Getting its UK premiere at the Frightfest 2013 Halloween all-nighter, DISCOPATH finally gets a UK DVD release courtesy of Metrodome. It's an ultra low budget Canadian horror about a man who goes insane and kills people whenever he hears disco music, and if nothing else, it certainly does what it says on the tin.
It’s 1976 and everyone’s disco crazy, just not as crazy as Duane Lewis. In a French Canadian version of New York, complete with fake accents, he’s invited by his random roller skating girlfriend to get down at the local nightclub. However, scarcely has he put on his three-piece suit and open-neck shirt, than Duane finds himself chasing the girl under the club, where he stabs her to death and leaves her body pressed up against the underside of the glass dance floor.
It’s an excellent sequence, culminating in a very nice shot that suggests great promise from Reynaud Gautier, DISCOPATH’s director. Duane escapes and gets a job as a handyman in a Montreal girls’ school where everyone speaks French (complete with subtitles) and, oh dear, two teenage lovelies decide to put on disco music in their dorm while they indulge in a spot of mid-1970s exploitation groping. Despite Duane’s best efforts to ban disco music from his brain by pretending to be deaf, he’s soon putting an end to their target audience-pleasing antics by hacking off their heads. He also snaps all the seven inch singles in their collection and buries the fragments in their mutilated bodies, just in case anyone hasn’t got the point.
Back in New York, the cop who investigated the original disco killings (played seemingly by Canada's version of Nicolas Cage) reads about the murders and the hunt is on. DISCOPATH is very rough around the edges indeed, but there’s a lot of (hopefully intentional) hilarity and Reynaud Gauthier, who plays Duane’s father in a very giallo-style flashback, is apparently tackling that very genre with his next project. If you fancy visiting a world of chipped glitterballs and severed heads rotating on turntables, all accompanied by disco music, then this is a very fun way to spend 78 minutes.
I'll also make special mention of Bruce Cameron's synthesiser score, which is far more Carpenteresque than other recent film music that has lazily been attributed as such (eg IT FOLLOWS, which is far more original than some critics seem to understand). Several times there's a riff on the reorchestrated chase theme from HALLOWEEN II, but it's definitely a case of homage rather than rip off. Metrodome's disc contains no extras at all, not even a commentary, which is a shame. When I watched it at Frightfest the photography had a pleasingly sleazy grain to the image than gave it an authentic grindhouse feel. Maybe I was just a bit tired (it screened well after midnight) but the DVD version looks much brighter and cleaner than the cinema print.
Metrodome’s DVD may offer us nothing other than the movie, but if you’re a fan of low budget grindhouse disco-inspired slasher horror, then you’re probably going to think you’re in heaven anyway. And I do love those end credits.
Metrodome are releasing DISCOPATH on Region 2 DVD on 4th May 2015