A strange German television drama based around the 1980 Kiss tour.
By 1980, Kiss’ mega-popularity in their home country was on a decline as rapid as their rise to fame had been some years earlier, but the band still had a fan base overseas. Having barely toured outside the USA – and then back in 1976, a positive lifetime ago in rock music terms back then – the appearance of Kiss in Europe and Australia was met with rabid fan excitement and sold out arenas. The UK shows coincided with the theatrical release of Kiss Meets the Phantom (retitled Attack of the Phantoms) and the UK press were all over the band for a week or so, having roundly ignored or dismissed them until that point.
In Germany, the 1980 Kiss tour led to a genuine curio, barely seen since. Rock-Zauber: Jutta, Kiss & die Grosse Show is a strange and oddly dour teen drama, possibly educational in nature, with Susi Özkan as a schoolgirl who dreams of Kiss – and more specifically, Paul Stanley – much to the dismay of her boyfriend Peter Minnert. The band roll into town, do a public appearance at a record store and are interviewed backstage before we see snippets of the show. the entire thing is an oddly grim affair in which the band might seem central to proceedings but are actually little more than background noise for most of the story – it’s as far from the good times rock ‘n’ roll peddled by Kiss as you could get. Fans of bleak German teen dramas and sexploitation movies – from Christiane F. to Die Schulmädchen vom Treffpunkt Zoo and (especially) Der Fan might recognise the grey, murky world and downbeat atmosphere at work through much of this.
Part documentary, part rock film, part depressing drama, this is a decidedly odd artefact from German TV that came and went, and has never been officially released. It’s in German, obviously – but if you don’t speak the language, you can probably still get the gist of what is going on.
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