The producers of The Disco Exorcist certainly have a love for seventies exploitation films, perhaps too much love. Their dedication to recreating the warp and weft of that genre leads to a little too much self awareness and winking, and not quite enough coherent plot or drama. There's plenty of bared breasts and blood, though, if that's what you're looking for.
Rex Romanski (Michael Reed) is carefree seventies swinger, spending his free hours between sleeping with beautiful women and indulging in narcotics at the disco, dancing the night away. He cares little for the women, spending a few sexy nights with each and then moving on, and most of them grumble about it, but don't really hold a grudge. Until he meets Rita Marie (Ruth Sullivan). Rita, in addition to being touchy about ill treatment by men, is a voodoo priestess of some sort. She and Rex meet on the dance floor, and quickly segue to her bedroom, and it seems as if they are meant to be together forever.
That is, until Rex meets famous porn star Amoreena Jones (Sarah Nicklin, Reed's real life wife) on that same dance floor, and the two fall instantly in love. Rita does not take this well, and curses Amoreena, pulling out a clump of her hair for later use in her diabolical spells. The rest of the film is a succession of sexual encounters, dancing, porn shoots, orgies, and of course blood drenched murder by demon possessed women.
Sex and nudity are ladled out in great, steaming bucketfuls, almost to the point of soft core pornography, though curiously Amoreena never exposes her breasts. Either she keeps her top on, or her bosoms are covered by an arm or piece of furniture, even when she is supposedly having raucous sex with Rex, or shooting a porn film, though no other women seem to share this reluctance. The plot never really makes much sense. It's clear that Rita is exacting revenge on Rex, and perhaps all men since those only incidentally connected to him do not escape her wrath. But what precisely she is doing is never really clear. Amoreena and others have fits of possession, where their eyes go black and they are controlled by some dark force, and Rita raises up a few dozen dead women to work her will, but it all seems to be a muddle, with little rhyme or reason.
The gore and blood effects are exuberant and executed with gusto, though often incredibly cheesy. That works as something of a feature, though, since the film enthusiastically embraces cheesiness in all its forms. The performances, sets, effects and story are campy and played with a humorous edge, enhanced by such things as several Clu Gulager themed gags, and this winking attitude gives The Disco Exorcist what level of enjoyment it has, while at the same time severely limiting it. From the (one hopes) prosthetic penis involved in a brutal manual castration, to the blood covered naked women to the zombie makeup to the wildly overplayed sex scenes, the film goes for the jugular. It is certainly not for all tastes, perhaps not even for many. At times, this is a very seedy film, and perhaps the most disturbing scenes are not those involving brutal murder and violence (though the film does have at least one good jump scare) but rather the orgy near the end of the film that ends so unfortunately. Regardless, fans of exploitation films, particularly those from the seventies, will find a lot to love here. For everyone else, rent it.
The video is 1.78:1 widescreen, and looks very bad, but that is clearly intentional. To recreate the look of a low budget seventies film, scratches, dirt, and all kind of faux damage are added to the image, and it comes off as quite authentic. How this look was achieved is discussed in the commentary.
The audio is Dolby digital 2 channel, and works moderately well. No subtitles are included, and this is frustrating since the dialogue is often muffled or difficult to make out, especially when the score gets a bit too loud.
There are a number of extras included for the film. They are:
This scene, an extension of the Vietnam War themed porno that Amoreena and Rex film, runs to about 0:40, and would have added little to the film.
Original Teaser Trailer
This trailer runs to about one minute, and is a good example of an old school seventies trailer.
Red Band Trailer
This runs to 2:24, and includes lots of sex, nudity, cursing and blood that weren't in the teaser.
Green Band Trailer
This also runs to 2:24, and is very similar to the red band trailer, except with the curse words bleeped out, and no nudity.
Wild Eye "Hijacked" Trailer
This is a shorter trailer, just 1:09, with lots of sex, nudity and violence packed in.
Wild Eye Trailers
Trailers for a large number of Wild Eye releases are included here.
This is a commentary track with director Richard Griffin, producer Ted Marr, and actors Michael Reed and Sarah Nicklin. There is a lot of interesting stuff here, and all the participants have worked together before and know each other well, giving it a very convivial feel. They discuss the attempts to shoot the film first in Super 8 before going with digital, using practical effects, all the nudity required of the actors, and the process of adding all the film damage to the appearance of the film. It's quite engaging.
The Disco Exorcist is a challenging film, made to look as much like a seventies exploitation movie as possible, right down to the scratches and dirt on the "print". The sex and violence are ubiquitous, to the point of seediness at times. But there's a good bit of humor and even a few scares. The producers are not much concerned with such trifles as plot and character development, so much as they want to provide a ripping good time, to those that enjoy what's on offer, anyway.