DVD REVIEW: DISCOPATH / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: RENAUD GAUTHIER / SCREENPLAY: RENAUD GAUTHIER / STARRING: JEREMIE EARP-LAVERGNE, SANDRINE BISSON, IVAN FREUD, INGRID FALAISE, FRANCOIS AUBIN / RELEASE DATE: MAY 4TH
Here’s a gloriously gory, cheesy and sensational homage to the glory days of 1970s exploitation slasher flicks with a generous helping of Italian giallo thrown in for good measure. Renaud Gauthier’s first full-length feature (hailing from 2013) takes us back to the sizzling summer of 1976 and the rise of bass-heavy disco music. Everyone’s carrying unfeasibly-huge beatboxes and wearing tiny shorts or ludicrous flared loons. But meek burger joint chef Duane Lewis (Earp-Lavergne) doesn’t move to the groove; an unfortunate disco music-related electrocution accident sizzled his father and now just the sound of a bassline or a hi-hat sends Duane into a psychopathic frenzy and turns him into an enraged killer obsessed with decapitation and mutilation - often with the aid of seven-inch singles. Poptastic.
Against all the odds, Discopath is gloriously entertaining stuff. It effortlessly evokes the spirit of the movies it’s merrily homaging from its pleasingly over-the-top plot to its fiercely inventive death sequences. Duane’s first victim is butchered beneath the unsuspecting feet of disco dancers gyrating on a glass dance floor, another is throttled under strobe lighting. Fleeing to Montreal in the wake of his first murder in New York (much of the film is subtitled to reflect its French-speaking Canadian location), Duane masquerades as a deaf handyman in a preparatory school of nubile teenage girls. All is well until four years later when a bout of dormitory disco music sets him off again and he soon notches up his bloodiest kills yet, decapitating and slicing and dicing two young victims. Parallels with the 1976 New York disco killing send Manhattan ’tec Paul Stevens (Freud) to Montreal, where he teams up with local Police to track down Duane before he can kill again. But Duane has already set his sights on a flirty teacher and history repeats itself as he electrocutes the school’s repressed headmistress.
Discopath is clumsily stylish, occasionally in wonderfully bad taste, and generally hilariously over-the-top. The performances are all deliciously ripe (although there’s the sneaking suspicion that Earp-Lavergne’s demented, disturbingly-crazed Duane belongs in a less fanciful movie) and the handful of licensed ‘70s disco tunes (especially Walter Murphy’s disco riff on ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’, sometimes better-remembered as the theme to the campy 1960s superhero series The Green Hornet) set the tone and the scene as deftly as Bruce Cameron’s wobbly synth score. Lovers of old school, blood-drenched slashers will find Discopath irresistible and, at just over seventy minutes (not much longer than the average 1970s extended disco 12-incher) it won’t test the patience of an audience just looking for a well-made, dumb-but-fun killer thriller.
Special features: None
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