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Discopathe (2013)



The mid-70's: a timid young New Yorker leads an uneventful life until he is fatefully exposed to the pulsating rhythms of a brand-new genre of music: disco. Unable to control his murderous impulses that stem from a traumatic childhood experience, Duane Lewis transforms into a dangerous serial killer exiled to Montreal.




Review

Writer / director Renaud Gauthier (debut) puts his heart and soul into bonkers weird, yet strangely watchable crime horror, Discopathe. The first striking element of the film is the care and attention that has gone into making the film look 70's. And not only is it set dressed to impress, the feel of it is of the period as well. It feels like a film made in the decade. Which for such a low budget production is phenomenal.

The story is fairly simple in execution, Duane turns into a serial killer, triggered by disco music. Yes. Anyway, his first foray onto the screen is him getting fired, meeting a roller-girl, and then going on a date to a disco. Um, yeah. After becoming a wanted man, he flees to Canada, where he lays low, until another rampage, where he ends up pursued by both US and Canadian police.

Keeping in the aesthetic of the era the effects are all practical and bloody, and awesome they are too. With plenty of gore and sleezeploitation on show, the effects are reminiscent of the early work of gore effects maestro Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead).




Pulling the lead as deranged Duane is Jérémie Earp-Lavergne (Le jeu). He's pretty solid in the role, although the exploitation aspect of the film means he's given little to work with, as all backstory is done through exposition and flashback. He basically moods around sulkily, and waves decapitated heads around while naked.

And he's surprisingly good at it.

The vast amount of acting is done by the officers in charge of the case in both the US and Canada, with the cast having odd likenesses to other actors. Ivan Freud (Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter) channels Nic Cage throughout, which made me want that. Everyone involved is clearly having a good time though, and the film is all the better for it.

In true 70's exploitation fashion, pretty much all roles outside of cops and villains are taken up by attractive young victims, with little purpose on screen other than to die at a pre-disposed time.

While the script is a little clumsy in places, attention to detail is met in so many other places there is little to quibble about. It's a fun exploitation flick about a serial killer with a weird trigger. It also has a killer soundtrack, oddly including KISS.

A must for fans of 70's horror and exploitation flicks.





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