Dance Macabre
Directed byGreydon Clark
Written byGreydon Clark
Produced byMenahem Golan
StarringRobert Englund
Michelle Zeitlin
Marianna Moen
Julene Renee
CinematographyNicholas Josef von Sternberg
Edited byEarl Watson
Release date
1992
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Dance Macabre is a 1992 American slasher film written and directed by Greydon Clark.[1]

Plot

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The Dance Academy in Russia, which is run by the crippled Madame Gordenko, has a new arrival of girl dancers. They are greeted by American dance instructor Anthony Wager and Olga. Among the new girls Anthony notices another American, Jessica Anderson, who resembles Anthony's deceased lover Svetlana - a ballet dancer who died in a motorbike crash. During the first ballet class Jessica struggles. Claudine, Jessica's roommate, offers to help her and the two sneak back into the dance studio. Claudine teaches Jessica a few moves then heads off to the spa. Jessica remains in the studio and dances the way she prefers which is to fast rock music. In the spa a dark unseen stranger grabs Claudine and drowns her in the hot tub. When Jessica arrives at the spa, Claudine is missing. She meets Alex, a photographer who has been sneaking into the academy to take pictures of Anthony and Gordenko. He and Jessica are interested in each other and she goes for a ride with him on his motorbike. The next morning Claudine is still missing. Olga informs Jessica that Claudine left the academy but Jessica doesn't believe her. During the next lesson, Gordenko has Jessica do a dance with a girl called Angela. Although Jessica still struggles, Gordenko tells Olga that she sees talent in "the American girl". Later Jessica finds a girl called Ingrid dancing in the attic and learns that she is addicted to drinking and drugs. Jessica then goes to Anthony who offers to help Jessica with her dancing; she happily accepts, and he gives her a private lesson.

The following day the girls are given the privilege to practice with male ballet dancers in a theatre. Angela is too distracted and grabs her male partner's groin which causes Olga to order Angela to wait in the wings. The stranger returns and hangs Angela to her death high above the stage. When they leave, Jessica runs to fetch Angela but can't find her. She encounters Alex and tells him of Claudine and Angela's strange disappearances, but their investigation reveals nothing. Jessica then runs into Anthony who expresses his concern for her, causing her to thank him and kisses his cheek before going. Madame Gordenko informs the girls that something might have happened to Angela, but Ingrid assures everyone that Angela must be alright and they mustn't worry. Continuing with class, they all watch a girl called Natasha dancing beautifully. That night Anthony and Olga take the girls to a night club in the city. Alex turns up and dances with Jessica before kissing her. Anthony sees them kissing and leaves the club. Natasha leaves to walk her new boyfriend Ivan to the station. After her boyfriend's train leaves, the stranger returns and pushes her onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train. That night Anthony witnesses Alex climbing up to Jessica's room and he starts crying. Alex and Jessica have sex and sleep together.

The next morning Anthony informs the girls of Natasha's death which shocks them all. Later, Ingrid returns to the attic; the stranger - shown to be Gordenko - hits Ingrid with her cane and throws her from a high window. Because of the deaths, most of the students in the academy leave. Anthony tells Olga that Jessica is the only good dancer left and she should be the one to represent the academy at an upcoming special audition. Jessica sees Alex sneaking into Anthony's quarters and hurries to find him, but Olga finds him first. Alex says that he's only trying to find out what is going on, and Olga agrees that there is something suspicious. They open a locked cupboard and find Claudine and Angela's bodies. Alex is stabbed in the stomach by Gordenko and falls down dead. Olga pulls out the dagger just as Jessica walks in. Seeing the scene she believes Olga is the murderer who killed them. Olga denies doing it but Jessica doesn't believe her. After a struggle, Olga accidentally stabs herself just as Anthony walks in. He holds the dying Olga in his arms and she whispers "Our secret is safe".

All of the other students have withdrawn. However, Jessica, encouraged by Anthony, decides to remain at the academy and attend the audition. Anthony continues to give her lessons to prepare her. He also advises her to wear a brunette wig over her blonde hair for the audition so she appears more like Svetlana. On the day before the audition, Jessica asks Anthony permission to see Madame Gordenko. When she enters Gordenko's room she finds her looking sick; she then violently grabs Jessica's arm. Jessica flees from the room screaming for Anthony but she can't find him. With no choice, she returns to Madame's room and hears Anthony's voice inside. When she re-enters the room, however, only Gordenko is there. She attacks Jessica. When Gordenko speaks to her, Anthony's voice comes out of her mouth. It is then revealed that Madame Gordenko is really a split personality of Anthony's. He tries to convince Jessica that she is really his beloved Svetlana, come back to him, and that she will dance for him at the audition and they will revolutionize dancing. He approaches her with a syringe and she blacks out.

Jessica wakes up in bed believing it was all a nightmare, but finds a bouquet of roses on her table from Anthony which is addressed to Svetlana. He enters her room - now calling her Svetlana - and tells her to get ready for the audition. Jessica refuses initially but Anthony threatens her with a gun, so she complies with his demand. At the audition Jessica first dances to Anthony's choreography while he watches from the wings. She then runs into the wings, rips off the brunette wig and shouts that she is not Svetlana. She returns onstage and dances the way she prefers, which amazes the judges. Gordenko's persona suddenly takes control of his body and forces him up onto one of the balconies to shoot Jessica. Anthony rebels against Gordenko and throws himself off of the balcony to save Jessica's life. She rushes to his side and just before he dies, he tells her "You danced for me".

Cast

Production

The film was originally developed as a sequel to the earlier 21st Century Englund-starring vehicle The Phantom of the Opera, under the title Terror of Manhattan.[2]

Release

The film was released direct to video by Columbia TriStar Home Video in September 1992. It had previously been released in Germany in May of that year.

It was misleadingly labeled in Japan as being a sequel to the 1989 movie adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera (also starring Robert Englund).

References

  1. ^ Squires, John (September 29, 2017). "Scream Factory Digs Up 1992 Robert Englund Film 'Dance Macabre'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  2. ^ Mann, Dave (2014). Harry Alan Towers: The Transnational Career of a Cinematic Contrarian. McFarland p. 152. ISBN 978-0-7864-7982-5.