Discopath tells the story of a timid young New Yorker named Duane who leads a modest and uneventful life, until he meets an attractive young woman who decides to take him out to a disco club for a night of dancing. Little does she know that Duane has a unique condition: when he hears the sound of disco music, his eyes go black and he transforms into a murderous psychopath! Following this fateful night, Duane flees to Montreal where he tries to hide out and start a new life for himself, away from the music. But when someone unknowingly throws on a groovy record, everything spins out of control once again, only this time he may not want it to stop…
Montreal-based filmmaker Renaud Gauthier‘s debut feature is a love-letter to the slashers and Italian giallo films of the ’70s and ’80s, offering up one of the finest retro-grindhouse films of the modern era which feels destined to become something of a cult classic in its own right. The film was the highlight of last year’s Blood in the Snow film festival in Toronto, taking home a slew of awards and earning an exceedingly positive reaction from its packed audience. Genre fanatics in particular are sure to appreciate just how spot-on the writing and direction are in capturing that authentic sleazy vibe from this era of horror cinema, with Gauthier’s extreme attention to detail showing through in everything from the props and sets to the ominous synth score and electrifying original title track.
Yet for all the flashing lights and pulsing beats, Discopath also sports a serious dark side, complete with decapitations, electrocutions, and blood-soaked psychotic dance-parties, which solidify its status as a bonafide horror film that is not afraid to take risks or push the blood and gore elements. A pair of violent scenes at the disco club stand out as the most memorable and original moments from a visual perspective, while the climax and finale get to be so insanely whacked-out that you just can’t help but laugh, right up until the final shot and twist ending. While some mainstream audiences might feel as if they’re not in on the joke, those viewers who have a decent handle on classic horror films and a good sense of humour will likely find much to enjoy about this modern gem of Canadian indie cinema, which hits all the right beats in its attempt to recapture the magic of a bygone era of sleazy horror filmmaking.
The DVD release of Discopath comes courtesy of Black Fawn Distribution, and contains an audio commentary track (featuring director Renaud Gauthier, Ivan Freud, and composer Bruce Cameron) as well as a 24-minute “behind the scenes” documentary, offering a closer look at the film’s 21-day shoot alongside plenty of interviews from the director and cast. The film is also currently available for digital download or rental at the iTunes Store.
Click here to check out my full-length review of the film from last December.