10 user 18 critic

The Rock-afire Explosion (2008)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 2008 (USA)
A cult fan favorite documentary which explores the rise and fall of Showbiz Pizza Place, it's animatronic rock band, and the origins of Chuck E. Cheese's.


Brett Whitcomb
1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Chris Thrash Chris Thrash ... Himself
Aaron Fechter Aaron Fechter ... Himself
Travis Schafer Travis Schafer ... Himself
Mike Scherpenberg Mike Scherpenberg ... Himself
Damon E. Breland Damon E. Breland ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kerry Fechter Kerry Fechter ... Herself (as Kerry)
Paul Teneyuca Paul Teneyuca ... Himself
Sandy Thrash Sandy Thrash ... Herself


"The Rock-afire Explosion" is the story of a small-town disc-jockey, a struggling inventor, and an animatronic rock band, that quickly becomes an eccentric portrait of childhood memories, broken dreams, and the resilience of the human spirit. Written by Bradford Thomason

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A rockumentary for the kid at heart.




Not Rated


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

2008 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Carrollton, Texas, USA See more »


Box Office


$4,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Filmmakers Brett Whitcomb and Bradford Thomason were heavily inspired by the raw, personal styles of films like Hands on a Hard Body and Dancing Outlaw while making this film. See more »


References Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986) See more »


Hello Sunshine
Written by Gruff Rhys, Huw Bunford, Cian Ciaran, Dafydd Ieuan,
& Guto Pryce
Performed by Super Furry Animals
Published by Universal Music Publishing, LTD.
Courtesy of XL Recordings Limited
2003 Beggars Group U.S.A / XL Recordings
Under Exclusive License From Sony Entertainment (U.K) LTD.
See more »

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User Reviews

You can never go home again
9 December 2010 | by grandmaloneySee all my reviews

The documentary simultaneously examines the life of Aaron Fechter--engineer and inventor of Showbiz's iconic musical centerpiece, and the founder of the company that produced the animatronic marvels, Creative Engineering. It's an almost heartbreaking glimpse into the perils of achieving incredible success at a young age, and the slow torture of being unable to recreate that success over the remainder of a lifetime. Whereas the bits about Chris Thrash are mostly inspiring and uplifting, the segments covering Fechter's life convey a theme of gloom and decay. And although he seems happy to discuss the "good old days", there's a quiet desperation just beneath the exterior of his optimistic outlook and upbeat personality that is truly powerful to behold.

The greatest value of this production is the incredible sincerity of the people upon whose lives it focuses. You can't act this kind of stuff; these are a collection of individuals who, not unlike the robotic band itself, have been drawn together by the love and happy memories they once had at a place called Showbiz Pizza. And it's powerful, because anyone who grew up frequenting the fabulous pizza-parlour-stage-show-arcade is likely to strongly empathize with that love and share many of the same memories. I may be getting soft in my old age, but I have to admit that I teared up during one particularly poignant moment in the documentary. That could simply be a testament to good filmmaking. Or, it could be that I just happen to fall directly into the smack-dab-middle of the target demographic for this DVD. Either way, it's a fantastic watch and I highly recommend it to everyone who grew up in the 80s loving pizza, arcade games, and ridiculously overdone animatronic stage shows.

Matt 'gzsfrk' Williams

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