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Dance Craze (1981)
Is this the in place to be?
Dance Craze was released in February 1981, the idea originally came from American director Joe Massot (who shot the Wonderwall film), when he met Madness during their first US tour. Originally he was going to make a film about the band but when his son informed him of the wonderful world of 2-Tone, Massot expanded his original plans to include the whole movement.
The film was shot during 1980 and followed Madness, The Specials, The Selecter, The Bodysnatchers, The Beat and Bad Manners on tour throughout the UK. Sadly the film sticks to concert footage and there are no backstage interviews with the bands, this was a real opportunity missed as a documentary style film would have been a wonderful document of the 2-Tone movement. The film gives it's audience no time to catch their breath, cutting from one song to the next in the bat of an eye, this is where backstage footage could have vastly improved the movie.
In all there are 27 songs (counting 2 versions of Nite Klub), of which 6 come from Camdens finest, and 5 from the Specials. A soundtrack LP was issued on 2-Tone Records to coincide with the release, although some of the tracks are different recordings than those featured in the film. Half way through the film there is a somewhat odd intermission, black and white footage featuring old dances such as the Locomotion, the Twist and so on appears, maybe fitting in with the films theme, but hardly appealing to the 2-Tone audience who would pay at the door.
The film eventually opened in Sheffield on February the 15th 1981, by which time the initial 2-Tone boom had, inevitably, died down. The soundtrack album spent 15 weeks on the chart reaching a high of number 5, underlining the fact that 2-Tone was not a spent force, a fact that was further verified that troubled summer when the Specials released 'Ghost Town'.
The film was released on home video by Chrysalis in 1988 and, if not as good as it should have been, is still an invaluable document of the bands live performances, which is where most of the Ska-2-Tone bands excelled.
The Ape Man (1943)
A sad decline
The Ed Wood films are universally acclaimed as the nadir of Bela Lugosi's film career, but this sad entry in his filmography is worse on many levels than any of those later pictures.
With the golden days of horror pictures long gone, Lugosi is captured here in what can only be described as a laughable attempt to recreate that bygone era in what is little more than a dreadful reworking of the Wolf Man.
With a weak script, total lack of suspense, and of course the expected bad ape costume, it is to Lugosi's credit that he actually does appear to be trying his best in this film.
Unfortunately it isn't enough to save the day; I watched this hoping for that odd satisfaction only to be found in poor B pictures of this era, but even such sadistic viewing pleasures were denied simply because this film is so bad.
At only 67 minutes, it isn't long but boy does that time drag. Lugosi is a giant of the horror silver screen, but this shows his career in terminal decline. A shame as he deserves to be remembered so much better.