Five Favorite Films

Rock Icon Paul Stanley's Five Favorite Films

by | May 23, 2016 | Comments

paul stanley live edit crop
(Photo by Getty Images / Paul Kane / Stringer)


You wanted the best? You got the best!

The hottest band in the world is hitting the big screen for one night only, this Wednesday, with Kiss Rocks Vegas. Members of the Kiss Army will be flocking to the theaters, but even backseat fans and those millennials who may not be as familiar with the astonishment that is a live Kiss concert will have a chance to see the legendary show from the comfort of a local cinema.

We had a chance to see an advanced screening of this blistering treat for the eyes and ears, but unbeknownst to us, the band itself was there to mingle, watch, and critique its own film, being the ultimate perfectionists one might expect. Not one to miss an opportunity to get a Five Favorite Films interview with rock royalty, we whipped out the portable recorder (which Mr. Paul Stanley himself nostalgically referred to as a vintage “Norelco”), and sat down to chat with the lead singer/guitarist/starman. Amidst exchanging inappropriate jokes with bassist/singer/demon Gene Simmons, lead guitarist/spaceman Tommy Thayer expressing the thrills of producing the film, and drummer catman Eric Singer interjecting comical banter about watches, cars and genitalia (Stanley joked that he was an interview “hijacker”), we were indeed able to get the sought after info: the movies that move Paul Stanley of Kiss.

The list of mostly fun comedies may surprise you, coming from a band that flaunts self-empowerment, adventure, and explosive (literally) hard rock. While chatting in the Dolby Screening Room lounge, Singer, for example, asked if Stanley had seen Captain America: Civil War. The answer was an unapologetic no. “My problem with all of those films,” he said, “is as soon as they go CGI you lose me. All of a sudden I go, ‘I’m not watching a human being anymore,’ and you know it immediately. The movements are disjointed. From buying into something, I’m suddenly jolted out of it. I’m not a fan of CGI.” So what were his faves? Wonder no more, rock and movie fans, the answers are laid before you in this fine (and funny) collection of hard rock icon Paul Stanley’s Five Favorite Films:

Kingpin (1996) 50%

Great movie. It was one of the first films, I thought, that really took comedy to an absurd level. Whether it was watching Bill Murray’s hair that was a comb-over, [or when he] keeps falling over when he’s in a competition, or Woody Harrelson had a great scene where he’s playing an Amish guy and he comes in and says he spent the day milking the cows. He has this big pail, and he takes a drink and they go, “They’re bulls [laughing]!”

There's Something About Mary (1998) 83%

You know what? For me, life has enough bad news in it. So for me it’s either make me laugh or blow s— up.

RT: That’s your philosophy onstage too.

It’s my philosophy about life. There’s enough bad news. It’s very interesting because I remember I used to hang out with a lot of actors in the early 1980s because I thought that musicians were, for the most part, boneheads and had very little to talk about. So I figured, “Let me hang out with some actors, it should be interesting.” I found out – and I found this from spending a lot of time with them – most of them will tolerate listening to you talk just so they get their turn. So anyway, I remember spending an evening – I used to spend time with Christopher Reeve and a lot of really great New York based people. And I was saying how much I loved one of the Rambo movies, and he was kind of like wincing and really not sharing my view and he wound up as Superman. And Peter Weller was there a lot, and Peter winds up being Robocop. But for me it really comes down to — I went out with an actress at one point and we went to some foreign film and when it ended I went, “That’s it?” She goes, “Yeah, it’s a slice of life.” I go, “I don’t need to sit and watch a slice of life. I live life. Entertain me!” I’m not interested in some guy who has an affair and smokes cigarettes in a foreign movie so, for me, it really is make me laugh or blow s— up and do it well. So, Something About Mary, Kingpin

Trainwreck (2015) 85%

I thought Trainwreck was great. I’m always surprised when a film makes me laugh out loud, and that’s such a wonderful, cathartic… I thought John Cena was hysterical in that.

The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) 50%

Curse of the Werewolf, Oliver Reed. Hammer Films. Hammer did all these fabulous horror films after Unviversal. Hammer really became the guardian of the horror genre and between Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Oliver Reed also, they did so many remakes and Curse of the Werewolf was terrific. There was a voluptuous vixen who winds up being thrown into a cell and getting banged by some questionable beast.

RT: Another slice of life, perhaps?

Yes! Yeah! And she gives birth to who becomes the werewolf. Curse of the Werewolf just because it’s a different genre.

RT: We know Gene is huge into horror. KISS is sometimes representative of the genre; are you into horror films also?

Well, we’re cinematic. I think what KISS did was take the normal screen to IMAX. We just opened it up and made the scope of it that much bigger and larger than life. But horror films per se, I enjoyed them when I was younger and enjoyed seeing Bela Lugosi play the Frankenstein Monster versus Lon Chaney, Jr. playing it or Glenn Strange or Boris Karloff. So, yes, I appreciated the movies, but at this point it’s more a nostalgia thing; I don’t really have a connection. Or the original King Kong. Or The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. There’s a great film, Women in Love. That was a British film. It was Alan Bates and Oliver Reed, an adaptation [of the D.H. Lawrence book].

Zorba the Greek (1964) 78%

There are loads of films that I’ve enjoyed. Zorba the Greek. Great! I like feel-good films. In Zorba the Greek you have this way of bringing these logs up a mountain – I don’t remember much – but the whole thing falls apart and it’s this huge catastrophe in the end and Zorba winds up dancing. It’s like, there’s nothing – what do you do? You dance!


Kiss Rocks Vegas plays in theaters on May 25 only.

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