The hair of nostalgic Christians will be raised while watching a film bringing them back to the 1980s Christian rock scene.
Electric Jesus follows the fictional '80s rock band 316 in their pursuit to produce a record and "make Jesus famous." The film is seen from the eyes of the shy Erik, the hair metal band's sound technician.
"ELECTRIC JESUS was born out of years of looking back, reconstructing, re-discovering moments and memories I’d long since left behind that suddenly fascinated me. I missed being a Christian youth group kid. I missed the certainty, the comfort…I missed Jesus," director and writer Chris White says in a statement.
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With The Office star Brian Baumgartner taking the lead as the band's promoter, the film shows the wild ride of youth playing their way across the country, with the daughter of a rock-hating pastor (Judd Nelson) in tow.
Real-world rock influences are strong, and blatant, in the film as they embrace and spoof 1980s evangelistic rock culture.
"Just listen to a Christian hair metal anthem of the era—let’s say Stryper’s 'To Hell With the Devil'—and you’ll start to understand. Honestly, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I revisit that time in my mind, but either way, there’s no looking away."
White's own youth experience is a heavy influence, throwing Christians back to being a Jesus and hair-metal-loving teen. The movie is making its way across theatres in the United States starting Saturday and will be available digitally on November 2.
Hair and spirit-raising tunes
As American culture rocked out to hair metal, many Christians looked to eliminate the genre altogether. The film points to Tipper Gore’s Parents Music Resource Center and Bob Lawson who were actively fighting against the music, calling it satanic and sex-crazed. While this was going on, Stryper emerged.
"I was raised by devout Southern Baptist parents and fully immersed in (and committed to) Evangelical Christian youth culture—which included Sunday School, Bible studies, summer camps, retreats, choir tours, ski trips—all of it set to an ‘80s Christian rock soundtrack."
White brought Daniel Smith, a mystic songwriter with a Christian background to write the movie's soundtrack.
"While composing for Electric Jesus, Smith immersed himself in the hair metal music of his youth, binge-listening to a steady rotation of bands like Ratt, Twisted Sister, and Mötley Crüe. Electric Jesus captures the hair metal sound in all its melodramatic excess, from the overwrought power ballads to the histrionic guitar pyrotechnics," composer Kyle Long says.