Opening at dusk, the film begins with the bloodless murder of gift-laden go-go dancer Kelly (Alexandra Cipolla). She's dragged away from a bandstand and into the bushes by s black-gloved assailant.

Then it's full speed ahead into the rocky opening title sequence, replete with neon lights and Goths bopping wildly in fetish nightclub Den O'Iniquity. Busty punk chicks, furries mingling with tattooed pirates, women on stage gyrating with hula-hoops round their waists: it's the type of place you'd never want to leave.

But the club's manager, Kent (Trent Haaga), is having a hard time convincing Mayor Rusty (William DeCoff) that the place is not just a haven for filth. The locals outside the town courtroom don't help much with their protesting banners ("Sodomites Repent", "Oral Sex Is Tasteless" etc).

In fairness, Rusty isn't against the club's livelihood. But his domineering mother Alma (Lynn Lowry) is, and it's her who orders him to shut the place down. However, Rusty gives Kent one week to prove the club's worth. Kent's close friends - geeky Echo (Jason McCormick), the stunning Jellybean (Ashley Eaton), and furry couple Dax (Carlos Brum) and Danni (Sarah Nicklin) - can breathe a sigh of relief. For now.

But the unfolding week presents a myriad of problems for likeable Kent: his wife (Debbie Rochon) is growing restless with his lifestyle and threatening divorce; his father and club owner Shank (Ken Foree) is dying with a "dicky heart"; Alma is plotting to plant hard drugs in the club, in a bid to get the place closed down for good.

But that's not all. Echo has the hots for Danni and Dax gets wind of this. Doorman Crumbcake (Brian L Mullen III) is struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality. Kent's lawyer, ex-hippy Moonbeam (Robin Watkins), is so prone to acid flashbacks he couldn't defend the Queen against charges for spitting in the street.

And, of course, there's the small matter of someone systematically killing off Kent's employees while leaving distorted messages on the club telephone in the meantime.

In fairness, SPLATTER DISCO is first and foremost a comedy. It's littered with silly one-liners and half-decent sight gags, playing towards the crudities of teenage boy humour like a cut-rate Seth Rogen effort.

The horror aspect is conspicuously absent until around 55 minutes into the film. And when your film is only 87 minutes in length, that doesn't leave much time for the tension to mount. However, it must be said that the final 30 minutes do offer some agreeable minor gore FX and their fair share of screams in the night.

Billed as the "first splatter musical" (really? Didn't ALFERD PACKER/CANNIBAL, for one, get there first?), the film is peppered with song and dance routines that bulk up the running time without ever being as funny or as clever as they think they are. They're simply irritating, albeit admittedly stylishly shot in promo video-stylee.

Performances are spirited and the film, while unevenly paced, is always watchable in an innocuous way. Its low budget is obvious, but director Richard Griffin elicits considerable charm from this factor.

Foree is a game comedian, giving his most animated performance since the days of "Kenan & Kel". Lowry meanwhile plays the bitch effectively. Rochon doesn't get enough screen time, but at least we have the beautiful Eaton to ogle at throughout.

Tame and daft, and likely to grate with those bloody songs, SPLATTER DISCO at least looks good and occasionally delivers with both laughs and gore.

Picture-wise, the film looks very good in a colourful and sharp anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer.

The English 2.0 audio is a solid affair too, free from hiss or dropout.

Beyond the animated main menu page, there is no scene-selection option - but the film can be traversed through via 18 chapters.

Extras begin with an enjoyable commentary track from Griffin, Lowry, McCormick, co-stars Jason Winter and Jason Crangle, and producer Ted Marr. It's an affable and fluent chat with Griffin holding court, the others at times barely getting a look in. It doesn't matter, Griffin is more than capable of dishing out ample background information and details of actors, locations etc. The others ensure there's a healthy level of humour on offer throughout. I found my appreciation of the film improved upon hearing the commentary track.

Next we have a 36-minute Behind-The-Scenes featurette. Entitled "Iliciting Joy" (sic) and presented in non-anamorphic 1.78:1, this is a slick mix of on-set footage and cast/crew talking head-style interviews.

5 minutes of alternate scenes follow, including a variation on the furries' song and more to the first murder scene.

Finally there's the usual plethora of trailers - 17 in total. Among these are NECROVILLE, PRISON-A-GO-GO and SCREAMING DEAD. Scarily, I realised I've sat through 13 of these titles!

SPLATTER DISCO is daft and harmless, a bit of fun aimed at adolescents who find "rude" gags amusing. It's stylish beyond it's content at times and when it works, it's very enjoyable. It's arguably worth seeing if only for Foree's dancing, and his impersonation of Mohammed Ali �

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Shock-O-Rama Cinema
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review