Monkees Inspired a 1990s Rock Star Who Directed a Monkee in a Film

The Monkees are more influential than you might think — a 1990s rock star cited them as a major influence. This same rock star later directed a movie that featured Monkee Micky Dolenz in a minor role. However, Dolenz’s role was far removed from the character he played on the Monkees’ sitcom.

How television became a major inspiration for an unorthodox rock star

The Monkees were part of a trend of family-friendly shows centered on bands. Josie and the Pussycats, The Groovy Ghoulies, and The Banana Splits were each about bands, giving these shows the opportunity to include some fun songs. One of the kids interested in these shows was Robert Zombie of the band White Zombie.

“By the time I was in kindergarten I was already obsessed with bands,” Zombie told The Believer. He believes this “was because, back at that time, all the kid shows had music…. I think the Monkees was the most significant one. I knew about the Monkees before I knew about the Beatles or anything else. That’s what really started it all.”

Zombie’s music is clearly influenced by horror films and he’s directed several horror films over the past fifteen years or so. Zombie credits the television he watched as a child with sparking his interest in horror as well. He noted the proliferation of horror and horror-inspired shows on television when he was a kid, including The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Addams Family, and The Munsters. It’s interesting how Zombie’s career would not be the same if not for 1960s television. Eventually, Zombie got to cast a 1960s television star in one of his most popular films.

The cast of this Rob Zombie movie included one of the Monkees

Many of Zombie’s films include B movie actors in roles both major and minor. The majority of these actors are known for their roles in horror films. In an atypical move, Zombie cast Dolenz as a gun shop owner in his remake of John Carpenter’s Halloween. In an interview with Glide Magazine, Dolenz opened up about his feelings about the role.

“I was flattered and thrilled to be given an opportunity to play a character so, so different from what people expected of me,” Dolenz said. “As an actor that’s always something that you hope for. After The Monkees, as you could imagine, it was very difficult to get meaty dramatic parts because people think of you as the character they are familiar with. So when Rob came up and offered me the part of that crazy redneck owner of the gun shop, I jumped at it.”

Dolenz thanked Zombie for giving him the opportunity to appear in Halloween. In addition, it seems Zombie owes Dolenz quite a bit. When Zombie directed Dolenz in a movie, it almost feels like he came full circle as an artist. 

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