Film::KISS LOVES YOU: A Film by Jim Heheghan

In 1994 KISS was at a low in terms of popularity and all but sentenced to obsolescence. Some ten years removed from their makeup, the band hadn’t quite figured out that despite having some good music, the painted faces and costumes did hordes for their mystique, which had elevated the band to epic status in the past. While the classic KISS was only a memory, some crazed fans kept the halcyon days alive by staging KISS conventions, and creating some fairly lavish tribute bands like “Strutter,” “Hotter Than Hell,” and “Dressed To Kill,” going out of their way to try to approximate the classic KISS era. In fact, the extent some of these guys go to in order the recreate the look and feel of the band on stage is down right maniacal. Gene and Paul started making the occasional appearance at the conventions, then they took over and began staging official KISS events, which were very expensive, though fans fell in line to pay. KISS had finally got the message that the make-up and original line up were the magic, and decided to capitalize, and do a reunion with the original line up and classic look. Later, the band would become obsessed with getting all their old costumes and memorabilia, much to the disappointment of the fans.

It is engaging to observe the hurt and let down of the fans who watched a band they had literally propped up over the years, regain their popularity and then proceed to come across as selfish and unappreciative. We see Gene and Paul being represented initially as guys who have inspired the American dream, making anything seem possible. One fan, Bill Baker had an Ace tribute band, and became good friends with the starman himself prior to him being invited back for the reunion. Ace never talked to Bill again after he started getting the KISS paycheck, and this was after being pretty close during many of the off years. By the end, the reality becomes clear that you can be the biggest fan in the world, but it still doesn’t make you any closer to the band. KISS Loves You shows just that reality in this well thought out documentary that will appeal to KISS fans, but you don’t have to be one to enjoy this film.

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