While this is not the first documentary that we’ve looked at that’s dropped an f-bomb right there in its title (shouts to Who the F**k Is Arthur Fogel for popping that bubble) it’s definitely the first that totally warranted it. I was honestly skeptical when Storf tossed We Are Twisted F*cking Sister! in the hopper, since hair metal was never really my thing and I thought of Twisted Sister as one of the most comical and over the top examples of the genre. I was legitimately knocked on my ass though by how awesome this ballsy doc ended up being!
Maybe I shouldn’t be as surprised about all of this as I am. I guess I always assumed Twisted Sister appeared fully formed in 1984 ready to take over the TV and radio with their neon makeup, bleached out hair, and colorful gender-bending outfits. But they fought for years to eventually be the right band in the right place at the right time to corner the market of premium cable glammy insanity. And, let’s be honest, that’s exactly what Twisted Sister were: Glam. When they started out as a bar band in New Jersey they were doing their best to approximate Bowie, Iggy, and Marc Bolan way more than anyone looking to write them off would have you believe.
One of the most surprising and charming things about We Are Twisted F*cking Sister! is the way that the fans are interwoven throughout the film. Often times they would travel hours and hours to see their heroes perform, many of them multiple times a week. Granted, it’s not exactly a Grateful Dead parking lot sort of vibe, but the dedication of their fanbases definitely overlap. A number of times Snyder will talk about how he would turn the shows into a rally for inclusiveness, and there’s a ton of footage to back that claim up. The audiences were pretty much made up of oddball social outcasts who had found their niche, united by a burning hatred of Disco (which is kind of just the other side of the glam coin, in a way).
As anyone who’s ever seen Dee Snider’s 1985 testimony before the US Senate against the Parents Music Resource Center (who put those “Parental Advisory” stickers on every album worth owning) can attest, the guy has his shit together way more than you’d expect him to. As such he makes for a really wonderful interview. He wasn’t into booze and drugs during the band’s heyday coming up, so all of his stories are coherent and sincerely funny. The footage they unearthed for this thing is all incredible as well, allowing you to see the evolution of their fashion sense along with their rise to fame.
Chris Lay is a freelance writer, archivist, and record store clerk living in Madison, WI. The very first CD he bought for himself was the Dumb & Dumber soundtrack when he was twelve and things only got better from there.
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