Remembering “BLACK ROSES” Director, John FasanoNews Kenneth Gallant
When I heard the news of John Fasano’s passing, I felt my stomach tighten up. I sat there stunned, trying to process what I had just read. Once it began sinking in, I realized a titan had left us.
To some, the name John Fasano won’t mean much. To the initiated like myself, the man represented the genre as its number one ambassador and made a slew of heavy metal/horror mash-ups throughout the mid ‘80s to prove his allegiance to the cause.
John came to Canada and shot a total of three movies that started with ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE, continued with BLACK ROSES, and ended with THE JITTES; a trilogy of films best remembered for their slim budgets, hokey creature FX and built around themes of heavy metal. Since I spent my formative years fist pumping at dozens of metal shows and devouring so many gore-soaked flicks on VHS, the ‘80s represented a fond adolescence obviously capped off by repeated viewings of BLACK ROSES and ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE.
These films will always be synonymous with John Fasano because he poured his heart and soul into making the stories come to life through movie magic. He truly believed in the epic battles of good vs. evil, rebelliousness among the youths who fall prey to the demonic sounds of heavy metal and ultimately come face to face with Chinese hopping vampires. These ideas ran the full gamut of his imagination, despite culling them together on shoe-string budgets and dealing with meddling producers in the process.
When I finally got around to pitching an article to FANGORIA E-I-C Chris Alexander, I brought up BLACK ROSES and talked adoringly about how much it meant. Chris suggested that I track down John Fasano to get his take on the film and this lit a fire in my belly knowing I would get the chance to talk to one of my heroes. I was nervous at first, but once John started reminiscing, it was like talking to an old soul. He made you feel like you really experienced movie-making along with him.
John obviously loved the attention sure, but you could tell how much fun and love he had for making BLACK ROSES. We chatted for quite some time and I could sense his charismatic charm, and wonderful personality rubbing off on me. He could make you laugh and keep you spellbound as he recanted the trials and tribulations of being a filmmaker. When I got off the phone, I knew I had made a new friend and it wasn’t the last time I would have the opportunity to speak to him.
Alas, his passing on Saturday night ended our newly minted friendship. I only knew John for a few short years, but he will be remembered as a giant man, wonderfully gifted and gloriously charismatic. He influenced so many as he lived a full life adventuring around the world making movies. John gave fervent horror fans moments to cherish and fuel our horrific imaginations for many years to come. For that, I am grateful. Having become his friend, I am even more grateful.
RIP John Fasano. You will truly be missed.