It goes without saying that a film with such a title, sporting the tagline “Get down… to Hell”, pretty much demands an immediate viewing irrespective of the quality of the film you’re about to be faced with, thus perfectly echoing the appeal of the Grindhouse genre. Made for the meagre sum of $20,000, this is another entry into the canon of neo-Grindhouse movies that have been a breath of fresh air into the genre. Beginning with the ubiquitous Grindhouse from Tarantino and Rodriguez, we’ve since been spoiled with such classics as Hobo with a Shotgun, Machete and Dear God No (also on the Monster label).
For The Disco Exorcist, we begin with the canny disclaimer that “the producers have no memory of the making of this motion picture” before the sleaze-fest begins in all its scratchy printed glory. In an establishing sequence that takes place in a seedy lap dancing bar, a patron seems to fall under the spell of witchcraft before the action moves swiftly to ‘our hero’. That man in question is Rex Romanski (Michael Reed) who we discover to be the epitome of a playboy as he lounges in his apartment surrounded by two buxom ladies. They engage in some nose candy before Rex and his undeniable charm lures them both into bed.
Time waits for no man though and it’s not long before Rex hears that dance floor calling, and he’s off to strut his stuff in some bell bottomed slacks. He’s well known in the club, both by the DJ as being the king of pulling some fine shapes in the disco, and by the girls that have fallen foul of his lothario ways. It’s not long before he’s used his magic charm once more on a girl called Rita (Ruth Sullivan), and those lava lamps are fired up and there’s further activity beneath some leopard print sheets.
Rex finds it tough to be a one girl guy though –as you might have guessed, and the appearance of famed porn star Amoreena (Sarah Nicklin) finds his head soon turned and they’re off for some uninhibited shenanigans as only people in the 70s knew how to do. Unbeknown to Rex though, Rita worships the dark side and she’s about to get revenge on being dumped by unleashing holy hell upon unsuspecting Rex Romanski.
Grindhouse movies from the 70s are always fun to watch, but even the hardened genre fan will admit that there’s a lot of them that are a real chore to get through. That makes recreating this niche quite the challenge, as you not only have to make it look authentic but there’s also the pressure to buck the trend and make it interesting and fun too. I’m pleased to say that The Disco Exorcist succeeds brilliantly. Not only is this a faithful ode to the Grindhouse movie with great sets, an awesome soundtrack and some right on print damage, but it succeeds in being funny and horrific to boot.
Michael Reed as Rex is perfect in the lead role as he oozes likability and charisma (and a lot else through the course of the movie – lucky guy). Special mention too to the horror aspect, as when it comes into play in the final third, the gore and make-up effects are handled superbly and belie the films limited budget. Richard Griffin has made a slew of films in his short career, and I can only hope that more find their way over here if The Disco Exorcist is anything to go by – which in turn leads to the relevant praise for Monster Pictures. Ever since their incarnation this company has put out a relentless eclectic mix of films, all drool inducing to us genre fans, so a tip of the hat to those guys and long may they continue.
7 out of 10
• Commentary with director Richard Griffin, producer Ted Marr, and actors Michael Reed and Sarah Nicklin
• Green band trailer
• Red band trailer
• Deleted scene
• Also available from Monster Pictures