Discopath aka Discopathe is the first feature film from director Renaud Gauthier who previously directed the 2009 French-Canadian tv mini-series Inspector Bronco. It was filmed in Quebec and features an all Canadian cast who are either up and coming actors or have worked for years mainly in Canada.
Its 1976 and Duane Lewis (Jereme Earp-Lavergne) is working a dead end job in a diner in New York. When a gang walks into the diner with a ghettoblaster pumping out disco beats its clear to see that Duane is distressed and in a trance-like state from the music. This distraction almost causes him to burn the place down so he gets fired. Later on he meets rollergirl Valerie at a skate park and when the two connect she brings him back to her place and then invites him to her favourite club 7th Heaven. Hesitant at first, Duane eventually agrees to go after Valerie gives him a loan of her father's old suit which looks like it was stolen from Travolta'sSaturday Night Fever wardrobe. To be honest, with an ass like Valerie's it wouldn't have taken much to convince me to follow her anywhere... The following morning Duane wakes up in an abandoned warehouse covered in blood and with a severed hand in his pocket. While the police are examining the crime scene at 7th Heaven, Duane is making a run for the airport where he jumps on the first flight to Montreal. During the flight Duane dozes off and dreams about what actually happened to Valerie at 7th Heaven and he also dreams back to his childhood where we witness the traumatic event that causes him to go psycho whenever he hears disco music. (Keep an eye out for a cameo by director Renaud Gauthier as Duane's father)
Some time later in Montreal, Duane is now incognito in an all-girl private boarding school under the guise of Martin the deaf and dumb caretaker. Seems like a good plan at first except the school is full of disco loving dirty little schoolgirls. So on a weekend break when all the students should be gone home Caro and Mel decide to secretly stay so they can hang out in their room listening to disco music and get it on with each other. Assuming that the school would be empty the two teachers that are supposed to be keeping watch Mireille and Francine go out on the town so there's no one in the school but Martin (aka Duane) and the two students, when he hears their music from down the hall the discopath within him is unleashed once again. When Mireille returns to the school the next day she finds the police already there examining the crime scene and wondering where the fuck are the two girls' heads. When one of the cops finds a hearing aid outside the bedroom all fingers point towards Martin who cant be found anywhere. Martin is busy with the other teacher Francine who he now has tied up in his secret dungeon. Also in his dungeon he also has a pair or turntables so he can rock out with his cock out to disco music and go as psycho as he bloody well likes, torturing Francine and playing with the severed heads of the two students. A few days later when things at the school seem to be going back to normal Martin returns again for another mini-massacre, this time hunting Mireille and taking out the few cops that try to stop him. When one of the cops from New York on the 7th Heaven murder case hears about the Montreal murders he travels north and then he and the cops there devise a plan to draw the killer out of hiding - by playing loud disco music at the funeral of his victims. Their plan doesn't work out too well and it ends in a big chase scene to the sound of the disco classic "I Was Made For Loving You" which I'm sure will be stuck in your head for days, or until the credits are finished at least.
As a massive fan of horror, Canuxploitation(Google it) and neo-grindhouse I'm surprised I hadn't heard of Discopath(e) until today. And with a title like that I expected it to be more of a horror-comedy with a grindhouse feel like recent Canadian hits such as Hobo With A Shotgun and Father's Day but Discopath had a slightly more serious tone and was more of a straight-up slasher. At times throughout the movie I didn't know if the actors were acting seriously in an ironic way to make it comedic or not, but for me that was part of the charm of the grindhouse films of the 70s and 80s - most of them didn't take themselves too seriously and when they did it was fucking hilarious, not including all the rape and revenge flicks of course. Discopath is far from the seriousness of Death Wish or I Spit On Your Grave but it does have that gritty look about it similar to 42nd Street classics like Maniac, Maniac Cop or Don't Go In The House. I expected a bit more gore but I do admit the blood and guts in it was impressive, and it featured the best use of vinyl in a horror movie since Shaun Of The Dead. I thought the movie was definitely original and and a nice new change to the tired old slasher genre. I'm still not sure if I liked the ending or not, I suppose another viewing will help me decide. As the movie jumps from New York to Montreal so does the language therefore half the film is spoken in English and the other half in French. People who are too lazy to read don't care for subtitled films might not like this but that's their tough shit. I wouldn't hold my breathe waiting for an American remake but these days who knows.....