April 5, 2014

DVD Review: Muder Rock aka Dancing Death (1984)

If you're in the mood for a really obscure Horror flick from the 80's, look no further than this toe-tapping, jazzy little Slasher.

Remember all the awesome dance movies from the 80's; the ones with small town girls who had big city dreams, that could only be accomplished through the overuse of hairspray, legwarmers, leotards, and a Michael Sembello song? The ones that culminated in a big "Dance Off" against a rival gang, evil nemesis, or most important of all, themselves? 

Fame, Flashdance, Heavenly Bodies,The Apple, Body Rock, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo... we could go on, because there was no shortage of feel-good dance movies in the 80's, but you get the point.

Well it looks like Lucio Fulci, was a big fan of these Legwarmer Porn movies too, because he went out and made his own version of Flashdance, which in Europe, was actually known as Slashdance. That is a true fact. We would not lie.

It's pretty much a no-brainer, combining Fulci's brand of Italian Horror with the sub-genre of movies that involved sweaty girls wearing skin-tight bodysuits and gyrating around, doing splits and what have you. That was pretty much a match made in heaven in the 80's. In all honesty, it's a match made in heaven here in 2014.

Murder Rock: Dancing Death opens with some crazy POV shots of New York City interspersed with footage of some shitty co-ed Jazzercise/Breakdance crew dancing to one of the worst songs I've ever heard, called "Are the Streets to Blame?" Hell, I don't know, Lady... to blame for what? The shitty dancing in this movie? Maybe. Maybe the streets are to blame for that.

It all honestly felt like a Mento's Commercial.

After 3 minutes of that crap, Fulci totally switches gears, and fades into... another dance scene! Don't worry though; this one may feature a crappy song too, but the whole thing is way more intense... much like I'd imagine auditions for an early 80's Pat Benetar video to be. You know, legwarmers and sweat, and "believe in yourself and you can win the game" type of stuff.

"Doo doo doo doo, doo-doo, do-waaaaah!"
When the hottest chick in the dance clan (or whatever the hell they are) decides to take a wet, steamy shower with her legwarmers on, she earns the attention of the maniac in their midst, and pays dearly for her fashion faux pas.

Never fear though, because tough-as-nails, "I've seen it all, kid" Lt. Borges in on the case, and he's determined to find out who killed the poor naked girl, and stole her legwarmers. Against his instructions, the rest of the Flashdancing whores keep on Flashdancing, which of course makes them targets for the dancer-hating killer too.

Your fate was sealed when you wore those legwarmers into the shower, dummy.
The rest of the movie is basically the story of a dance-off, in which a bunch of mediocre Jazzercisers compete for 3 spots in some "big show." There's a killer at large who is going around rigging all of the lights to slowly flicker on and off so that when he jams pins into the dancers, it's all the more ominous and terrifying.

Soon enough, it's up to a super hunky male model and the overbearing dance instructor to team up and solve the mystery and find the killer, because Lt. Borges is just not getting the job done.

Cillian Murphy killed it in his debut role.
Will Lt. Borges find out who is killing the Solid Gold Dancers before they're all dead? Will anyone get raped to death by a bottle of cheap wine? Do dancers really reenact the solo dance scene from Flashdance, alone in their apartments like that? Far be it from us to spoil things for you here, but suffice it to say that with that shitty duet that keeps playing throughout the movie, none of it is easy to swallow...

So... it was aliens the whole time?
Italian Horror flicks are what they are; you either know and love them, or you find yourself dumbfounded by their lack of sense and reason, and maybe you even laugh at their bad dubbing and cheesy dialogue. One thing you can't deny about Italian Horror flicks though, is that for all of their faults, they deliver on atmosphere and gore like no other.

Lucio Fulci, likewise, is one of those directors who is a master at unnerving and grossing his audiences out, but many of his films still come off feeling shoddy and cheap, to different extents, depending on which film you're talking about. With Murder Rock, he gives us a more laid back movie (in terms of visceral gore), which may alarm some of his more faithful fans, and he also focuses a lot of some awful dancing and music, which is even more alarming.

With all of that said though, Murder Rock is still a fun movie to sit through, especially if you love 80's Slasher/Giallo flicks. We knew going in that this movie was going to be nothing more than a cheesy good time, and that's exactly what it was.

Yeah, Lucio, go tell it to someone else!
Why are the detectives in Italian Horror flicks so laid back and casual about things? Honestly, it's like they have better things to do with their detective time than to try and find violent killers. Maybe things are just quieter and more relaxed in Italy?

This one also doesn't make a lot of sense at times, so prepare to say "huh?" a lot.

Early inspiration for Dexter.
How terrifying is it supposed to be to see some mysterious killer chasing everyone around with a push pin?

Can't you just knock the pin out of his hand?
Fulci held back on the gore in this one, which surprised us a bit. Most of the murders come via pin through the heart, so they aren't all that messy. There is a bottle-vagina kill that is pretty messy though...

Poor little Chirpy here got the worst of it.
Angela Lemerman walks around naked in her legwarmers, takes a shower, and get stabbed in the boob. Aside from that, we mostly get a gang of sweaty girls doing some provocative dance numbers.

What did those boobs ever do to you, sir?
Lucio Fulci really had a dancers soul. Also, dance instructors can be very overbearing at times.

Wait... what?
This is not one of Fulci's best efforts, but it's still a fun, 80's-style Italian Slasher flick, with plenty of Giallo flavoring thrown into the mix. If you love Italian Horror flicks of old, with all of their bad dubbing and crazy atmosphere, you'll probably get a kick out of this one.

Murder Rock: Dancing Death is available to buy on Ebay, but it is not cheap. We're talking $50 for a DVD here. Wait for it to be re-released. 


The brave dancers of Murder Rock gave their all on the dance floor, and most of them died for it... Thank you for sweating and gyrating so much, girls, you changed our lives.

1 comment :

  1. Loving this blog. Ive never seen this, but have a love for Italian horror and 80s slasher movies so this seem right up my alley, i wonder how hard it is to find? Hope i can track it down. if only for the boobs and sweaty girls haha. Keep the stuff coming!