I Am Thor
directed by Ryan Wise
starring Jon Mikl Thor
Blue Lame 61 Productions
After we document the successful bands, the influential bands, the self-destructive bands and the bands that never were, we are left with Thor, a band that crashed before it really began. John Mikl Thor came to rock and roll as a body builder and accordionist; he soon switched to guitar and by 1977 he had a novelty band that played tolerable rock and roll. But the band looked great; everyone was buff including the girls. Thor’s routine of blowing up hot water bottles till they exploded and having bricks jack hammered on his chest drew some notoriety. But when RCA went to sign the band Mikl was kidnapped, and…that’s about it. He soldiered on without a label, married a topless model and made a few straight to VHS horror movies. After 10 years of suburban life he tried music again but by now the Hair Metal World have moved beyond him. We see a disillusioned man, overweight and trying to impress a cute girl at Comicon with a long lost familiarity of Lou Ferrigno. She seems confused as to who either of them are.
Stylistically, this documentary is pretty standard; the only issues I’ll mention are key plot points slip by as subtles, so pay attention. This is no Spinal Tap, it’s all done for pathos, not yucks. While Mr. Mikl keeps a positive attitude he’s untimely a forlorn figure: he tried and failed, tried again, failed again but through it all he keeps a positive spin on everything. A gig in Chapel Hill draws a paying audience of six; he fails to explode a hot water bottle and disappoints a 6 year old Korean kid. And when The Misfits ask him to lead their band, he turns them down hoping to do better alone. The closest cinematic analogy to I Am Thor is Anvil! The Story of Anvil, that’s another Canadian metal act that at least seems to be realistic about what they can hope for, and they look like they’re a lot happier on stage. Perhaps this movie will give Mr. Thor a second chance: his band is solid and a few of their albums are up on the internet for you to peruse. I Am Thor puts meat on the bones of those cut-out albums you used to find in the back of record stores: each one had a story, if only someone can capture it.
This film is part of the 2015 Florida Film Festival www.floridafilmfestival.com