The fact that Monsterman has been disowned by its main subject speaks volumes about the footage captured by director Antti Haase. Seriously, what self-respecting metal star wants to be seen playing a gig for bored Russian conventioneers in the Finnish equivalent of a Holiday Inn?
Haase captures a couple of years in the life of Tomi Petteri Putaansuu, better known overseas as Mr. Lordi of elaborately costumed hard-rock band Lordi. For those who’ve let their Metal Hammer subscriptions lapse, think a fallen-on-hard-times Gwar from the land of karjalanpiirakka, grillimakkara, and korvapuusti. Even if you don’t know Mr. Lordi from Balsac the Jaws of Death, Monsterman is instantly engrossing, mostly showing what a miserable game rock ’n’ roll has become in the Pirate Bay era.
In addition to enduring drummer tragedies that would depress Spinal Tap, Lordi finds itself struggling to remain relevant in a landscape where hard rock is largely dead. Haase’s greatest feat—even if Mr. Lordi doesn’t appreciate it—is putting a tender and human face on its main player, who refuses to be seen in public (and in his cluttered backwoods cabin) without his prosthetic makeup.
Some kind of monster? Even if he’s disowned Monsterman, Putaansuu comes across as anything but.
Cinematheque, May 9 (9 p.m.)