|DANCE OR DIE (director/writer: Richard W. Munchkin; cinematographer: Peter Jensen; editor: Paul G. Volk; music: John Gonzalez; cast: Ray Kieffer (Jason Chandler), Jake Jacobs (Hasbro), Lauri Thompson (Lead Dancer), Rebecca Barrington (Diane), Georgia Neu (Kay); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Richard Pepin/Joseph Merhi; City Lights (PM Entertainment); 1987)|
an incoherent story only its creator might
by Dennis Schwartz
badly made obscure straight-to-video thriller filmed
in Las Vegas. The uncanny filmmaker Richard W.
Munchkin ("Ring of Fire"/"Evil
Obsession"/"Guardian Angel") is the auteur of this
vexing and vague film, that tells an incoherent story
only its creator might possibly love.
liner notes on the VHS box say "Jason Chandler
(Ray Kieffer) wants just two things in
life: to stay off drugs, and to choreograph a dance
show in Las Vegas that rivals Flashdance." The
recovering druggie's 26-year-old's roommate Alan deals
cocaine from the apartment. When one of Alan's mobster
business partners, called the Turtle, catches him
cheating, he shows up one day with his gang at a
backyard barbecue and guns down Alan and his guests.
Jason is still alive because he didn't attend the
barbecue. But problems arise because the thugs
believe he's hiding the missing merchandise and begin
to harass him with threatening phone calls. Jason
hires a psychic to help find the missing stash,
continues having whacky dreams of dancers in odd
outfits and still cruises the neighborhood looking to
hit on chicks. When Jason finds the stash, we wonder
if he will again become an addict.
might be a loser, but he has two women in his life he
cares about--his nutty girlfriend Diane (Rebecca
Barrington) and his sincere drug
counselor Kay (Georgia Neu).
the end, Jason has enough balls to put on the Las
Vegas show with his inept troupe. The number is
so laughably wretched, that it couldn't be funnier.
That might be reason enough for lovers of bad films to
find favor with this existential horror story, a film
that has its wimpy hero, in the end, awkwardly ask
himself if he's on the right path. Others just might
be blown away to see for themselves that the
odd-couple roommates keep an aquarium in their
backyard and not inside their house.
Kelly sings the title song.
REVIEWED ON 2/13/2015 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ