Newest Reviews
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Iron Mask, The
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Newest Articles
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
  Slam Dance Pogo your cares away
Year: 1987
Director: Wayne Wang
Stars: Tom Hulce, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Virginia Madsen, Don Keith Opper, Adam Ant, Harry Dean Stanton, John Doe, Millie Perkins, Herta Ware, Judith Barsi, Robert Beltran, Rosalind Chao, Sasha Delgado, Joshua Caceras, Marty Levy
Genre: Comedy, Thriller, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Cartoonist C.C. Drood (Tom Hulce) has a successful career, a cute little daughter (the tragically short-lived Judith Barsi) and is on good terms with his ex-wife (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). But his life turns upside down one night when he returns home to find his apartment ransacked by a sinister man (Don Keith Opper), who promptly knocks him unconscious. Awakening in the back of a car, Drood is quizzed by the gun-toting stranger and his equally menacing accomplice (John Doe) as to whether a mysterious woman left him any kind of package. With no idea what they are talking about, Drood makes his escape only to learn that the woman in question is Yolanda Caldwell (Virginia Madsen), with whom he once had a torrid affair. It turns out Yolanda is dead, presumed murdered and the police want to ask him some questions. Drood sets out to solve the murder himself, but in uncovering a complex conspiracy ends up on the run from the cops after another woman is found dead at his apartment.

There seems to be a film noir revival every ten years or so, what with John Dahl almost single-handedly keeping the flag flying throughout the Nineties or such recent examples of neo-noir as The Square (2008) or Drive (2011). In the 1980s there seemed to be a concerted effort among filmmakers to fuse neo-noir with stylistic elements from the post-punk new wave. Witness the French “cinema du look” classic Diva (1981), William Friedkin’s MTV infected To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Alan Parker’s moody though overrated Angel Heart (1987) and certainly Slam Dance, director Wayne Wang’s first genre outing after his early run of quirky comedy-dramas.

The whole oh-so-Eighties new wave vibe is evident right from the zany font featured in the opening credits, the alternately grating and evocative soundtrack by pop producer Mitchell Froom and the fact not only does punk rocker John Doe essay one of the main antagonists but Drood’s best friend is played by Adam Ant, for crying out loud. The erstwhile Prince Charming gives a pretty decent performance despite telling a whole host of terrible jokes, like “How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb?” The answer is: “Fish.” Get it? And there is the title which comes into play in a cathartic sequence where a downtrodden Drood joins a host of punks pogo-dancing at a nightclub, leaping and laughing his troubles away like a loon. It is oddly affecting.

Following an outstanding, Oscar-nominated turn in the awesome Amadeus (1984), Tom Hulce plays C.C. Drood in slightly irksome fashion as a zany man-child. He is an unusual protagonist for this sort of thriller but his performance matches the film’s off-kilter tone that switches from broad comedy to sincere, surprisingly sensitive drama. Drood’s alternately cordial and strained relationship with his ex-wife is nicely drawn and well played by Hulce and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Wang’s leisurely, observational direction teases out quirky peripheral details and offbeat incidents. One suspenseful, well handled scene sees Drood attempt to sneak into a high society bash only to discover the host (Millie Perkins, of The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)) knows who he is. However, the oppressive noir tone does not always gel comfortably with scenes of cracked comedy detailing Drood’s struggles with his deaf landlady or when a small child whacks him in the nuts with a rubber chicken (!)

Actor Don Keith Opper, who plays Drood’s enigmatic nemesis, also wrote the screenplay. His previous work as both writer and actor included offbeat science fiction films Android (1981) and City Limits (1984) and he went on to further cult fame as Charlie McFadden, goofy hero of Critters (1986) and its three sequels. Opper’s script is deliberately vague about story details and invites the viewer to piece together the fragmented narrative, but the continuing confrontations between his character and Drood grow tiresomely repetitive. Wang’s flashy mise-en-scene fails to advance the story but the resolution is unexpected and interesting.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2154 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor


Last Updated: