BEEVILLE – In 1979, a unique film entered the cinescape of the world and made movie stars of the underground punk rock band The Ramones. Produced by the micro budget film legend Roger Corman, the movie mashed explosive punk rock guitars and ridiculous, over-the-top comedy to create a cult classic.
That movie was “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.”
And this article isn’t about that movie.
It was 12 years later that someone had the bright idea to make “Rock ‘n’ High School Forever,” a sequel to that comedy starring none other than ’90s heartthrob and former child actor Corey Feldman. It had the makings of becoming a beloved sequel to an already cult classic rock classic.
But then it was dumped on VHS and left to die.
“I’ve always been a movie guy,” said director Adan Gonzales, a Beeville native. “We luckily grew up with cable so I was watching all kinds of stuff from an early age, but this movie – for some reason – always stuck in my head.
“It might have even been the first time I called a movie ‘my favorite movie’ growing up.
“I even remember somehow playing out the movie with friends – or at least I tried because nobody had really seen it,” he laughed.
“I like weird movies, and this one fits right in.”
Gonzales has created a behind-the-scenes documentary film titled “Forever: The Untold Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School Forever,” a true labor of love that was more than five years in making.
He said watching a documentary about another cult classic film from the 1990s, “Troll 2,” made him realize that it could be done.
Without any resources, contacts or money, he set out to make his first feature-length documentary.
“Sometimes it was as easy as sending a message,” Gonzales said about reaching out to the actors in the film. “Other times it was sending messages from multiple sources for years.
“Nothing was going stop me.
“For instance, I used Twitter for a few people, Facebook for others, but when it got really interesting was when I had to do some detective work.
“I tracked down the director’s (Deborah Brock’s) personal email via some old web pages. Then I got a hold of actor Steven Ho (Namrock in the film) through his wife’s furniture website.
“Needless to say, they were all pretty surprised,” he laughed.
So one by one the actors began sharing their stories about a film they figured the world had forgotten, via Skype or phone call, and Gonzales began recording them all.
He says he was surprised at how they all had fond memories of the film and how much most of them were eager to talk about it. “Turns out, they don’t get asked about this movie much,” he recalled.
“I got a lot of ‘Why are you doing this?’ from the actors, but once we got to talking they wouldn’t stop.”
But it was the interview with actress Liane Curtis of “16 Candles” and “Critters 2” fame that changed the game.
Gonzales calls her one of the most down-to-earth people he’s ever met and has an amazing life story. She also decided to help out with getting some contacts and reaching out to other stars of the film for interviews.
But, most interestingly, the two became very good friends, and if Gonzales ever makes it to New York, she invited him to stop by and pay her a visit.
But back to “Forever.”
“You have to understand that this is the first time in history that any of this info has been brought to light,” he said. “So there were a lot of things I didn’t expect.
“I finally got info on the unreleased soundtrack; the movie was basically an idea director Deborah Brock had because she knew Roger Corman would say yes to it; once Corey Feldman was cast, the movie was a go – little did they know he was struggling with a heroin addiction.
“But it’s not all negative.
“The cast talks a lot about behind-the-scenes stories and such. I didn’t expect that the movie was as low budget and rushed as it was. Watching it, it looks like a bigger production, and talking with the director about that process was so eye-opening.
“As for all the juicy details, you are just going to have to come see it.”
And where can fans see “Forever: The Untold Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School Forever”? Turns out, it just began a small festival run beginning at the South Texas Underground Film Festival (STUFF) on Jan. 23 at the Alamo Drafthouse in Corpus Christi. The documentary will screen at 10 p.m. with the director present for a Q&A after the screening.
Gonzales also has his Youtube channel STAUNCH T.V. with more interviews that didn’t make the final cut.
“Fun, stressful, enlightening, stressful,” Gonzales said describing the process of creating the documentary.
“Doing every aspect of this literally all by myself has been the biggest challenge, but it’s all been worth it.
“It really is a true labor of love.
“Making ‘Forever’ is a dream come true. Even I was surprised by how much passion I had for this movie.”