Within the first five minutes of The Disco Exorcist, viewers are treated to a topless dancer sashaying her hips for a seedy group of perverts; a truckload of cocaine that blankets the screen like the winter’s first snow, satanic imagery and a voodoo spell that leaves one of the strip club patrons twisted in half until he’s ultimately split in two and disemboweled. This is all within the first scene, and offers just a taste of the sex, gore and mayhem that viewers have lined up for the next hour and change.
Rex Romanski (Michael Reed) is our prototypical seventies swinging male. With his blonde Leif Garrett inspired hair, lithe dancer’s body and easy going manner, Rex holds sway as king of the disco and casual sex scene in town. So when he meets Rita Marie (Ruth Sullivan) on the dance floor, there’s no reason for him to think he’s in for anything different than the usual: a night of bumping and grinding on the floor followed up by a night of bumping uglies back at his pad. After a night of having her mind blown and her lady parts scorched, Rita has other ideas in mind. She believes she’s found her one and only soul mate. Therefore it comes as a crushing blow when Rex ditches her on the dance floor for Amoreena Jones (Sarah Nicklin), local porn star of films such as “The Devil Is Still In Miss Jones”. Jones has what every man desires: the girl next door beauty and charm that makes you want to introduce her to mom to go along with an insatiable sexual appetite complete with skills in the boudoir to match.
|We have a good idea where those fingers have just been, right?|
After an all too brief catfight on the dance floor leaves Rita with a fistful of Amoreena’s hair, Rex escorts his new lady friend back to his pad where the two clasp hands and pledge a vow of chastity to one another until they get married.
Just kidding. We’re treated to an extended scene of Rex and Amoreena humping like bunnies hopped up on Red Bull. Apparently Rex has skills Amoreena has been looking for, because it evolves into more than a one night stand, and like most blossoming relationships; it involves the lady bringing her new beau to her porn set, where they engage in a four way with her two fellow actresses while wearing roller skates.
Of course, getting cast aside fails to sit well with Rita. Our ginger haired beauty takes matters into her own hands. Where the average crazy chick may simply slash her ex’s tires or make threatening calls to his place of employment, Rita has the dark arts at her disposal. Soon Amoreena finds her body taken over by vengeful spirits of the damned force to commit acts of mayhem, murder and cannibalism by their invisible hand. With the help of his friends, Rex finds it’s harder to expel a demon from his new girlfriend’s body than it is to cure gonorrhea. If he’s going to save Amoreena before she pulls the junk off every dude at a local orgy(what does it say about my taste in film that this is the fourth movie I’ve watched this year where no man’s dick is safe, yet I’ve loved them all) Rex needs to become…THE DISCO EXORICST.
|A night of scented candles and a voodoo doll? I'm all in.|
If you can’t tell by the above synopsis, Disco is a horror comedy with a heavy emphasis on the funny. Actually, The Disco Exorcist veers more towards seventies adult films rather than horror for much of its runtime. I can’t emphasize this point enough: there is a shit ton of fucking in this film. As Romanski, Reed gets to do more plowing than the city of Boston municipal services between the months of December and March. Griffin demonstrates a knack for recreating deviant exploitation films from the days of yore. Going through the IMDB for the cast, a lot of familiar faces pop up from Griffin’s other films. This helps out the cause, as familiarity breeds comfort, and as the cast spends the bulk of the runtime very much naked and simulating a litany of stimulating acts, one gets the impression everyone involved is in on the joke. Reed gives a breezy performance as Rick. To modern sensibilities, he should come of like a pig, but there’s something likeable about the guy, and you can’t help but root for him. Nicklin also comes off as immensely likeable in her role as the sex bomb girl next door. At time the horror element seems forgotten about-the climatic exorcist scene seems rushed. I-and I can’t believe I’m saying this-might have trimmed out the titillating scenes bit and beefed up the carnage count. The supporting characters, by way of an over protective ex-boyfriend, a blue balled club DJ and an excommunicated priest that botched an earlier exorcist make for some terrific cornball humor as well.
However the real praise goes to Ruth Sullivan and her fantastic performance as Rita, the woman scorned. Sullivan possesses a natural beauty akin to Chloe Sevigny on her absolute best day. In the early goings, during her club hopping temptress phase, Sullivan is simply scorching hot. So hot that you just want to take her back to your place, feed her an industrial sized tin of Beefaroni, plant her on your face and pass out from the combination of noxious gas and sexual delirium. Yet Sullivan raises her game when she ratchets up the crazy meter. Spewing bile into the camera, she contorts her face in to an angry ball of hate that would make even the toughest of characters cross the street if the saw her heading in their direction. Her best scene finds Sullivan tracking through a graveyard, getting ready to raise the dead. Her true motivations come to light: she she’s herself as representing every woman that’s been spurned by a lover, treated as a sexual toy, been slighted or passed over on the job or suffered abuse at the hands of a man. It gives her character a sympathetic air that had been lacking. You understand why she’s taking the actions she does, even if you find them misguided.
This is the second film I’ve seen from genre director Richard Griffin in a month, and like Atomic Brain Invasion, Griffin displays a remarkable knack for recreating the era of movie making he’s paying homage to here. That said, the two films are wildly different in tone, with Brain Invasion playing out as family friendly fare for those of us that got bitten by the horror bug while glued to the boob tube watching Creature Double Feature, and The Disco Exorcist recreates the seedy, cum-filled low budget gore fests that would fit nicely on a triple bill on 42nd street.
Considering the micro budgets Griffin puts his films together with, it’s pretty remarkable how Disco replicates the look and feel of the late seventies disco scene. From the unfortunate fashions and set dressings, to the washed out and scratchy film appearance, the film stock appears filtered through old Polaroids from that era. It’s no small feat, as I’m constantly sent period films where modern trappings from smart phones to laptops to late model cars find their way on screen.
Going through my Netflix queue, I noticed a second disco themed movie from Griffin, the 2007 film Splatter Disco (featuring George’s Intervention’s Lynn Lowry. I love this woman). I’m going to have to bump that film up in my queue and cross my fingers that Griffin’s got a third “Disco” themed film up his sleeve. In the meantime, Disco Exorcist is a sleazy good time, even if you want to make sure the disc is far far far away from the DVD drawer before the kids get home from school.
Please note: Scorpio films is hosting a presale on a limited number of The Disco Exorcist DVD's. One hundred autographed copies are on sale for $25 until April 25th. Follow this link for your copy