Rockula is the poignant tale of a young vampire who once failed to save the love of his life and was thereafter cursed to see her reincarnated over and over, only to be murdered every single time… by a pirate with a rhinestone covered peg leg wielding a large hambone. Okay, so it’s not really that poignant, but it is insanely loopy. Besides, who needs mopey serious vampires when you can watch this movie instead and see such sights as the legendary Bo Diddley jumping around on a stage during a rap number dressed like Goldmember or synth wizard Thomas Dolby portraying the world’s most narcissistic coffin salesman?
The prize for most bizarre appearance by a pop star in the movie, however, probably has to go to Toni Basil, that nice lady who’s been entertaining us B-movie fans ever since she first danced The Pony in Bert I. Gordon’s immortal classic Village of the Giants. For Rockula, she really lets the weird hang all out, as in this scene where her son the vampire has reluctantly brought home the latest version of his girlfriend to meet his mother.
You know, I wonder if this is how my kids see me? Um, not that I would ever do anything like dance around the living room in front of their friends wearing silly Halloween costumes. (Not that you’ll ever know about or be able to prove, anyway!) But rest assured, I’m sure I’ll do something to embarrass them over the years, so I just hope they’ll have picked up enough wisdom along the way to at least provide me with the same begrudging respect the undead Ralph shows towards his mom in Rockula. Even though she is a flaming loony.
Over the centuries Ralph seems to have learned, quite correctly, that a basic level of respect for one’s parents isn’t based on their personality, coolness, or even the material goods they provide. As the Catechism explains, “Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, their love and their work, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom, and grace… As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them.” Now keep in mind, honoring a parent isn’t the same thing as loving them. If a parent has abused you, abandoned you, or some other such thing, you may not be able to feel love for them at the moment. But the command is still there to honor them.
That’s a pretty tough demand, really. But as Fr. John Hardon wrote in his Pocket Catechism, “Underlying this obligation is the virtue of piety, or devotion to the authors of one’s being. Thus filial piety is an earthly expression of the heavenly duty to honor God, who is the primary Author of all created beings.” So let’s all keep that in mind the next time mom makes an entrance in front of our friends wearing that bustier she picked up at Hot Topic and begins to pop and lock. Humiliating or not, she’s still ours.