Sunday, October 2, 2022

#2,825. Murder-Rock (1984)


Lucio Fulci’s Murder-Rock is a well-shot murder mystery that features several interesting twists. Unfortunately, a few sub-par dance routines are also thrown into the mix, making this 1984 giallo something of a dated oddity.

Candice Norman (Olga Karlatos) runs the Arts for the Living Center, a prestigious dance academy in the heart of New York City. With the help of her choreographer Margie (Geretta Marie Fields), Candice pushes her dancers to succeed at all costs, and her quest for perfection pays off when several talent scouts decide to pay the academy a visit.

Unfortunately, it’s around this same time that some of the studio’s best dancers turn up dead, all stabbed through the heart with a long hairpin needle. Police Lt. Borgas (Cosimo Cinieri) launches an investigation into these killings, and believes the murderer is someone closely associated with the dance studio.

Candice, however, thinks the killer might be someone else entirely: a man who has been haunting her dreams. To her surprise, she sees this same man on a billboard and manages to track him down. His name is George Webb (Ray Lovelock), and despite her initial fears, Candice soon finds herself falling in love with this mysterious model. But is George the killer, or is it someone else entirely?

As a giallo, Murder-Rock is more "hit" than "miss". The first victim, Susan (Angela Lemerman), is killed in the locker room late one night, and while the murder isn’t particularly violent by Fulci’s standards, it’s disturbing nonetheless. Murder-Rock also features some great cinematography; the film was shot on-location in New York, showing the city in the dead of winter and giving it a life of its own, and the scene where the police are wheeling Susan’s body out of the studio is particularly memorable (cinematographer Guiseppe Pinoni attached the camera to the gurney, so that we can see the faces of all of the victim’s friends and associates, who are crying as her body passes them).

Like most giallos, Fulci fills Murder-Rock with potential killers, and shifts the focus from one to the other as the story progresses, with Lovelock’s George as the central suspect. As for the film’s ultimate reveal, it proved not only intriguing but also managed to catch me completely off-guard!

Alas, Murder-Rock also features some dance routines, which have a decent energy (some of them anyway), but more often than not slow down the pace of the film. And with many of these numbers clearly influenced by Flashdance (right down to the music written by Keith Emerson and performed by Doreen Chanter), they also date the movie badly.

My recommendation: watch Murder-Rock for the giallo, and fast forward through the dancing.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

No comments: