Category Archives: plagiarism
“Stop This Game” by Cheap Trick
The above video is from an old Italian music TV show. The song, from the 1980 album All Shook Up. Like with Alice Cooper and “Clones (We’re All),” this represented a marked change in the traditional Cheap Trick sound, aping the now more popular New Wave sound.
The song and the album were enough to put off the fans who had made Cheap Trick rock gods with their Live at Budokan album. Personnel changes kept the band from putting out a complete album for too long, and the Budokan heat had cooled. The fans were divided, rockers thought they were pop, and poppers thought they were rock, and in the end, they were screwed.
That wasn’t all that led to Cheap Trick’s downfall. Some say it was the Beatles curse, after Budokan they were dubbed the new Beatles, especially in Japan. That usually kills a band. It didn’t help that Cheap Trick themselves were huge Beatles fans, doing various covers like “Daytripper,” “Magical Mystery Tour” and even a mash-up with John Lennon of his “I’m Losing You.”
And then there were the plagiarism claims. Listen to their early 1980s pop ballad “The Flame” next to Spirit’s “Nature’s Way” if you don’t believe me. Even the above tune, “Stop This Game,” borrows a few rifts from KISS’ foray into disco and new wave, “I Was Born for Lovin’ You.”
Now, I don’t mean to bag on Cheap Trick. I still have a place in my heart for them. This song, as well as “Reach Out” from the Heavy Metal soundtrack, and “On Top of the World” from the classic 1978 album Heaven Tonight are among my favorite guilty pleasures.
I remember not the night it first aired so much as the next day at school. In English we were doing a creative writing exercise, and had been doing it for a few weeks, and it was finally due that morning. One kid, who shall remain nameless, but he knows who he is, and anyone reading this who was in the class remembers who he is, handed in his story and its name was “Evil Dog: Hound from Hades.” I wonder what he had been doing the last few weeks, but I sure do know what he had been doing the night before! Man, would I love to read his ‘story’ now!
The original movie, plagiarism lawsuits aside, starred such television luminaries as Richard Crenna, Yvette Mimieux, Ken Kercheval, Lou Frizzell, and those two Witch Mountain kids Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann. The flick was written by mediocre television writers Elinor and Steven Karpf and directed by Curtis Harrington, who actually used to be an interesting director. But it doesn’t show here, the writing obviously overshadows the directing, and the performances, which are worse than the usual movie of the week.
The story is a fairly simple one. The devil mates with a dog (don’t laugh, yet) and a Satanic cult sends the litter of subsequent puppies out into the suburbs to raise havoc. Our feature family receives a German shepherd named Lucky who likes to play mind games with the family, killing a maid and basically effs with everybody.
There’s so much telekinetic stuff going on here I would have thought the Witch Mountain kids would have caught on right away, but no go, they quickly becomes Lucky’s slaves, and total brats. Father Richard Crenna seems to be the only one hip to the dog’s evil and faces off with the devil dog that has taken over his family. Great z-movie fun, this would have been prime real estate for “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”