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(aka "Murderock - uccide a passo di danza" or "Murder Rock - Dancing Death" or "Slashdance" or "The Demon is Loose" )

 

directed by Lucio Fulci
Italy 1984

 

The top dancers of the New York "Arts for Living Center" have more to worry about than a choreographer who seems to have wandered out of FAME and competition for a starring roll in a Broadway show when someone starts offing the competition. Everyone's a suspect. Is it driven choreographer Candice (Olga Karlatos of Fulci's ZOMBIE), womanizing school director Dick Gibson (the late Claudio Cassinelli of ISLAND OF THE FISHMEN), trainer Margie (Geretta Geretta of Lamberto Bava's DEMONS), or one of the neurotic students? Or could it be handsome George Webb (Ray Lovelock, OASIS OF FEAR) who has been stalking Candice's dreams threatening her with a hatpin) and has recently also appeared in-the-flesh to possibly menace Candice. Laconic Detective Borges (Cosimo Cinieri aka Lawrence Welles of NEW YORK RIPPER and MANHATTAN BABY) is on the case. Also stars Christian Borromeo (TENEBRAE), Roberto Gligorov (STAGE FRIGHT), Giovanni Di Nava (THE BEYOND), Al Cliver (ZOMBIE), and Silvia Collatina (HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY). Although shot in 1984, the film did not make its US theatrical release until 1990 (reported in an early issue of Video Watchdog) in mono prints under the misleading title THE DEMON IS LOOSE. Fulci himself likened his follow-up to NEW YORK RIPPER (scriped by the same co-scenarists) to an "American television film." The film concludes with an epigraph quoting John Huston's adaptation of THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, “often crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavor,” that is actually quite appropriate given the similar motives of the killers of MURDER ROCK and NEW YORK RIPPER and the environment which created them (that said, even the lyrics of the cheesy Keith Emerson-composed vocal numbers actually possess some thematic resonance below the immediate surface which may be difficult to penetrate given Giuseppe Pinori's cinematography which effortlessly conjures up the look of FLASHDANCE - the film's alternate title is SLASHDANCE). The script does drag in bits and there are some ridiculous clues but there is also some diverting plotting that keeps the identity of the killer a mystery until quite late in the film. While there is a fair amount of nudity, the result does have the look and feel of an early eighties TV thriller with better production values and the usual awkward English dialogue of Italian films. The gore is dialed down after the slashed throats, sliced eyeballs, and gutted abdomens of NEW YORK RIPPER (not unlike the reduced blood-letting of Fulci's otherwise-atmospheric EXORCIST-clone MANHATTAN BABY shot at the same time as RIPPER). Longtime Fulci collaborator Vincenzo Tomassi's manic editing is more suited to the dance and murder set-pieces of this film than to some of the scenes in Fulci's gothic horror outings. Keith Emerson's disco score is neither his best film score nor his best Italian horror film score but strangely entertaining all the same (it's the NIGHTHAWKS of his Italian work). If you don't go in expecting a Fulci-style bloodbath, you'll find the film a nice little late giallo effort.

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: April 1990 (USA)

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DVD Review: Media Blasters/Shriek Show - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Media Blasters/Shriek Show

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:32:51
Video

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.3 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Media Blasters/Shriek Show

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 1:
• Audio commentary by cinematographer Giuseppe Pinori, moderated by journalist Federico Caddeo (in Ita
• German DVD Trailer (4:3; 2:32)
• Trailers for SHADOW: DEAD RIOT (4:3; 2:30), ZOMBIE 2 (16:9; 3:34), THE BEING (4:3; 1:28), and WITCHE
• DISC 2:
• TEMPUS FUGIT - an inside look at Lucio Fulci (16:9; 28:01 - English subtitles)
• Portrait of cinematogrpaher Giuseppe Pinori (16:9; 14:08 - English subtitles)
• Still Gallery
• Portrait of actor Ray Lovelock (16:9; 14:33 - English subtitles)
• Ray Lovelock on Lucio Fulci's MURDER ROCK (16:9; 21:38 - English subtitles)
• Lucio Fulci Trailer Reel featuring HOUSE OF CLOCKS, SWEET HOUSE OF HORRORS, LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S
• SKIN, TOUCH OF DEATH, ZOMBIE 3, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, and ZOMBIE 2

DVD Release Date: July 11, 2006
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Shriek Show/Media Blasters' 2 disc edition of MURDER ROCK affords the main feature a high-bitrate, progressive, and anamorphic transfer. The film looked overly soft on VHS (partially intentional, the lens flare during some backlit scenes - which always looked soft on tape - was always part of the cinematography as well as the FLASHDANCE/FAME-inspired look) and the DVD format is mostly up to handling the film's look (you can make out the pores in faces even in medium shots as well as the beads of sweat and mist during the dance scenes). It may be the best looking Fulci title on SD-DVD. The English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track has more presence than the Italian 2.0 track (which some sources list as being in mono).

Although the case lists English subtitles, they are for the commentary track and not the Italian mono track. Disc 1 is rounded out by the German DVD trailer and four other Shriek Show trailers. Disc 2 features a documentary on director Fulci, interviews with cinematographer Pinori and actor Lovelock (who also appears in the Fulci documentary), and lastly a photo gallery. There exists a German DVD but the English, Italian, and German audio tracks are listed as mono and includes among its extras a 14 second deleted scene, the German trailer reproduced on the US disc, and a "soundtrack sample" running 2 minutes (the complete soundtrack has been issued in Italy and Japan more than once on LP and CD; most recently in an expanded CD release from Cinevox).

  - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Media Blasters/Shriek Show

Region 1 - NTSC

 

 




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