Our world of lockdown is slowly opening back up, but we still have time to binge watch. Starting March 25th, Amazon Prime has the hook up for us in the form of a rock ‘n’ roll supernatural thriller series called “Paradise City.” If you are a fan of sci-fi and supernatural genres, plus love good music (duh, that’s why you’re here!), you this series is made for you.
This rock-based “good versus evil” story is a spin-off of the 2017 film “American Satan,” which shows how the American dream can sadly go off script. Although many of us grow up thinking we can become a rock star, only a select few make it to Tinseltown, and even fewer actually make it big. With that being so rare, you have to wonder how many of us would sell our soul for it.
Throughout “American Satan,” the essence of the journey is captured for two sets of kids who move to the City of Angels chasing their dreams. Spoilers to follow…
The film was directed and co-written by Ash Avildsen, the CEO of indie heavy metal record label Sumerian Records and Sumerian Films. Avildsen and another industry professional, Matty Beckerman, do a great job illustrating what life looks like for everyone coming to L.A. to follow their dreams of stardom. Their journey chronicles the challenges and provides a backdrop of back stabbing, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. It is not just lyrics from a song; it literally is a way of life in the seedy underbelly that is the music world.
Our transplants join together as a band named The Relentless, and “American Satan” introduces us to the characters, the band, their manager, and of course, Satan!
The producers did an excellent job of adding characters that come from the world of heavy metal and they deliver fantastic performances with original tracks. Andy Biersack from glam-metal band Black Veil Brides has the feature role as the band’s lead singer (Johnny Faust). Asking Alexandria’s Ben Bruce plays their epic guitarist (Leo Donovan), “Twilight” alum Booboo Stewart as the other Relentless guitarist, and Jesse Sullivan rounds out the band as the bass player. Denise Richards appears as Johnny’s mom, while Olivia Culp portrays Johnny’s girlfriend. The cast also includes Bill Duke as Gabriel, Mark Boone Junior (“Sons of Anarchy”), John Bradley (“Game of Thrones’” Samwell Tarly), and the legendary Malcolm McDowell as Mr. Capricorn, aka the devil. You’ll get to know almost all of these characters even more in “Paradise City.”
Here’s one spoiler, some of the scenes of life on the road and at live concerts is as real and as graphic as it gets. So much so, it gave us flashbacks of Warped Tour past with bands like Asking Alexandria and Sleeping with Sirens. Those concert scene depictions were eerie and reminded us how in real life those fans that follow these bands scared the living shit out of us in the photo pit. This one hits close to home.
The movie shows what life is like when the American dream goes sideways. Again, spoilers! The kids arrive in L.A., struggle to succeed, and of course, make a deal with the devil. They become enormous rock stars, but just like a common sad story in our real world, the band falls prey to the glitz and glam that is life on the Sunset Strip. “American Satan” is steeped in what that world really looks like. The backstage scenes are eerily accurate, and the onstage performances are like having a front-row seat at a kick-ass rock show.
Before The Relentless can sail off into rock nirvana, they have to complete some “killer” tasks for Satan. But will they? Give “American Satan” a watch to find out, then get ready for “Paradise City.”
“Paradise City” is appropriately set in Sin City (Las Vegas) and evolves beyond life on the Sunset Strip to tell the band’s story. The series will follow The Relentless through their evolution as rock stars – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Themes of redemption are in the air while we get a first-hand view of the shitty things people do to become stars and stay in the spotlight. The storyline is masterful, and Ash Avildsen can take pride in how this one plays out.
This continuation of “American Satan” has a stellar lineup with many of the original cast returning, plus some exciting newcomers. The series cast features Andy Biersack, Bella Thorne, Drea de Matteo, Mark Boone Junior, Ryan Hurst, BooBoo Stewart, Rhys Coiro, Perrey Reeves, and the late Cameron Boyce. MTV and “New and Improved on KLOS” icon Matt Pinfield adds to the ensemble.
We recently caught up with Matt Pinfield to get some spoilers, but he told us, “I can only say that it’ll cover many of the things that actually happen in the music industry. It’ll also cover what it’s like being a single parent, which is a very personal touch for him (Avildsen).” Pinfield added, “It’ll cover a lot, some things will surprise you. There’s heartbreak and you’ll walk away feeling you know what life is like for these kids trying to make it in this biz.”
Tragically, during filming Cameron Boyce passed away in his sleep in July of 2019 at the young age of 20 years old. Sadly, Boyce had an ongoing medical condition that cause his death. The series will be donating a portion of the show’s profits to the Cameron Boyce Foundation. The foundation supports causes Boyce was passionate about including curing epilepsy, reducing gun violence, and ending the global water crisis.
On “Paradise City,” we will see what good versus evil looks like in a story we can relate to. Whether we know someone who has lived through – or is currently living in – their version of Paradise City, this is definitely a series to check out.
“Paradise City” debuts on Amazon Prime, March 25, 2021.