Thursday, November 29, 2012

'80s Horror: Murder Rock (Dancing Death)

If you ever wanted to see the awkward baby of Flashdance and Suspiria, this is it.  Today's film is Murder Rock aka Murder-Rock(:) Dancing Death.  Why is it hyphenated?  Why is there no colon?  That's just the beginning of the questions raised by this Lucio Fulci film.  Are all of the Fulci cliches here?  Well, sort of himself appearing in the film, Yes.  The story involves a series of mysterious murders at a Dance School that is definitely supposed to be in America.  Before anyone comments, it might actually have been filmed there, but it didn't appear to be.  This one is interesting for a couple of reasons, but also a bit generic at times.  To find out if this film achieves Fame, read on...
This film is about a killer at a Dance School.  Apparently this required a total of SEVEN people to get Writing Credits.  Really?
So yeah, dancing.  This footage helps pad the run-time out past 80 minutes, so I hope that you enjoy it.

The gist of it: a big Casting Call is coming up soon and it's a cutthroat competition (pun fully intended) to get the few spots available.
The first victim is revealed to be one of the female students.  She's given a dose of chloroform, has her boobs exposed and is then stabbed through the heart with a hat pin.  Ouch.
Fortunately, there's a Detective on the case.  It's not a good one, but it's also not Fulci.  A mixed bag, really.
 After failing to get one girl, the killer settles for a smaller victim.

Now I know how the caged bird dies!
Did the movie just reveal the killer's identity forty-minutes in with this dream sequence?  Well, 'yes and no' actually.  More on that later...
The lead woman is attacked by the Killer, but the Police show up to save her (but not from this tit shot).

As it turns out, she's not the real Killer.  No, she's just one of the students who didn't like the Teacher.  Okay then.
After another victim or two arises, the Police continue to have more suspects, but nobody that they can prove did it.  This film has more Red Herrings than a Norwegian Cannery!

Maybe this creepy splash of dead people and hat pins will help.
In The End, it turns out that increasingly-crazy-looking Teacher was actually the killer.  Actually, to be more accurate, the lead suspect just kind of says that she was the Killer after she commits suicide.

Clever twist ending or lazy writing?  You decide!  The End.
Seriously, does this ending make any sense to you?  Skipping past that confusing mess for a bit, let me focus on the rest of the film.  It's...alright, but nothing special.  Aside from the Nudity and mild-Gore, this is not much of a Fulci film.  Given that it took three people to write the Story and four to write the actual Script, I was expecting more.  This is one of those full-on investigation Giallo films.  It's not about a reluctant outsider solving the crime.  Instead, it's an alleged psycho-drama on this woman...who was apparently evil the whole time.  I would love to be able to explain this properly, but I can't.  This alleged twist is not really built up all that well.  Furthermore, there's no 'explain how this worked' scene to wrap things up.  Like a cliche Kung-Fu film, it just ends abruptly.  Oh and the quote from John Huston (minus my addition) was real nice too.  In all honesty, this movie has its moments, but also does so little to really stand out on its own.  How does this face make you feel now?
Next up, an anthology film who's title continues to confuse me.  With a slew of Character Actors on board, there's no way that this will get really silly.  Stay tuned...