You've gotta hand it to Thrash Metal fans, they're absolutely peerless at being the focal point of documentaries which capture the full horror of suburban adolescence; Gwar favourite Dream Deceivers chronicles the story of Nevada's James Vance who attempted suicide with a shotgun after hearing decoded messages in Judas Priest lyrics, somehow survived, had his head seemingly reconstructed with plasticine and then tried to sue the band, but Blue Cheer can suck a big fat dick because Britain was the de facto inventor of this Heavy Metal shit, so we see your James Vance, America, and raise you one with Chris Needham :
With the sort of mushrooming half greasy/half brittle mullet which barely looks follically possible and the same strain of bumfluff moustache Ice Cube had in the N.W.A days, Chris roams Loughborough (imagine The Zone from Tarkovsky's Stalker, but with the addition of a provincial shopping arcade) sneering at teenage girls who like "chart music", bemoaning begging Charity workers a mere 10 minutes after the show begins with him calling up a local guitar shop to ask if he can borrow a bass and drum kit because his band Manslaughter have scored their first gig playing the lunchtime slot at his college hall, complaining about commercialisation as he chows down in Wimpy and taking fishing trips to toxic brown canals before retreating back South of Heaven to his Kerrang poster-covered bedroom to deliver sermons about "you vegetarians", "you greens" and "you old bastards" to the camera as he sits slumped on the floor in faded band shirts (bitchin' Seasons In The Abyss tee, bro) and his underpants or lies half-naked in bed under a Manchester United duvet with his yay' white bare pigeon chest gleaming through the video pixelated dinginess of his darkened dungeon.
Where In Bed With Chris Needham trumps Dream Deceivers is in that its horrificness is all too relatable; I'm gonna hazard a guess that nobody currently reading this post has ever blown their own head apart with a shotgun due to a combination of supposed subliminal messages in the lyrics of cheesy NWOBHM bands and abuse at the hands alcoholic right-wing Christian parents like James Vance, but we've all felt the sheer discomfort which hangs in the air when Chris and his monosyllabic Sealion girlfriend Jane lie uncomfortably together on his Altar of Sacrifice exchanging Christmas gifts. Like the subtitled balcony sketch with Alvy & Annie in Annie Hall nailed the bullshit and insecurities which exist between adults who are potential sexual partners, there's never been a better depiction of the awkwardness of teenage romance than this scene.
Head forth Behind the Crooked Cross and watch In Bed With Chris Needham here. Whether you're versed in the minutiae of Thrash Metal or familiar with the specifics of U.K geography is immaterial in this instance, because In Bed With Chris Needham is one of the definitive documentaries about the grotty Gung-Ho tragedy of male pubescence and the most unintentionally hilarious 50 minutes of television you'll ever behold.
"I'm sure we were all teenagers once; I'm sure we always will be, some of us."