Sunday, April 28, 2019

dance macabre.

My top internet buddie and head of the Get Your Genki music label - Giornata Nera - posted earlier that he'd just purchased a brand new Blu-Ray copy of this and was going to give it a rewatch seeing as he couldn't remember a thing about it.

And even more bizarrely the twins were away at - gulp - dance class today.

No murders tho'.

So it's almost fated that myself and the Cassman would spend our afternoon watching this.

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 Geretta, Al Cliver, Silvia Collatina, Giovanni de Nava, aria Vittoria Tolazzi, Carla Buzzanca, Angela Lemerman, Christian Borromeo and Belinda Busato.

Save the last dance . . . for hell!

The co-ed dance students at the very real sounding yet entirely fictional Arts for Living Center in New York City are being worked into a disco frenzy every hour of the day as their graduation performance 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.

And their fearsome tutor Candice Norman (Zombie Flesh Eaters harsh hottie herself - Karlatos) who had her own dancing career cut tragically short by a hit and run accident years ago knows how hard she must push her students if they're to succeed even if it means shattered dreams for all except the chosen few.

Hopefully tho' she wont be pushing them under any motorbikes and giving them shattered pelvises instead.

Just saying.

It's not all studio based gyrating tho' as after a particularly sweaty diisco inferno-esque dance routine, saucy, local nosed student Joan (the hamster like  Carmo, providing I've got the right actress it's all a bit of a haze) and her boyfriend Willy (Mark Hamill alike Borromeo from Tenebrae) decide meet up in the ladies locker room for some bumping and grinding of a different kind.

And by that I mean they're going to be having some of 'the sex'.

So 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, Willy heads off to wash his bits in preparation for some proper poking whilst Joan has a shower to 'cool down'.

Fuck me having sex was really complicated in the 80s, no wonder I stuck to books.

Quite literally in some cases.*

"Tissues in mah mooth!"

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 and chloroforms the nubile dancer before stabbing her in the heart with an ornate hat pin.

As you do.

As dawn breaks it'll come as no surprise when I say that the rest of the dance class is shocked (or is that totally apathetic? it's hard to tell) as accusations begin to fly and gossip starts to spread like warm runny butter down a small childs thigh.

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 looking for the world like a less gin - and piss - soaked Hugo Stiglitz) has absolutely no idea, but you can be pretty sure he's going to use the murder 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.

What a guy.

Hands up if you think this blog is shite.

Remembering that even tho' the film is attempting to look - and feel - like a big budget American thriller it is in fact an Italian giallo so at some point one of the characters must experience a bizzaro dream sequence and in this case it's Candice who suddenly starts sweatily dreaming about a hunky blond guy chasing her around a kids play park and trying to stab her with a hat pin.

Seems legit.

Anyway as the plot gets more and more obtuse and more and more girls are murdered - alongside a wee chaffinch in a cage, the bastard - Borges deduces that each one is being killed in order of class merit.

If that at happened when I attended art school I'd have been royally screwed.

And not just by the sleazy librarian Mr Chisholm.

But I digress.

To take her mind off such matters Candice decides a day in the country would be nice so persuades 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) to accompany her and with picnic packed and a clean pair of pants in her pocket the duo head out onto the road but almost immediately come across (not in that way) a billboard ad for hemorrhoid cream that features the same mysterious man as is in her dreams.

After a wee bit of rudimentary detective work on her part (which let's be honest is much more than Borges has done) Candice discovers that the mystery man is one George Webb (Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue's Lovelock), an alcohol actor cum model with a thing for pre-teen girls and a dark secret.

Because being a pedo isn't dark enough obviously.

"You may feel a tiny prick."

Obviously the best way for Candice to prove he did/didn't do the bad murders is to almost immediately jump into bed with him in and have loads of sex, oblivious to the fact  that all around her chaos is reigning 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 (friend of this blog Geretta) 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.


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?

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 mishmash of murder, mystery, body popping and cheesy disco hits straight out of Fame.

From the opening scenes of a demanding 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.

And for that we must thank him.


Five fingers, never touched the side.

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 - 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) Geretta, Al Cliver (and beard) in an uncredited cameo and Ray Lovelock - there are also top turns from such Euro superstars as Giovanni (The Beyond) de Nava and the scarily sexy red head Silvia (House By The Cemetery) Collatina of whom I still crush over to this day.

Tho' I'm friends with her on Facebook so I should really keep that quiet.

Don't tell anyone will you?

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

No seriously.

*Case in point:

No comments: