Home Entertainment Bikes, fights and debauchery: Meat Loaf at the movies

Bikes, fights and debauchery: Meat Loaf at the movies

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Meat Loaf’s songs had been so inherently cinematic – the hysterical melodrama of I’d Do Something For Love (However I Gained’t Do That), the three-act sex-comedy of Paradise By the Dashboard Gentle, the biker-movie wildness of Bat Out of Hell – that they appeared to emerge not from the audio system however from a rowdy drive-in or a tumbledown image palace. Maybe that explains why he by no means discovered (or went in search of) the kind of distinctive film function that may have decanted his persona on to the display screen like David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth, Madonna in Desperately Looking for Susan or Prince in Purple Rain. A single signature film might need over-egged the Meat Loaf, or else appeared measly subsequent to songs that felt like all-night movie reveals.

If any efficiency distilled his essence, it was the one he gave in The Rocky Horror Image Present in 1975. His first main function, it got here two years earlier than the discharge of Bat Out of Hell and feels now like a taster for that album. Because the biker Eddie, he roars out of the deep freeze and into the pristine laboratory of Dr Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) and his visitors (Christopher Biggins amongst them), fouling up the place together with his uncouth method and nasty exhaust fumes. Bellowing out Scorching Patootie (Bless My Soul) and parping on his saxophone, he introduces some grubby animal magnetism into the air of camp debauchery. It doesn’t final lengthy: Frank-N-Furter kills him with a pick-axe.

Meat Loaf (left) in Roadie with Debbie Harry (right).
Meat Loaf (left) in Roadie with Debbie Harry (proper). {Photograph}: United Artists/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

The singer’s most outstanding function was in Alan Rudolph’s likable 1980 comedy Roadie, the place he performs the title character – an enormous lug largely oblivious to music (he thinks Alice Cooper is a lady) who turns into the very best roadie on the earth. The movie is peppered with cameos from musical stars: Cooper, Roy Orbison, the entire of Blondie.

Keeping his shirt on … Meat Loaf and Edward Norton in Fight Club.
Retaining his shirt on … Meat Loaf and Edward Norton in Battle Membership. {Photograph}: 20 Century Fox/Sportsphoto/Allstar

That very same two-tier system, with Meat Loaf as a personality surrounded by music-industry colleagues enjoying themselves, was in operation once more within the 1992 comedy Wayne’s World, directed by Penelope Spheeris and co-written by its star, Mike Myers. Cooper performed himself as soon as extra, condescending to be worshipped by the goofy heroes, Wayne (Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey), whereas Meat Loaf was solid as a bouncer named Tiny. Not just a little odd on condition that Wayne and Garth, excessive on the operatic pomp of Bohemian Rhapsody, would absolutely have been Bat Out of Hell devotees as well.

It was the identical story in one other music-laden movie with “World” within the title. In Spice World: The Film, launched 5 years later, Elton John and Bob Geldof obtained to play themselves whereas Meat Loaf – presumably in homage to Roadie – drives a tour bus. He does at the least get to smuggle within the title of considered one of his greatest hits. These Spice Ladies, he says, he’d do something for them. However clear the bathrooms? He received’t try this.

There was a necessary earthiness to Meat Loaf’s persona that allowed him to play these blue-collar elements with out it seeming weird {that a} man chargeable for one of many biggest-selling albums of all time was dressing like a teamster. There might have been hassle off-screen – the fights together with his Bat Out of Hell songwriter Jim Steinman, the chapter, the well-documented volatility – however it didn’t seep into the performances.

Different highlights included Leap of Religion (1992), which marked a transfer into drama for Steve Martin as a religion healer and co-starred a younger Philip Seymour Hoffman, and David Fincher’s Fight Club (1999), the place Meat Loaf performed a person whose excessive oestrogen ranges give him breasts. Not like his co-stars in that macho hothouse, he saved his shirt on.

A TV film primarily based on his life, Meat Loaf: To Hell and Again, was directed in 2000 by Jim McBride, who additionally made the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Nice Balls of Hearth! A Meat Loaf film appears by-the-by, nevertheless, when all of the cinematic grandeur you want is correct there within the data.

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