We Are Twisted F***ing Sister!," which debuted Nov. 30 at the IDFA Film Festival in Amsterdam and comes to the Magic Bag in Ferndale on Friday, Jan. 9, for its first North American preview screening.
"It was a very unique sort of situation; I don't know if there's anybody else who'd had that kind of story of having that amazingly long and intense a gestation period," says the Berlin-based Horn, 62, a New York native whose musical taste ran in a different direction than Twisted Sister's theatrical glam-metal concoction. Nevertheless, he was very familiar with the suburban rock club culture of the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut circuit the band played and had little trouble tapping into the zeitgeist of the story arc.
"There's the classic story of the Beatles in Hamburg, playing every night for six hours a night and that's how they became the Beatles. Multiply that by five, and that's how Twisted Sister became Twisted Sister. The guys were great storytellers...and the kind of craziness they described was very interesting and intriguing to me."
Using new interviews and vintage footage and photos, Horn tells the band's story up until its signing by a major label, Atlantic Records, in 1983, loading the film with tales of outlandish stage antics and running against convention for club bands at the time with original material, a high-powered stage show and high volume. Among Horn's favorites: the group's Sweet Jane Drink 'Til You Puke Gong Show, for which Twisted Sister would play a 45-minute version of the Velvet Underground song and invite fans onstage to sing it, taking a liquor shot each time the title came by; and a track record of closing shows at various clubs where the band would lead fans in demolishing the surroundings.
"They had this whole kind of warrior mentality," Horn says. "They were really out to prove that they were the best band on the circuit -- by any means necessary."
The film will also be shown at small festivals in Germany and Spain this year, while Horn us pursuing other opportunities around the world as well as a distribution deal to bring the documentary to theaters and/or home video. Proceeds from the Magic Bag's "unofficial" show, meanwhile, will help allay productions costs.
"We Are Twisted F***ing Sister!"
Friday, Jan. 9. Doors open at 8 p.m.
The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.
Admission is $7.
Call 2480544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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