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John’s Horror Corner: Murder-Rock: Dancing Death (1984; aka Murderock – Uccide a passo di danza), Lucio Fulci’s giallo, crime thriller, dance movie.

January 2, 2023

MY CALL: Almost as much a “dance movie” as it is a giallo-ish crime thriller, this was an enjoyable change of pace after Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy. Sure, I love gore whereas this has but some blood. Yet this was intriguing and had intense kills in its own unique way. MORE MOVIES LIKE Murder-Rock: If you just want to stay in the realm of dance horror, consider Suspiria (1977), the Suspiria (2018) remake, Black Swan (2010) and Aerobicide (1987).

Okay, wow. So right out of the gates—so many long, surprisingly inspired and elaborate dance numbers with incredibly lively music. From Breakin’-inspired (1984) pop-and-lock to ballet-contemporary and straight-up Flashdance-y (1983) provocative. Cameras wander to gyrating hips and other delicate bits. But make no mistake. This movie features some major dance routines!

With a major show coming up soon and a big competitive cut to be made to whittle down the over-worked dance students, recent murders beg the question of whether the killer isn’t one of the students trying to ensure her rise to stardom. With time, more are murdered in the same very specific manner, but the authorities seem no closer to identifying the killer. Between the murders and the unfair competitive pressure being placed on the students, the head dance instructor (Geretta Geretta; Demons, Shocking Dark) and school mistress Candice (Olga Karlatos;In Hell, Zombie) are placed at odds.

In proper giallo form, our killer POV shows his extended, gloved hand as he chloroforms his dance student victim and slowly punctures her breast and ribs through to her lung with an ornate hair needle. For so little blood during this almost peaceful murder, it actually struck me as very tense and graphic.

I watched this expecting the kind of movie that might transition horror between Suspiria (1977) and Aerobicide (1987)—not the case. The horror is quite soft in this film, which is more of a crime thriller in nature. But as a crime thriller, it’s decent. Just don’t come into this thinking you’re getting a wildly gory Lucio Fulci (Zombie, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, The House by the Cemetery) movie.

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