HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Murder-Rock: Dancing Death Death wears leg warmers
Year: 1984
Director: Lucio Fulci
Stars: Olga Karlatos, Ray Lovelock, Claudio Cassinelli, Cosimo Cinieri, Giuseppe Mannajuolo, Berna Maria Do Carmo, Belinda Busato, Janna Ryan, Angela Lemmerman, Carla Buzzanca, Christian Borromeo, Maria Vittoria Tolazzi, Carlo Caldera
Genre: Horror, Musical, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Auditions at the prestigious New York dance academy run by demanding dance diva Candice Norman (Olga Karlatos) are disrupted when a psycho-killer murders talented frontrunner Susan (Angela Lemmerman) in the shower, using a distinctive large golden hatpin. Surly, nut-nibbling Lieutenant Borges (Cosimo Cinieri) and his cerebral sidekick Professor Davies (Giuseppe Mannajuolo) investigate but prove conspicuously unable to stop the ongoing slaughter. Meanwhile, Candice is tortured by nightmares wherein she is pursued and murdered by a mystery man (Ray Lovelock) wielding a golden hatpin. Upon discovering his real-life counterpart is down-on-his-luck model-turned-actor George Webb, Candice does what any sensible woman would do namely enter into a sexual liaison with the man she suspects is the killer.

Following his acclaimed run of zombie movies and subsequent split from the talented creative team of writer Dardano Sacchetti, cinematographer Sergio Salvati and special effects supervisor Giannetto De Rossi, Italian horror maestro Lucio Fulci stumbled through an array of genres trying to reignite his career: sword and sorcery (Conquest (1983)), post-apocalyptic science fiction (2033 Rome: The New Centurions (1983)), erotic thriller (The Devil's Honey (1986). In 1984 Fulci and producer Augusto Caminito hit on what must have seemed like an ingenious idea to combine the giallo with the Eighties dance craze spawned by Fame (1980) and Flashdance (1983). To no-one's surprise, save perhaps their own, the result was another disaster - too campy for horror fans, too weird and blithely misanthropic for dance enthusiasts.

Handling the all-important soundtrack duties was prog rock legend Keith Emerson, fresh from collaborating with Dario Argento on Inferno (1980). Emerson's disco ditties drive some genre critics up the wall, but given Eighties dance music has made something of a comeback in recent times, younger viewers may be more inclined to enjoy them. Set to catchy songs like "Streets to Blame", the reoccurring spectacle of beautiful dancers gyrating in leg-warmers and skimpy leotards is not unpleasant. Janna Ryan plays a Debbie Allen-style harsh-but-fair dance instructor while Olga Karlatos even delivers a variation on Allen's famous Fame speech ("You kids are gonna be big, but first you gotta pay...")

It is amusing to see the grumpy old man of Italian horror try to "get down with the kids" by including break-dancing and roller-disco sequences. Fulci was not yet the spent force he became by the decade's end and brings a degree of style to the dance numbers with skilful staging, lighting, editing, notably when sweat-sheened Janice (Carla Buzzanca) performs an eye-opening tribute to Jennifer Beals and arguably tops the Flashdance star. Oddly, the dance scenes are more distinctive than the murders. However, none of the dancers receive an onscreen credit. Fulci seemingly regards them as anonymous aerobics dolls that dance for our pleasure then die. Smarting from criticisms of his risible The New York Ripper (1982), Fulci dials down the gore but still ensures the gorgeous victims disrobe before being pierced through the breast in grisly close-up. Which is either indicative of his misogyny or willingness to deliver the exploitation goods, depending on how you look at it.

Fulci brings his usual grouchy view of young people as shrill and whiny and show business as a backdrop for sleaze and depravity, implying most of the dancers have been moonlighting as prostitutes. Ignoring the camaraderie that often binds dance troupes, he dwells on the bitchy in-fighting and dog-eat-dog mentality, underlining his contempt through the strangely bemused figure of Lieutenant Borges who dismisses them as "a school full of sons of bitches" and theorizes the killer might be someone who just hates dancers ("He has my heartfelt approval"). Indeed, Borges proofs a veritable fount of wisdom with his sagely views on art ("It's like a disease... that makes them born liars!") and women ("One learns the hard way with the ladies"). Later when Candice challenges one male character that he thinks all dancers are sluts he replies: "You think I'm wrong?" It is worth noting though that Fulci himself cameos as a casting agent who remarks showbiz folk "aren't as immoral as everybody thinks we are", though the unfolding plot proves otherwise.

While Fulci keeps his young characters at arms length and regards them with distaste (aren't they his target audience?), the plot focuses on the older characters whose shrill soap operatic problems fail to engage. Italian horror fans will recognise regulars like Karlatos (who got a splinter in her eye in Fulci's Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) and played Prince's mom in Purple Rain (1984) - you tell me which was worse) and Ray Lovelock, plus Claudio Cassinelli as studio director Dick Gibson, Christian Borromeo as Susan's slimy boyfriend Willy (what's with all the phallic names in this movie?) and Al Cliver as a cop.

One of the last Fulci movies to feature really decent production values, the New York locations add a layer of glitz. However, carried over from New York Ripper is Fulci's vision of American society populated with obnoxious weirdos including possibly the screen's only unsympathetic disabled child (Silvia Collatina) who coolly snaps photographs of her babysitter being murdered. Karlatos gives the strongest performance in spite of her awkwardly written character and an unsatisfying ending that riffs on Fulci's earlier, superior A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971). Things conclude with a strange quote from John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle (1950): "Often crime is a distorted form of human endeavour." Uh-huh...

Click here for a fan-made trailer

Click here for Carla Buzzanca's steamy flashdance

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3426 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Lucio Fulci  (1927 - 1996)

Italian director whose long career could best be described as patchy, but who was also capable of turning in striking work in the variety of genres he worked in, most notably horror. After working for several years as a screenwriter, he made his debut in 1959 with the comedy The Thieves. Various westerns, musicals and comedies followed, before Fulci courted controversy in his homeland with Beatrice Cenci, a searing attack on the Catholic church.

The 70s and early 80s were marked by slick, hard-hitting thrillers like A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, Don't Torture a Duckling and The Smuggler, while Fulci scored his biggest international success in 1979 with the gruesome Zombie Flesh Eaters. Manhattan Baby, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery were atmospheric, bloody slices of Gothic horror, and The New York Ripper set a new standard in misogynistic violence. Fulci's last notable film was the truly unique A Cat in the Brain in 1990, a semi-autobiographical, relentlessly gory comedy in which he also starred. Died in 1996 from a diabetic fit after several years of ill-health.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: