“Speed metal is just some of the most finest fantastic musicianship you’ll ever hear. I mean, to play an instrument that fast.”
No, In Bed With Chris Needham isn’t quite as laugh-out-loud funny as Heavy Metal Parking Lot—although it’s got several hilarious moments and loads of quotable lines—but it’s most certainly something that would go great on a double bill with it. The title is a play on In Bed with Madonna—which was what her Truth or Dare documentary was called outside of North America—and the film follows around a pimply-faced, speed metal-obsessed teenager with a greasy mullet shaped like a Cocker spaniel’s ears and an attempted moustache named—how’d you guess—Chris Needham.
When we meet the talkative Chris, who hails from the town of Loughborough, Leicestershire, in the East Midlands of England, he’s on the telephone trying to sweet talk a local music store into lending him and his mates some instruments because they haven’t got any of their own and they’ve got an upcoming gig.
You see, young Mr. Needham has been selected to appear on a BBC television series called Teenage Video Diaries. This program, which aired in 1993, long before anyone had heard the term “reality TV,” basically just gave cameras to British teens and had them turn the camera on themselves.
A two-part interview with Chris Needham on the LeftLion website states, convincingly, I might add:
If you’ve never seen In Bed With Chris Needham, I feel both sorry and jealous of you. The former because it is unquestionably the greatest TV programme ever, and the latter because one day you will see it with fresh eyes. It’s the kind of programme that makes you want to club yourself into amnesia so you can see it for the first time again and again.
I’ll have you know that I personally decided to watch it after reading the above paragraph, which is why I wanted to include it here. Aren’t you already feeling the urge to watch this thing yourself?
Of course you are.
Chris reminds me quite a bit of Mark Borchardt, the hapless hesher star of Chris Smith’s immortal classic American Movie. It continues:
The plot: Chris Needham, a 17-year-old Thrash Metal fan from Loughborough who has been absolutely lacerated by the puberty stick, is about to play his first gig with his band, Manslaughter. The problem is, they’re complete rammell. Between their first painful attempts to stand musically upright and their debut gig, Chris takes the time to defend Metal and Youth, unleashes torrents of adolescent venom upon the Green movement, ‘old bastards’, vegetarians, ‘Chart Music’, organised religion, teachers, and Neighbours, conducts a relationship with his girlfriend in excruciatingly painful silence, gets hassled by Mr Taggart and His Amazing Shirt, and goes fishing.
By the end, when a bare-chested Chris performs “I Don’t Want To Save The World” on a video that resembles something one could imitate in the Trocadero for a tenner, you realise that you have just witnessed the definitive statement on how rubbish it is to be an English teenager.
Oh man. This. Is. Good.
The credits indicate that “full editorial control” was given to Chris, who is seen drunk, stuffing his face with a hamburger, discussing some jointly-owned condoms sotto voce with his pal (I didn’t quite understand that part) and shouting “Feel sudden death from my guitar!” as he gets caught up in the music. There’s an awkward interlude with his girlfriend, an impressive head-banging demonstration, the worst, most inept rendition of the “Smoke On The Water” riff of all time, a recounted nightmare of his death foretold, and a depressed late night bedroom soliloquy. There is also a recurring interview with Chris’s seven-year-old brother who is his biggest fan, but even he realizes that Manslaughter’s drummer is shite and will just hold the band back, man…
Keep reading after the jump…