Friday, August 1, 2008

dance macabre.

Murder Rock: Death Dancing (AKA Giallo a disco, Murder Rock - Dancing Death, Slashdance, 1984).
Dir: Lucio Fulci.
Cast: Olga Karlatos, Berna Maria do Carmo, Cosimo Cinieri, Claudio Cassinelli, Ray Lovelock, Geretta Giancarlo, Al Cliver, Silvia Collatina, Giovanni de Nava, aria Vittoria Tolazzi, Carla Buzzanca, Angela Lemerman, Christian Borromeo and Belinda Busato.

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The co-ed dance students at the famous Arts for Living Center in New York City are being worked into a disco frenzy every hour of the day as graduation fast approaches. Not only that but it seems that a prestigious New York stage show is about to open and the producers want the three best female dancers from the class for the lead roles.

Their fearsome tutor Candice Norman (Zombie Flesh Eaters harsh hottie Karlatos) had her own dancing career tragically cut short by a hit and run accident years ago so knows how hard she must push her students if they're to succeed (hopefully she wont be pushing them under any motorbikes tho') even if it means shattered dreams for all except the chosen few.

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Mark Hamill impressed the convention
crowd by farting a fully grown woman
out of his peachy arse.


After a particularly sweaty (and incredibly 80's) dance routine, saucy, local nosed student Joan (the hamster like do Carmo, providing I've got the right actress it's all a bit of a haze) and her boyfriend (Mark Hamill alike Borromeo from Tenebrae) meet up in the ladies locker room for some 'extra practice'.

After some hot n' heavy 'making out' (as the kids call it) and being aware that the automated security system is about to lock the school, he heads off to wash his bits in preparation for some lovin' whilst she has a shower to 'cool down'.

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"We'll have no trouble here!"


Unfortunately for her (but bloody lucky for us after the flurry of crotch obsessed musical numbers) there's a black clad killer on the loose who sneaks into the shower cubicle, chloroforms the nubile dancer and stabs her in the heart with an ornate hat pin.

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Claire Goose's Red Nose Day stunt was
deemed a little extreme for family viewing.


Not too surprisingly the dance class is shocked to say the least as accusations begin to fly and gossip starts to spread like warm runny butter, surely it wasn't one of the other students that committed this foul (if not oh so slightly erotically charged) murder to better their chances of an audition?

Hard nosed, brick chinned chubster Lieutenant Borges (Cinieri, from The New York Ripper) appears to have no idea, but you can be pretty sure he's going to use it as an excuse to slap the kids around a bit, stuff his face with nuts and swear a lot till he finally solves the case.

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Olga was oblivious to the fact that Little Cook
was attempting to whisper sweet
nothings into her ear.


Just when you think the case couldn't possibly get any stranger, Candice starts dreaming about a hunky blond guy chasing her with a hat pin.

No, really.

As the plot gets stranger more and more girls are winding up dead and (as well as a wee bird in a cage) each in the order of merit from the class.

Out driving one day with her school girl chasing bespectacled college Dick Gibson (Mountain of The Cannibal God's Cassinelli - seriously this movie is a veritable who's who of Euro Horror) she comes across a billboard ad for hemorrhoid cream that features the same mysterious man!

Turns out her dream guy is one George Webb (Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue's Lovelock), an alcohol actor cum model with a think for pre-teen girls and a dark secret.

Obviously Candice wastes no time jumping into bed with him whilst all around her chaos reigns supreme and everyone and their dog becomes a suspect or at the very least has a bizarre secret to hide.

For starters it turns out that Dick had been trying to bed the dead girls, one of the male students is a nutter who actually confesses to the crimes (he did it because he hates Spics apparently), George once had an affair with a 15 year old who mysteriously died and Fame-like fellow dance tutor Margie (Giancarlo from Demoni) hates Candice so much that she goes as far as dressing up as the Killer, chloroforming her and attempting to stick her with a pin.

Phew!

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"Where's mah washboard?"

As even more girls turn up on the slab and with fewer and fewer suspects left standing, will Lieutenant Borges be able to pin the crime on the killer before it's too late?

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Tom Jones farted....and it smells of leek.

It was the early 80's and the Giallo genre was fading out of fashion in Italy, replaced by futuristic action flicks, slasher movies and an invasion of big budget American fare such as Flashdance and the like.

Silk stockings and blood red shoes were out and leather shoulder pads, crotch cutting leotards and amusing hairstyles were most definitely in.

It would take a man of unhinged genius to try and revive Giallo's fortunes and save this fantastic sub genre; and Lucio Fulci happily took the challenge.

The result was Murder Rock, a schizophrenic mish mash of murder, mystery, body popping and cheesy disco hits straight out of Fame.

From the opening scenes of a demanding black female instructor putting her students thru' their paces to close ups of the shaggy haired keyboard jiving student miming to a poptastic Kieth Emerson score you know you're in for something special as Fulci treats us to consistent (and totally unnecessary) close-ups of spandex clad bouncy arses, sweaty heaving breasts and a plethora of thrusting hips.

One sequence is actually taken shot for shot from the aforementioned Flashdance, when one of the students (female thankfully) auditions for a nightclub boss.

Chair dancing and drenched in water with her backside fighting to escape the tiniest thong in living memory, Fulci's only addition to the scene is a frightening number of crash zooms into the dancers crotch at every opportunity.

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"Run for your lives...it's John Leslie!"


As for the cast well, as mentioned earlier it's a fanboy's dream come true, featuring as it does nearly ever major player from the heyday of Italian horror.

As well as those already mentioned like Olga (Zombie Flesh Eaters and later Prince's mum in Purple Rain) Karlatos, Cosimo (Manhattan Baby) Cinieri, the late great Claudio (Island of The Fishmen) Cassinelli, Geretta (Rats) Giancarlo, Al Cliver (and beard) in an uncredited cameo and Ray Lovelock but there are also top turns from such B movie stalwarts as Giovanni (The Beyond) de Nava and the scarily red headed child/woman Silvia (House By The Cemetery) Collatina.

With fantastic cinematography from the god like Giuseppe Pinori, some abysmal dubbing, top gore effects and more sweaty and naked ladies than you can stick a hat pin in, Murder Rock is well worth the pound it'll cost you at Cash Converters so jump in and boogie on down to one of Fulci’s greatest works.

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