Film Capsule: Hit So Hard

Once upon a time, Patty Schemel was the internationally-renowned drummer of Hole.

Once upon a time, Patty Schemel was also a homeless drug addict, who regularly nodded off in MacArthur Park after turning tricks to support her habit.

Patty Schemel would like you to know she is no longer either of those things, and she’s doing just fine, all things considered, having made her peace with whatever demons might have been ravaging her back in those days.

This is the central premise of Hit So Hard, a new documentary featuring very old footage, much of it patched together via countless hours of homemade videos Schemel recorded between the Fall of 1994 and the Summer of 1995 – a crucial period during which Hole was at both the height of its collective power, and the constant verge of implosion.

These were the cataclysmic months during which Kurt Cobain committed suicide, Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff died of an overdose, and the whole fucking ball of yarn began to unravel. 

It’s a period in rock history so necessary and compelling, it doesn’t really seem to matter that the majority of interviews included here seem slightly dated. Courtney Love is absolutely magnetic throughout, most notably when she nonchalantly recalls announcing her presence on the scene as a self-proclaimed cunt. Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson is buoyant and adorable, and Terry Schemel nearly steals the show as the doting mother of a 25-year old Microsoft exec turned grunge rocker (or is it the other way around?).

While Hit So Hard is clearly hinged upon the feel-good hook of Schemel’s triumph over addiction, it’s also difficult to walk away from the film without the overriding sense that Hole was, is, and always will be one of the greatest hard rock bands to ever grace the planet.

A walking study in demonology, indeed.

(Hit So Hard arrives in theaters nationwide on Friday, April 13)