Shock-O-Rama Cinema // 2008 // 85 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 25th, 2008
All singing. All dancing. All dead.
From Shock-o-Rama, the studio known for low-budget horror, comes a unique spin on the genre -- splatter plus comedy plus the occasional musical number.
The nightclub Den o' Iniquity is under fire from Puritanical watchdogs. Its hapless owner Kent Chubb (Trent Haaga) is being forced by the mayor and city council to shut down the club, which has become a central hangout for all manner of freak and fetishist. Desperate, he turns to his father (Ken Foree) for help and -- well, all those scenes are pointless.
Meanwhile, a crazed killer is running around the club killing off attendees, stressing out Kent even more. There's also a guy named Echo who repeats the last few words of anything that's said to him and his new girlfriend and they play some role in all of this. There's singing, too.
Too bad. This one had some potential. A splatter movie musical comedy? I'm down. Splatter Disco seriously under-delivers though, damning it forevermore to the Abyss of Forgotten Low-Budget Excursions.
The gore factor is surprisingly limited. As uneven as these Shock-o-Rama releases tend to be, at the every least they can be depended upon for some copious, if shakily executed bloodshed. Not much happening here. A couple of fake heads get cleaved, some hapless sucker is impaled with a meat hook and that's about all I can recall. So as far the "Splatter" in the title, don't get your hopes up.
The ballyhooed musical numbers are also under-represented. The highlight is a big song about love and I was shocked to discover how catchy it was. Plus it's belted out by a bunch of people in woodland creature costumes. It's downhill after that, with only a few more songs, none of which are memorable.
As limited as those aspects may be, the truly crippling element of Splatter Disco is its story, an undisciplined, poorly paced, sloppily written affair. There's a romantic entanglement involving that Echo kid (whose repeat gimmick is viciously annoying) and some other girl and then that Trent Chubb guy and his wife (Debbie Rochon who disrobes and that's the sum total of interesting things she does) and Trent Chubb and his father in agonizingly long dialogue scenes that go nowhere. Then some of these people end up in prison and the killer is revealed very early on so there's no suspense there. As rambling as that synopsis is, it doesn't compare to the confused narrative of Splatter Disco.
Worse, the film isn't nearly as funny as it should be. It's got a few clever moments, but whenever those extended father-son exchanges take to the screen, it's comedy death and the momentum dies.
There are, however, nipples.
Anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen and 2.0 stereo for the technical specs -- both of which are decent but nothing remarkable. Extras include deleted scenes, a making-of commentary and a noisy feature commentary with director Richard Griffin and his cast.
A potentially cool idea is wasted on a sloppy, mediocre effort.
Not Guilty. Disco is dead.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shock-O-Rama Cinema
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Alternate Scenes