It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Richard Griffin and the Scorpio Film Releasing crew up in here. We posted one of the first reviews of Beyond The Dunwich Horror to hit the web and we broke the news of Creature From The Hillbilly Lagoon 2. There’s a very good reason for our enthusiasm, too. Richard makes very good movies on very small budgets. Back when I was a kid, I was too late for the theatrical horror wave but just in time for the video store phenomenon where five bucks occupied an evening with more blood and boobs than I wanted my mother to know about. Once we had run through the paces of all the high profile horror movies that we had been dying to see for so long, we got to the obscure stuff and hit the direct to video arena where the real low budget gold lived.
Most low budget direct to video flicks were trash out to make the most money on the least amount spent and it often showed but there was a goldmine there and I was inspired by these trashy movies. A large part of me still has this filmmaker fantasy and as an adult I can definitively point to movies like Evil Dead, Deadbeat At Dawn and the recent Bone Sickness as examples of resourceful low budget filmmaking that wins because even though it looks cheap, it also looks like it was a lot of fun to make and the people involve seem to be having a great time. This is a valuable trait for any movie to have. Griffin represents that in every fashion possible and I find absurd quantities of the laugh laugh in Splatter Disco. I might even place it on my best of 2008 list.
Kent Chubb runs Den O’ Iniquity, a fetish club located in the blackest heart of conservative Massachussetts (it’s actually a blue state). There, furries yiff, a dude rolled up in a carpet is frequently walked on, much to his ecstasy, people are whipped, music plays and alcohol is served. It’s your fairly standard horror movie representation of just such a club. A pair of furry lovers are admired from the distance by a wimpy guy with echolalia. The bouncer spends much time patting down beefy guys and all manner of perverts make the rounds doing whatever it is that gets them off. At city hall, the moral majority does everything they can to shut the club down, including setting them up for a bust. Shanks Chubb, the club owner is on his death bed and his son isn’t sure if he can run the place on his own. All the while, people are being murdered.
Splatter Disco is many things. It’s a love story, a comedy and a musical but for a movie named Splatter Disco, it’s not particularly splattery. There are more musical numbers than murder scenes and even the kills are a little on the soft side. But that’s okay. The title and poster are just a little misleading. What I got for a movie called Splatter Disco is so much more than I was expecting. Which is to say, not much. I really didn’t know what was coming to me when I signed up for this which makes the end result that much sweeter.
At the beginning of the movie, I was ready to declare Griffin the new Charles Band what with an original soundtrack featuring musical numbers and dance routines. You just don’t see too many people doing that on a shoestring budget. But once the final credits rolled it occurred to me that Griffin isn’t much like Charles Band at all with Splatter Disco. He’s really channelling Lloyd Kaufman and the Troma conventions. There aren’t too many movies outside of Tromaville where a wimpy waif with tourettes syndrome and a girl in a panda suit can find true love in a fetish club surrounded by people in black fishnet clothing. Nor will you ever see a non-Troma movie where a furry takes a dance club hostage in a fursuit with dynamite strapped to his chest. That is, until you see Splatter Disco.
As you might expect, the acting is a little dodgy and the sets can be sparse at times but these are just technical limitations of a film crew working on bread and water a day. Griffin makes the most out of his budget with every shot and the funny and, dare I say, cute script rescues the entire production from any pitfalls it might experience when funds were running short. More often than not, low budget genre comedies like this really reach to be funny and play up the cheap jokes for guaranteed laughs from any retard that might rent the movie but Splatter Disco is fucking hilarious in the same dumb and goofy way. It plays to the cheap seats and nails the funny every time, just don’t go expecting nuanced deliveries and expert timing. Most of the time the gags fall just to the right of a fart joke.
You get local theater performances from most of the cast but the writing of the characters and the shallow stereotyping of many of them makes them an easy sell. What I thought were a bunch of cameos turned out to, in fact, be major roles in the movie by genre favorites Ken Foree, Debbie Rochon and Lynn Lowry. Everybody else is adequate with the exception of Trent Haaga (Kent Chubb) who is front and center and suited for comedy.
Also, keep an eye out for the smoking Providence, RI rockabilly trio, The Fury III (whom I could swear I saw at Pearl Street one time).
Splatter Disco is a retarded good time packed up tight with cheap jokes, funny musical numbers, one of the funniest acid trip scenes in recent memory, great performances from genre veterans; I suppose I could go on and on. The title suggests that it’s something else, entirely, and there is a series of serial murders in the movie but they play such a minor role in the love story of Echo and Danny, the conservatives vs. the perverts and the ultimate fate of the Den O’ Iniquity. Right now the movie is unavailable but come November, Shock-O-Rama will release to follow up the Richard Griffin co-direction project, Necroville (soon to be reviewed here, too) which drops in September.
What the fuck? I might as well go out on a limb and declare Splatter Disco one of the best I’ve seen all year.