Murder on the Dancefloor
“Disco isn’t dead, but you might be.”
Director/Writer: Renaud Gauthier / Cast: Jeremie Earp Lavergne, Sandrine Bisson, Ivan Freud, Ingrid Falaise, Katherine Cleland, Mathieu Lapage, Francois Aubin, Pierre Lenoir.
Body Count: 11
Laughter Lines: “Calm down miss, YOUR FRIEND IS DEAD!”
There are precisely two awesome scenes in this uneven French Canadian flick, which posits that a guy who saw his dad electrocuted by recording equipment is driven to murder nightclub babes anytime he hears the pulsating rhythms of disco music.
In 1976, our loon-to-be Duane is fired from his diner job in NYC and hooks up with a girl who takes him to Seventh Heaven nightclub where he loses it to what sounds like a Hi-NRG disco mix of Flight of the Bumblebee and attacks his date. As she tries to escape, Duane ends up accosting her beneath the light-up dancefloor, where she shrieks hysterically, pounding her hands against the underside of the platform while people shake n’ shimmy inches above her head.
It really is a great scenario, executed well, ending with a nice zoom out of her face, barely visible under the floor until it’s eclipsed by spinning and twirling revellers.
Duane flees New York for Montreal and things skip ahead to 1980 where we find him posing as a deaf-mute handyman at an all girl’s Catholic school, attempting to block out the tempting bops of Donna Summer and the Village People with secret ear plugs. When school empties out for the weekend, he hears two loitering girls playing – gasp! – disco music and doing naked lesbian things, slashes them up with a broken 45 and takes their heads.
He’s also kidnapped a teacher from a discotheque and is holding her captive in a basement somewhere while he dances around her, buck naked, swinging the two decapitated heads about like fire poi.
Cops investigate. The original NYC detective reads about it and travels to Montreal. Duane crashes a televised show called Discomania and strangles a girl, all shown via strobe lights, which is the other awesome scene.
Then, and I don’t know what the fuck this was about, Duane disguises himself as a nun to ram cars from the funeral procession of the murdered girls and a teacher while the Kiss classic I Was Made for Lovin’ You plays from an eight-track. Cops chase, Duane throws himself off a parking garage.
The film is essentially over after about 73 minutes with no real resolution or explanation, no real main character to speak of, just a bunch of scenes spliced together that either don’t drive the plot at all (the priest yelling during the funeral service?) or occur with no raison d’etre. Why give so much screentime to the other teacher if she dies so randomly by electrocuting herself? Why not kill off the priest who wanted to pull a Mayor Vaughn and re-open the school before the killer was caught?
A weird experience if ever there was, but the two dancefloor murder scenes and some eyebrow raising male nudity save it from being tossed into the Disco Demolition Night bonfire.
Blurb-of-interest: Gauthier also directed the 2019 waterslide slasher pic Aquaslash.