Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Disco Exorcist (2011)

Directed by Richard Griffin
Starring Michael Reed, Sarah Nicklin, Ruth Sullivan

"Get Down. To Hell!"

It's the 70's. A skinny creep in a wig named Rex (Michael Reed) meets a crazy-eyed redhead named Rita (Ruth Sullivan) at the disco. They have a fling, but the next night, Rex dances with his favorite porn star, Amoreena Jones (Sarah Nicklin), causing Rita to flip the fuck out and lay a whammy on both of ‘em.

The next day, Rex is enlisted into Amoreena’s latest skinflick, and halfway through the proceedings, Amoreena and the twin topless rollergirls are possessed by demons. They murder the entire crew. Rex escapes with Amoreena and, as they slither around the disco underworld, they search for a cure for her affliction. They need…you guessed it, a disco exorcist.

Directed by Richard Griffin (Nun of That), Disco Exorcist is another retro-grindhouse flick, complete with the scratched-film filter, the “missing reels” inserts, the brutal jumpcuts, etc, all of it tossed into the mix in a vain attempt to make it look like something it is not, AKA micro-budgeted and shot-on-video. Every 70’s cliché you can think of is jammed into every frame, from polyester to beaded curtains, lava lamps to Quaalude references, discos to porn theaters, Satanists to orgies. Of course, not everything that happened in the 70’s happened at the same time, like they inevitably do in these throwback opuses, but you gotta give it to Griff, he broke the bank on the goddamn thrift store knick-knacks. Still, on this level (sub-basement), it’s almost impossible to convincingly portray the ugly splendor of 70’s America (the visionary Viva notwithstanding), and all the retro-trappings on display here are really just distractions. He could’ve easily set this story up in the present, and it would have worked just fine. That being said, there’s tons of bared-boobs, blood spurting everywhere, a few seriously kooky set-ups (the climactic, occult-tinged orgy is pretty inspired), and the cast are all on full-throttle. It’s definitely not the 70’s – or even a reasonably facsimile thereof – but it is a groovy, goofy good time.

- Ken McIntyre

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