10th Oct2013

31 Days of Horror: ‘The Disco Exorcist’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Michael Reed, Sarah Nicklin, Ruth Sullivan, Alex Aponte, Brandon Luis Aponte, Danielle Gelehrter, Gio Castellano | Written by Tony Nunes | Directed by Richard Griffin


You know exactly what you’re getting into with a film like The Disco Exorcist, especially given that the film opens with a disclaimer that exclaims the producers can’t even remember making the movie! A grindhouse-inspired sexploitation flick the film follows Rex Romanski, a swinger, a womaniser and nightclub dancer. His aim in life is to seduce women and then casually dump them. However one day Rex meets his match in Rita Marie, a conquest who also happens to be a black magic priestess. When he spurns Rita for porn starlet Amoreena Jones, she reigns all hell down on him in a rampage of demonic possession, murder and mayhem.

In all fairness I wasn’t expecting much from this film. I’ve been watching a number of low-budget, faux-grindhouse, shot-on-digital horror movies of late and 99% of them have been thoroughly awful. Thankfully The Disco Exorcist falls into the 1% I have enjoyed. In fact I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than I could have anticipated! I think it’s the fact it seems everyone in front of the camera knows that they’re making a camp classic and run with it… Without ever becoming self-referential or self-indulgent.

If Tony Nunes script avoids the self-conscious dialogue typically found in faux-grindhouse flicks, then Richard Griffin’s direction captures the era of the 1970s perfectly too, making this a real period piece. Of course we have the usual manipulated look of the film – dust specks, scratches, missing reels and all – but the filmmakers also manage to recreate the same look and feel of a true 70s flick, featuring the same cheap sets, naff costumes and wacky hair design as many films actually lensed in the decade that taste forgot.

Yet at the same time you can see that Griffin and co. have put a lot of work into the production design and art direction and those excellent production values even manage to show through even the fake wear and tear of The Disco Exorcist‘s print. But the film is not all about re-creating a particular decade, this is still an exploitation film after all and so the film is peppered with plenty of sex scenes, full-frontal nudity (from both sexes for a change) and some very graphic, very crude, and very 70s-looking gore effects: plenty of stabbings, the odd decapitation and a cringe-making, yet incredibly funny, castration scene! I haven’t seen such cheesy-looking SFX since Carnival of Blood.

Playing like a much more camp version of the Italian The Exorcist knock-offs that did the rounds in the late 70s and early 80s, this is a bloody (literally) fun film, mixing sex, violence and cheese to perfect effect. It won’t be for everyone, but for those horror fans who’ve sat through a myriad of The Exorcist wannabes that all took themselves way too seriously, The Disco Exorcist is a breath of fresh air. Roll on the proposed sequel, The Brother of the Disco Exorcist, I say!

The Disco Exorcist will be released on DVD in the UK by Monster Pictures on October 14th.

***** 5/5


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