Let's remember VH1's 2001 film about Def Leppard

Film, TV & Radio Goodness, Video

No Comments


I love music biopics, me. And while I enjoy the good ones, I extract virtually an equal amount of pleasure from the bad.

One of my favourite bad ones is Hysteria, a 2001 VH1-produced TV film about Def Leppard. The Lepp have had a “colourful” history, and like many riffmongers from the last thirty years or so you can totally understand why people would want to turn their tale into a movie.

It would probably be a shame if Hysteria remained the only biopic of Def Leppard, but for British music fans it is quite giddy fun. It provides an amusing number of conspicuous location-related mistakes, and while one is willing to suspend one’s disbelief to an extent when entering movieland it’s pretty hard to do so when virtually the first shot is thoroughly goof-laden.

The film was shot in Montreal, you see, so almost nothing you see bears any resemblance to a British town, let alone Sheffield, the band’s hometown.

As the film opens on drummer Rick Allen’s car crash we see double yellow lines down the middle of what appears to be a Canadian freeway, despite an impressive-looking A57 road sign (and, contrary to what the sign says, the M25 is most certainly more than 11 miles from Sheffield). That this road mysteriously changes into one with the more recognisable white lines during the crash is all the more delightful.

Next a flashback, to young Joe Elliot scribbling away at a Deaf Leopard poster in his bedroom for the band he doesn’t yet have. Only… what is this? A red fire hydrant on the corner of his Sheffield terraced street?

A few minutes later you see him running for a distinctly North American-looking bus, and by this point you’ll either be FURIOUS or giggling with glee. I remember seeing the film – by chance – for the first time, and I definitely fell into the latter camp. And this was before the bad lip-syncing, corny studio confrontations and appalling wigs had made their introductions.

You can watch the whole thing in instalments on YouTube thanks to this kind chap (and you should – Anthony Michael Hall plays Mutt Lange, for shit’s sake), but here’s that doozy of an opening for starters:

Have your say!

Leave a Reply