M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Moving on to Year Four of my year-long Retro-Best in Horror I’m recapping the Countdown beginning officially on October 1, 2013 and going through September 30, 2014. I have posted compilation lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around, and even adding a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!
How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st, 2013 and September 30, 2014 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number—31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!
Released on June 10, 2014. Available on digital download, On Demand, and DVD/Blu-ray!
Directed by Renaud Gauthier, Marie-Claire Lalonde
Written by Renaud Gauthier
Starring Jérémie Earp-Lavergne, Catherine Antaki, François Aubin, Sandrine Bisson, Nancy Blais, Catherine Castellucci, Katherine Cleland, Ivan Freud, Sibylle Gauthier, Francesca Gosselin, Nicolas Laliberté, Pierre Lenoir, Mathieu Lepage, Christian Paul
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Holy cow, I loved this film!
Set in 1976, DISCOPATH opens with an homage to the New York we have grown accustomed to from SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and Scorcese’s films of that era, with a Brooklyn boy working in a pizza shop being distracted by a gaggle of kids who walk in with disco music playing on their radio. When he is fired for lazing on the job, he skips over to the local roller park and meets a sweet gal. The film feels like it’s going to be one of those quirky slice of lifers set in a specific era, but soon derails into one of the most entertaining serial killer films I’ve seen in ages.
Much like SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, where the lead character is triggered by modern events with ties to deep-seeded psychosis from his past, DISCOPATH substitutes Santa with disco music with similar results. While the reasons for the killer’s derangement are revealed midway in the film, it’s pretty evident early on that Duane Lewis (Jérémie Earp-Lavergne) is pretty nuts from minute one and the level of goofy serial killer mayhem reaches comically monumental levels by the film’s end.
Jérémie Earp-Lavergne looks like a slightly less wooden Hayden Christensen and has a lot of his mannerisms, which actually add to the creepiness of the character. His reactions to the disco beats are sometimes comical (such as donning a nun’s costume in order to hide out) and sometimes unbelievably disturbing, as he is shown later in the film dancing in his secret lair nude and covered in blood with two severed heads. There’s also a subtle and creepy effect used here as Lewis’ eyes become completely dilated, causing his eyes to look completely black in times he goes on his super serial killer rampages.
DISCOPATH feels like a true throwback to the 80’s when horror was simpler and all it took was some childhood trauma to push a guy to murder some folks. The unconventional narrative switches gears midway as Lewis flees to Canada after his first spree and the time jumps four years to 1980, when Lewis is pushed over the edge again. As if the locale and time shifts weren’t jarring enough, the film all of a sudden is subtitled in French for the latter half. But while I might fault some films for this shift in tone, locale, and even era, it adds to DISCOPATH’s charm like a thickly cloud of cheap cologne on a crowded dance floor.
What I love about this film is the reckless abandon that occurs in terms of gore. It isn’t enough that Lewis stabs a woman in the wrist with a knife. He later rips the hand clean off. A beheading is too boring in and of itself; it’s better to desecrate the bodies and shove multiple records into the torsos. And the scene where Lewis rams a hearse and the dead body topples out of it is going to put you through the roof. It did so for me, especially when the slo-mo shot makes sure to highlight some mysterious blood coming from the corpse’s crotch…I really had no words.
This film with satisfy retro-freaks and gore hounds, and pretty much anyone who loves the over the top takes on slashers that went on in the eighties. Rhyme and reason are thrown out as this simple-minded serial killer goes on a simple-minded rampage with genius results. Those of you who wish they could go back in time and destroy the Disco Era now have a serial killer to idolize. Set to all sorts of painfully awesome disco music (especially an inspired use of the song “I Was Made For Loving You, Baby”), DISCOPATH is fun from kooky start to its absolutely batshit finish.
THE 2013-2014 COUNTDOWN!
#30 – DISCOPATH
#31 – SATURDAY MORNING MYSTERY
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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