Say, do you remember when not so long ago I posted about the craptacular Knight Chills and my propensity to gobble up multi-shitty-packs? Well, it just so happens that I'm squeezing another review out of the teat that is that very same "Night Chills" 10-pack from Brentwood. Behold, dear readers, for I give you:
Oh. My. GAWD. Slash Dance (1989) is one of the absolute worst movies I've ever seen...yet it's so fucking hilarious that my new Life's Goal is to make every single person I know watch it. Thank you, Brentwood!
As the film begins, the poor man's Linnea Quigley shows up in an old theatre for a dance audition. It seems that she's the only one there, but she's largely unperturbed and decides to warm up on the stage. The poor man's Linnea Quigley puts on her walkman and starts stretching and bouncing around as a shadowy figure in a black cape approaches; he's got a black pillowcase over his head- complete with eyeholes cut out and he's holding a giant saw...this is very, very scary. By "very, very scary", of course, I mean I'm laughing already. But wait, there's more! It's time for the first kill: the caped figure simply stands off to the side and the poor man's Linnea Quigley pirouettes across the stage and smacks directly into the saw, killing herself. It. Is. AWESOME.
Now then, meet Tori Raines (Cindy Maranne), a spunky LAPD detective who takes no guff. Posing as an interested buyer, Tori busts two steroid dealers in an alleyway...and when I say "busts", I mean BUSTS with a suplex and a gut punch. That's amazing enough in and of itself, but when I tell you that Cindy Maranne is also known as "Americana" and one of the steroid dealers is also known as "Matilda the Hun"- both late of Jackie Stallone's '80s women's wrestling/comedy series G.L.O.W., you might understand why I was already down on one knee, asking Slash Dance to be mine forever.
Note to self: Matilda the Hun...Big Bad Mama...Jailbait...The Soul Patrol...Colonel Ninotchka...Hollywood and Vine...Mount Fiji...man, G.L.O.W. was the shit. Indeed, they come from a world where there is no pity!
Back at headquarters, Tori gets chewed out by her jerk of a captain; it seems Tori has a real hard time playing by the rules- not to mention a real hard time avoiding a direct look into the camera on occasion.
I for one do not care that she breaks the fourth wall all the time because she is Americana and Americana can do whatever she wants and if you disagree then the terrorists have won and you are probably a freedom hater. And why is she all gussied up like that, you ask? Oh, no reason- except that she's glamorous.
As is evidenced by The Great Steroid Caper, Officer Tori has a real knack for undercover work and no case is too small to require an undercover operation. Some scummo has been targeting bag ladies and stealing all their...umm...all their what? I don't know, exactly, but bag ladies have been targeted nonetheless (psst- bad guys! pick people to mug who might actually have something to take). Tori poses as a homeless woman and sure enough, here come the bad guys taking the bait. Yeah, they rip her shirt open- but before you can say "hiiiii-YAH!" she takes down the two muggers with some chops and kicks.
It's true, friends, this movie just keeps getting better and better.
Meanwhile, the poor man's Tanya Tucker has wandered into that ol' empty theatre for her "audition". Mercifully, the mysterious caped figure strangles her- with her own lariat, even!- during her horrid rendition of "You Are My Sunshine". Ever the professional, with her dying breath the poor man's Tanya Tucker utters "I can dance tooooooooo...". Boy, Hollywood sure does chew 'em up and spit 'em out, don't it? Truly, it's the city of broken dreams.
We the audience get a glimpse into Tori's inner torment thanks to the cinematic device known as a "flashback". We learn that long ago, Tori's sister overdosed and her death drove Tori's mother to suicide. Tori swore to kill the drug dealer who got her sister hooked- then we see another flashback of Tori shooting a gun into blackness, so...I guess she accomplished that goal. At this point, I'm thinking to myself: with a slightly larger budget, Slash Dance could SO be a Cynthia Rothrock movie. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a sequel.
News of the murders at the theatre finally hits police headquarters, which can only mean one thing: it's undercoverin' time! First, however, there's a sequence in which Tori does some amazing detective work by window shopping and taking notes during a music montage. I think the montage is supposed to reveal Hollywood's seedy underbelly, and gosh, is it seedy! Look- there are places in Los Angeles that sell pants and...gasp...shirts! Fantasy shirts! Hold me, mother.
Eventually Tori makes her way to the theatre and begins her stint as a dancer- it's undercover work, but she uses her real name and she has her badge and service pistol right there in her gym bag. Oh well...anyway, the theatre is now bustling with activity and people- brothers Oliver (William Kerr) and is he retarded or just weird? Amos (Joel Buzz Von Ornsteiner) have taken over the failing theatre after their father's suicide. Determined to save the building and the business, they're putting on a lavish musical and they've hired a Famous Director (James Carroll Jordan) to helm the production. Famous Director got his start at this humble theatre many years ago, and he's simply thrilled to help out.
Note to you: after roles in such films as Slash Dance and Robot Holocaust failed to make him an A-list star, Joel Buzz Von Ornsteiner returned to school, earned 37529 degrees, and became "Dr. Buzz, Forensic Psychologist". Catch him on Court TV as he weighs in with his expert opinion on topics like The Death of Anna Nicole Smith!
For the next 45 minutes or so, Slash Dance is nothing but dance rehearsal after dance rehearsal after fucking dance rehearsal- I swear, should I live to be 500, I won't hear people count to eight as often as I did in the middle chunk of Slash Dance. Normally I'd find this sort of awful pacing irritating, except that the dancing was so fucking horrible I couldn't stop laughing. I wouldn't even call it "dancing" so much as I'd call it...I don't know, "aerobics for special people" or something. It was really, really bad. NO, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW BAD IT WAS. Someone would say "5 6 7 8 and 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and snap snap kick kick wave kick and strut!" and the girls would do the most retarded routine ever- sometimes accompanied by cheesy '80s Casio-flavored music, sometimes not, but always crammed onto the tiniest stage you could imagine.
It is completely effing hilarious. I kept wondering what kind of "production" they were possibly hoping to put on (sometimes the Famous Director would say things like "The singers are going to enter from the left!", but sadly we never get to see the singers), and somehow I was actually more confused about this once the troupe put on their costumes. I mean...what the hell is going on here?
Just when you start to think "OK, I see the dancing...now where the fuck is the slashing?", the mysterious caped figure returns! He replaces a rubber prop knife with a real knife and stupid ol' Amos stabs himself in the stomach.
In other news, Tori and the Famous Director have totally fallen in love by this point. They have sex in the dressing room- at least, that's what I inferred when the camera panned from Tori and the Famous Director making out over to a mannequin wearing a pearl necklace. The whole thing is wrong on no less than six levels, and you know, I really thought Officer Tori was more professional than that. Things get worse in the next scene when the mysterious caped figure steals Tori's gun out of her gym bag; I can only shake my head sadly over Tori's incompetence.
There's a big showdown between Tori, Oliver, and the mysterious caped figure who reveals himself to be...the Famous Director! Omigod, I never saw it coming. The Famous Director blathers on something about Oliver and Amos's father molesting him when he was young and so he killed the old pervert and now he's getting even more revenge and then the Famous Director shoots Oliver.
Tori quickly ducks behind a row of seats and pulls a sequined high heel out of her gym bag.
Can you feel what's coming?
In glorious, beautiful slow-motion, Tori chucks the high heel at the Famous Director- she chucks it so hard, in fact, that it pierces the Famous Director's forehead.
Of course, it's a terrible effect: Tori throws the shoe in slo-mo, cut to Famous Director holding the shoe up to his forehead. Ahhhhhhhhh, that's good stuff.
That's not enough to finish off the Famous Director, however, and so there's a thrilling chase scene through the back stage area leading to a denoument that had me laughing hysterically. No one messes with Officer Tori Raines! God bless Americana! OK, she doesn't say that, but I so wish she did.
I'm not going to say I didn't love Slash Dance, because I did. In fact, I wish it had 50 sequels starring the rest of the G.L.O.W. girls and Cynthia Rothrock. And maybe Ted Shackelford. I will say, however, that it's an absolutely horrendously bad film: it fails as a slasher flick, it fails as a crime thriller, and it fails as a horror-comedy- yes, there's plenty of attempted intentional humor in Slash Dance. The intentional humor is so not funny that it totally travels full-circle and becomes funny again, which is very rare and very...I don't know, meta or something. You laugh in all the right spots because it's not funny- that's deep, man. Look, if you want a decent slasher set in the world of theatre, try Stage Fright or Curtains. But if you just want some fabulously bad direct-to-VHS '80s-cheesy-style fun, I highly recommend Slash Dance, some friends, and a six-pack. Leotards are optional.