Murder Rock

Murder Rock

"She's dead. It's no big deal. But we can't stop dancing."

The competition is fierce among the graduate students at a prestigious New York dance academy, but when only three parts open up on an upcoming Broadway show, someone turns to murder to narrow the field, stabbing the dancers through the heart with jeweled hat pins. Meanwhile, dance teacher Candice Norman (Olga Karlatos) is having nightmares of being murdered by a man – a man she has never seen before. When she finds him in real life, he turns out to be George Webb (Ray Lovelock), a sad, under-employed actor with a shady past. Could he be the killer? Or maybe it's Candice's estranged, jealous husband, Dick (Claudio Cassinelli) or frustrated choreographer Margie (Geretta Geretta). Corps du ballet? More like Corpse du ballet!

I can just imagine Lucio Fulci watching Flashdance and saying to himself "You know what this could use? About five or six murder scenes."  The result is Murder Rock, which brazenly copies not only Flashdance, but also Fame and When a Stranger Calls, among other movies. Who can blame him for wanting to capitalize on a phenomenon? The result is a crazy mishmash that could only have come from Lucio Fulci. The man was never known for restraint, after all.  But just because the movie is a derivative mess and doesn't make any sense doesn't mean that it isn't wildly entertaining.

  • Keith Emerson (of Emerson Lake & Palmer) composed the songs and the synth-based score.
  • Janice (Carla Buzzanca) must be a steel town girl on a Saturday night, because she performs a solo spotlight dance at a nightclub that copies directly from Flashdance. They spray her down with water. She does the trademark running-in-place move. She does the whipping-her-hair-back-and-forth move. I just wish the music were half as good as "Maniac."
  • Candice's nightmare sequence, where she is being chased in slow motion down the wide hallway of a modern building by a hat pin-wielding George is clearly an homage to the dream sequence from The Red Queen Kills Seven Times.
  • To rally the dancers after the first murder, Candice gives them a variation on Debbie Allen's famous "This is where you start paying" speech from Fame.
  • If you're a horror fan, you may recognize Olga Karlatos from Lucio Fulci's Zombie. Or if you're a child of the 80's you may recognize her as Prince's mother in Purple Rain, which was released the same year as Murder Rock.
  • Fulci appears in a cameo as Candice's agent.
What the Hell Am I Watching?

Where to start? How about at the opening credits, when we see shots of the New York skyline inter-cut with some kids doing rhythmless disco-breakdance pop-and-lock moves. Enjoy it because we never see those kids again.

The choreography is simply awful and consists almost entirely of high kicks, squats, pelvic thrusts, and jazz hands. But everyone treats it like it's a work of genius. Rule number one: you gotta sell it.

Does anyone else think it's weird that Candice, an American who lives in New York, carries her American passport around with her wherever she goes?

What kind of Chinese restaurant fortune teller flat out calls someone a murderer to his face? And where did he get those fortune telling chopsticks that even have that as an option?

Newsflash: the human heart is not located in the left bewb. Aim that needle a little higher, murderer.

In my favorite scene, Margie tries to kill Candice in the same manner as the murderer, but doesn't have the guts to follow through. Dick stops her just in time... and then nothing happens. I mean, Margie had chloroformed Candice and was discovered by a credible witness, kneeling over her unconscious body with a needle to the chest. Margie clearly had intent to kill. That's attempted murder right there and she just gets to walk free.

Fashion Moment

Let's have a look at those dance costumes. Pure 1980's.

Also, let me just throw this out there...

What? Doesn't everyone wear a bulky ankle-length fur coat when they're bicycling down the streets of New York?

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