Original Title: The Disco Exorcist
2011 – U.S.A.
Genre: Tribute to the 70s
Director: Richard Griffin
Music: Daniel Hildreth
Screenplay: Tony Nunes
With Michael Reed, Sarah Nicklin, Ruth Sullivan, Rich Tretheway, Bernard Larrivee Jr., Gio Castellano and Alexander Lewis
Story: Suave swinger and womanizer Rex Romanski loves and leaves evil black magic priestess Rita Marie. Naturally, Rex incurs Rita’s lethal wrath by spurning her. Can Rex figure out a way to stop Rita’s subsequent rampage of revenge, murder, and destruction as well as reclaim the soul of his new porn starlet gal Amoreena Jones before it’s too late?
After a great tribute to exploitation cinema with his nuns with guns in the very funny Nun of That in 2008, Richard Griffin comes back in 2011 with another tribute: The Disco Exorcist. And this time, it’s about voodoo magic, all in a disco mood straight from the 70s. We find the same team both on front and behind the camera, with Ted Marr at the production, Richard Griffin directing, Michael Reed, Sarah Nicklin and Ruth Sullivan in the cast. Does this tribute still works despite a lower budget (around $20K)? The tribute works, but I guess exploitation sex films are not my thing. Nun of That was a wisely mix of gore, funny situation, crazy characters, a small naughty side (a lesbian scene), humor (which we like or not). The Disco Exorcist does a choice to move towards some aspect and to leave some on the side. First, it’s the 70s atmosphere which is highlighted. Colorful lighting, some shots in Super 8, grain and scratches on the film, the costumes, the hairstyles. It works, and the dance scenes we could expect are finally just a few. In a true grindhouse aspect, the film even has two missing reels.
This is a really nice thing. What about the rest, the humor, the gore, the sex? The film begins with a very nice gore scenes, then abandoned the horror a little to focus on something else: sex. The humor is still here and sometimes works very well (« You have some biiiiiig disco balls »), and it makes sense with a guy dating every girl around and a porn star in the leading roles, but maybe there is a little too much sex in this feature. Or it’s simply a tribute to some films I’m not used to watch, because hey, who doesn’t like sex on film? Let’s be clear, these scenes are not unpleasant, far from it, and Richard Griffin still delivers a great directing, besides having very little recourse to CGI (a little near the end), but it sometimes feels to me that scenes last too long and stop the story to evolve. A very simple story : a revenge using voodoo. And despite the small budget, as soon as horror comes in, Richard Griffin has fun and squirts blood as it should be, the XXL way.
Even if finally, those scenes are pretty rare, but they are damn fun. At times, we could think we’re back at the time when the first Evil Dead was released, where women became owned by some demons and killed the rest of the cast. It cuts, it squirts, it jeeps the typical 70s fun spirit, and we want more. Also, in addition to this very Evil Dead aspect, we can notice a tribute to Lucio Fulci when Ruth Sullivan is in a misty forest in front of a gravestone, with the same words as in City of the Living Dead. The Disco Exorcist, yeah it isn’t perfect, or it was simply less my thing, but I had a good time watching a generous film made by a man who knows his classics and wants to target a specific audience, and of course have fun. Certainly, there is sometimes a little too much sex, slowing the overall pace, but in the sense that it is done to honor the 70s porn, there is nothing to blame here!
A nice tribute to the 70s
Sex and blood
A few very nice jokes
Lots of homages
Maybe too much sex (what’s happening to me??)
Finally, not that much blood
So: Maybe the mix isn’t as well as in Nun of That, the Disco Exorcist focuses mainly on its 70s look and sex. Nevertheless, it remains fun and when the horror is here, it’s nice!