Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders (Movie Review)

In light of Rock band biopic season, a slightly new style of rock star inspired film-making is about to unleash upon the masses in theaters Friday, May 17th and on VOD Tuesday, May 21st with Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders through Cleopatra Entertainment. 

Directed by The Cordero brothers, Fernando Cordero Caballero and Vicente Cordero, the film highlights the late Johnny Thunders, guitarist and widely known heroin junkie from iconic 1970s Proto-Punk Rock band The New York Dolls. If anything raising the awareness of addiction, the premise of the film explores the mystery surrounding the final days of Johnny Thunders’ life. Set in New Orleans, Johnny Thunders (Leo Ramsey: Pen 2015, Blue Line Station 2016) arrives for a hotel stay at the St. Peter’s Guest House in room number 37 and never checks out.

Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders still. 

As the history is told, Johnny Thunder was on a mission to quit methadone which he had brought in a good supply of after getting off of the heroin. The motivation to get his life back on track came from his wife and children who abandoned him until he could promise he was clean. While it is unknown the actual cause of Johnny Thunders’ death, speculation describes a possible theft, LSD drugging, and murder since it was found in the autopsy that the amount of drugs in his system were not enough to kill him. It was also found that he suffered from leukemia, but did not seem to desire to seek treatment.

In the film, there are a few characters either imagined, created, or emulated. This includes a vocal appearance from Thunders’ New York Doll guitar companion Sylvain Sylvain himself as Johnny is called up on stage for “Born To Lose” during a performance at a local Rock bar down the street from the hotel. Prior, at the bar he meets his buddy Tony The Cat, portrayed magnificently by Jonny Sculls.

Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders still. 

Other cast members notably portrayed are the maid at the hotel named Iris (Devin McGregor Ketko: Ashes 2019), along with villainous character Skaggs (Timothy Le DePriest: Sons of Anarchy series, Westworld series) and a doctor (Robert Fleet: Player 2011, J. Edgar 2011). Furthermore, As Johnny Thunders flips through numerous out of sequence mind-altered adventures slightly reminiscent of a Fear and Loathing binge, he also finds himself in a mourning moment for his lost New York Doll Drummer Pal Billy Murica (Tyler Tackett: Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope series, Candy & Ronnie 2017) who died of asphyxiation after an overdose.

While the plot of Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders takes on a few random mind-bending fantastical scenarios, it does base itself in the time and place it exists in reality appropriately. Additionally, one aspect of the movie that is consistent is its metaphorical use of song titles and band references in the dialogue. This features the most appropriate “Too Much Junkie Business” and the bittersweet solo track “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory.” The ideal is that music heals through the film is quite bold, even though Johnny Thunders struggled greatly to keep up with his music to overcome his addiction in his last year of life. 

Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders still.

New Orleans holds many secrets and dark tales within its boundaries, and the mysterious death of Johnny Thunders is no exception. In Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders, the audience is taken on as good of a wild journey as anyone could dream up, coming up for only a few seconds of air. Many would argue that no one gets respect until they are dead, and that is often very true, especially with Johnny Thunders. For having the guts to attack such a mystery and add in their own take to it, Cryptic Rock gives Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders 4 out of 5 stars.

Cleopatra Entertainment

Purchase Room 37: The Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders:

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  • Big fan of Johnny and thought the actor who played him was great, but the movie was disappointing. I thought it would be more of a documentary and shed some light on him and his life, music and mysterious death, but it was just a confusing drug trip.

  • Yeah agree with Jim, Was any of the movie based on anything that really happened? (besides Johnny being in New Orleans)..

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