Movie Review: “Sad Vacation – The Last Days of Sid and Nancy”

Howie Pyro and Hellin Killer (Photo by Gabi Berlin)

Howie Pyro and Hellin Killer (Photo by Gabi Berlin)

“Sad Vacation” is a documentary about Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, the Romeo and Juliet of the punk generation. Her unsolved murder and his suicide shaped the consciousness of punk itself. This movie is another look at the young lovers, only 21 at the time of their demise, and a tale for the ages. They were both junkies, on heroin, on methadone, and on love, living out their last days in the world-famous (and haunted) Chelsea hotel.

Their story has it all– sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And death. Sid was a successful punk star from the groundbreaking Sex Pistols. She was a groupie and a dominatrix. A who-dun-it ensues after Sid wakes up one morning in a pool of blood to find Nancy dead. Did Sid kill Nancy? Or was it the bodyguard/dope dealer? Was it Rockets Redglare? The NYPD? The FBI? The CIA? [Is it the IRA? I thought it was the UK -Ed.]

My guess was always character actor and stand-up comedian Rockets Redglare. Never trust a comic. It was well-known that he almost killed a pal that he could not get into bed.
The movie revealed that he had the missing money from the song “My Way” balled up and wrapped in Nancy’s hair Scrunchy in his pocket.

Or was it the ghosts of the Chelsea Hotel guiding Nancy’s own hand? They say the wound was shallow, so did she stab herself? She was always acting out, and they say they heard her moaning that night, but never a scream for help.

This film was directed by Daniel Garcia, who also made “Looking for Johnny” and “The Rise and Fall of the Clash.” The film includes interviews with all of the people who were there at the time — Rodent, Howie Pyro, Hellin Killer, Lee Childers Black (RIP), Sylvain Sylvain, Bob Gruen, Walter Lure and a host of other insiders.

Sid, poor Sid. Abused at Rikers Island, and then his junkie mom came to take care of him. Sid never injected himself; he left that to others. His Mom and Michelle, his new girlfriend, were the last people to see him alive. Did the ghosts kill him?

The guest speakers were Howie Pyro, one of the people at Sid’s release from jail party, and unbeknownst to him, Sid’s going away party. Another speaker was Hellin Killer, who loved him, and lived with him and Nancy in London. I was only happy that they spread Sid’s ashes on Nancy’s grave, one of his last requests.

It is a sad and funny memorial to the couple. Garcia has a unique formula for making films. The movie is well thought-out and the editing is well done, as are the interviews. But the film does not come to any real conclusion. There are no new answers. The end of Sid and Nancy is a mystery that is still unsolved, and might forever remain unsolved.

Tequila Mockingbird

About Tequila Mockingbird

Tequila Mockingbird has been a longtime fixture on the LA music scene. Her first band was "Trouble for Nora" with Mitch Mitchell of "The Jimi Hendrix Experience." She sings with Jeff Goldblum and you can catch her show Saturday nights at Canter's. She is also a promoter, actress, writer and inventor. Her company, Do Monkey Productions, booked the historical punk rock TV show, "New Wave Theater." She has been published in Buzzbin Magazine and has a regular column in Rock City News. Recently she has created Tequila Tattoo Cream and opened The Punk Rock Museum to bring old friends together for art, music , and culture. It is located at KGB studios and curates special events all over Los Angeles in Pop up form. The museum has also contributed art to Pershing Square and Tequila hopes to curate more events for the city that she loves.
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