The Ghastly Love of Johnny X is a black and white musical, taking inspiration from B-movie sci-fis of the fifties. It works. Brilliantly. All the pieces fit together, as we follow the story of this strange alien and his group of misfits. The plot is simple, easy to follow, but this isn’t a film to watch for the plot. Instead, it’s a great to film to watch for over the top cheesiness, catchy songs and wacky characters.
The characters range from Johnny X, exiled to Earth from his home planet, a juvenile delinquent who heads up his own gang, to Skip, a short order diner cook who has nothing really done anything exciting in his life, until Bliss finds him and enlists his help in escaping from Johnny.
The relationships between the characters are built up quickly, and early on the dynamics between them are established, meaning the rest of the film can move on and let the watcher just sit back and enjoy it. Everything feels firmly rooted, and it’s clear what the filmmakers have set out to do. The black and white effect works wonderfully, really drawing on the elements of these type of films from the fifties, including the ultimate gadget that Johnny is trying to get back, the types of characters used, and the slightly over the top feel to everything that’s going on.
The film doesn’t hold back, reminding the viewer, every step of the way, where the influences for this lie. It’s a fun, adventure filled, sci-fi with elements of horror, musical romp, and it just doesn’t care. In a good way. The actors all know exactly what they’re doing, and seem to be having a hell of a lot of fun doing it. And it passes through when watching it, too. I dare anyone to watch this film and not enjoy it. Unless you hate fun. In which case, there is nothing that can be done.
But, seriously, if you can get a copy of this, (because that was something I found very difficult) then watch it. You won’t regret it.