Dec 12 2008 5:58pm

Clusterfuck toward Asgaard: The Search for Thor Continues

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the casting of the new Thor movie. Daniel Craig? Meh. Kevin McKidd? Liked him in Rome, but what’s not to like about high budget historical porn? Both have blondness on their side, it’s true, but I'm not really feeling either of them. Who else? Vincent D’Onofrio was mistaken for Thor in Adventures in Babysitting in 1987 and pulled it off surprisingly well, but lately he’s best known for playing a character in the Law and Order franchise that my mother actively refers to as “Detective Creepy.” Or, we could take the Occam’s Razor approach here and just recognize that the best choice for the role of Thor is, in fact, actually THOR.

Oh, I’m sorry...are you not familiar with the mystical magic of THOR?

How to describe the majesty of THOR? (I’m using all caps because that’s the way the name appears on his website. And because it definitely looks wicked cool). According to the site, Jon Mikl THOR, bodybuilder, film auteur, and “Legendary Rock Warrior” came screaming into existence through the unholy portal of his mother’s molten womb and breathed in the icy essence of his homeland—Vancouver, Canada. Prior to achieving Legendary Rock Warrior status, the young THOR gained moderate fame as a semi-Legendary Pile of Greased Muscle, winning the titles of both Mr. Canada and Mr. USA. While some minor details of the THOR saga have been lost in the swirling, primordial mists of eternity, the first true incarnation of The Warrior was born when RCA decided to promote THOR as the mighty pioneer of something they decided to call “Muscle Rock.”

Conceptually, “Muscle Rock” burst forth from the seething loins of Glam titans like Bowie, T. Rex, and the New York Dolls…except that somewhere along the line, all that musical genius and glittery androgyny got doused with a generous helping of body oil, steroids, and Vegas-style lounge-act posturing. And where better to unleash the demonic fury of this “Muscle Rock” then on The Merv Griffin Show? In 1973, THOR took to the stage in what appears to be some sort of plus-sized Wonder Woman costume to thrash out a cover of Sweet’s “Action” in the awestruck presence of Merv, his aging audience members, and a very confused country band who somehow got trapped onstage behind The Warrior. There are no words to describe what followed, so here’s the clip (and check out the facial expressions on the tall, hippie dude from the other band—the one who kind of looks like a shaved Wookiee—you can tell that his life will never be the same again).

Wow, right? While everyone recovers from the sensation of repeatedly slamming our feeble human minds against the sharp, splintery outer limits of absurdity, can I just ask: were hot water bottles ever, EVER considered acceptable rock and roll props? Was that a crazy fad in 1973? Because that whole bit seemed like something out of your great-grandmother’s recollections of the olden days, as in, “Oh, once a year the traveling circus would roll into town and there was a clown and a gypsy fortune teller and a strongman who used to blow up hot water bottles if you threw two bits into a hat!” Even if this weren’t The Merv Griffin Show, the water bottle shtick has the stink of the nursing home all over it—a potent mélange of arthritis medication and used adult diapers. I feel like he's one step away from chugging Geritol, lighting it, and breathing fire. Or, “Look at me, I've painted 666 on my forehead with Fixodent and Metamucil! Hail Satan!” The best part is, it’s still in THOR’s act—you can actually buy autographed hot water bottles on his site. So, yeah, he keeps it real, and who am I to question the mysterious ways of an immortal member of Rock’s Pantheon?

In the later seventies and eighties, THOR’s “Muscle Rock” persona took a darker turn, shifting away from Vegas sparkle into more of a heavier, black-leather, big-haired Metal phase, fulfilling his dark destiny as a true Rock Warrior in the unholy crusade against…uh…hot water bottles, and stuff. In 1986, he turned his attention to film, starring alongside Sir Adam West  in the intriguingly titled Zombie Nightmare, later the subject of a particularly well-deserved Mystery Science Theater spanking. The next year, THOR wrote, produced, and starred in his mighty magnum opus, Rock and Roll Nightmare (also known as The Edge of Hell and, in Europe, The Determining of the Face of Hell. Catchy, no?). Nightmare, about a rock band and groupies hounded by a bloodthirsty demonic presence, has become a cult phenomenon, and while I hate to spoil the mind-blowing twist at the end—the “Rosebud” moment, if you will—you can check out the clip here. (Warning: Prepare to have your minds BLOWN APART. Seriously. With badness):

Over the last two decades, THOR has been busy touring, collaborating on various films and several THOR comic books, and turning out various face-melting albums including the 2004 Metal Opera Beastwomen from the Center of the Earth and Devastation of Musculation in 2006 (because it’s okay to make up words...if they’re awesome!!!).

A great firsthand account of THOR’s essential radness can be found at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog. The guy who wrote it seems to appreciate both the greatness of The Legendary Rock Warrior and the completely hilarious ridiculousness at the dark heart of THORness. And also, THOR comes off as a really nice guy—he even washes the dude’s breakfast dishes. Not only does he rock AND fight demons in a crazy Archangel-stripper outfit, but he’s a polite and conscientious houseguest...I love this guy SO much! Thus, I hereby nominate Jon Mikl THOR for the role of Thor, if only because nobody deserves a comeback more than a man who single-handedly represents the quintessence of inadvertently hysterical rock and roll lunacy. Somewhere out of that crazy mess of a career filled with zombies, hot water bottles, sex, drugs, and musculation, a savior has emerged—The Legendary Rock Warrior who will redeem our jaded, cynical Hollywood take on superheroes through the awesome power of Relentless Kitsch...All hail the mighty THOR!!!

Megan Messinger
1. thumbelinablues
Bridget, your crazy blond guy of the week totally beats my crazy blond guy of the week. Well done.
Torie Atkinson
2. Torie
Oh my god I had to stop that clip at 1:48.

I KNEW he looked familiar, though! Zombie Nightmare! One of my favorite MST3Ks!

I think you've made a well-informed decision that may be the end of us all.
Jason Henninger
3. jasonhenninger
Wow, red-letter week for heroic Nordic cremepuffs. They could join up and form a about "Kaja Goo Gwar"?

You know, I bet Odin now wishes both of his eyes were out.
4. Schizohedron
You get a gold star for mentioning Beware of the Blog, the Internet voice of my one true radio love, WFMU.

This may tickle the memories of New Jersey residents in the late 70s or early 80s: THOR performed live on the Uncle Floyd Show, which also boasted gigs from the Ramones and Meat Loaf in its time. Uncle Floyd was open-minded in his bookings and let a wide variety of performers on, including, one day, the mighty THOR. In addition to dominating the set with his full-frontal metal assault, he showed a video (which was as awesome as you might imagine it to be, made at the beginning of the video age when there were no rules yet), and simultaneously stunned and horrified the show's cast and crew by making his gigantic pecs dance.
6. rogerothornhill
Oh dear

Before the fold, I was actually going to launch into this serious thing about the casting of Thor, and the importance of the Don Blake part of the character, and the problems with production design for this film of all the Marvel adaptations, and who I'd like to see play Loki


Oh dear

PS: Thanks, Schiz, for mentioning Uncle Floyd. Happy memories of cheap tv :)
Bridget McGovern
7. BMcGovern
@ #1: I don't know, Megan. I don't think that's a contest anyone really wins; in fact, I think we all lose, in terms of sanity. Your guy has dragons, Malfoy hair and an evil mustache; my guy...well, just LOOK at him. That way madness lies.

I like Jason's suggestion (#3). But is there a stage huge enough to contain all that mighty blondness? And if so, would their combined lack of talent then manifest itself as a massive, sucking, cosmic vacuum, draining everything good from the world and irreparably damaging the fabric of the universe as we know it?

So many questions.
John Armstrong
8. JohnnyYen
Thor Meets Merv

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