"Masters of Horror" Dance of the Dead (TV Episode 2005) Poster

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Sometimes dead is better...
cwjack-114 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I just thought I'd post a positive review of this picture which although admittedly flawed, does however offer solid bizarro entertainment. There are scenes in this film that got under my skin, (burning the leftover bodies in the trash bin like so much random waste, Englund's character fondling twitching corpses and those "dance of the dead" sequences where we watch people hiller, howl and whoop it up over sick, twisted dehumanizing acts of depravity). Much like bum fights, boxing, or even audience reaction at wrestling events. The movie is both twisted, pointed and funny as well as repulsive and out of its' mind. It makes a mockery of society's insatiable need to be entertained as well as unveiling the real sick and evil of humanity when the Mother character is revealed to have forsaken one of her own children. Englund's a riot in this one too, marking in my opinion, his best collaboration with Hooper to date. I hope they work together again next season.
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The Omega Punks
Jonny_Numb29 September 2006
"Wow," with a capital W-O-W.

After reading the near-unanimous venomous sentiments being spat in the direction of Tobe Hooper's "Masters of Horror" episode, 'Dance of the Dead,' I had the lowest of low expectations. Additionally, I don't consider myself much of a fan of Hooper's oeuvre--save for "Texas Chainsaw" and the "Toolbox Murders" remake, his career has been sketchy, with projects often falling victim to studio meddling and financial troubles.

And at first, I thought it was just my low expectations that made 'Dance of the Dead' stand out...but as it progressed, I realized that Hooper had just made a damn good episode. What 'Dance' achieves that most of the other shows have been missing is a personalization of madness and horror. The 'monsters' are not rubber-suited creatures or knife-wielding slashers, but unassuming tropes pulled from everyday life: most prominently, parental loss of control and the corruption of youth. Bio-terrorism, drug use, lurid sex, hypocrisy, nihilism, and the exploitation of the dead also pop up.

The notion of 'messages' underlying the horror are bound to throw up a red flag for some, but Richard Christian Matheson's adaptation of his father's short story is ingeniously executed by Hooper, who employs jittery framing and whiplash edits to produce a visceral experience (I've never seen a film simulate a drug high as well as 'Dance of the Dead') that, instead of dulling the social commentary, heightens it in a way that only really becomes apparent once the episode ends. Comparatively, Joe Dante's 'Homecoming' failed because it bypassed horror and hammered us with its message, whereas Hooper strikes an effective balance between the two.

There are so many subtle surprises in 'Dance of the Dead' that it's best to keep the plot synopsis brief: In a post-apocalyptic landscape, Peggy (Jessica Lowndes) lives under the watchful eye of her mother, and makes eyes with Jak (Jonathan Tucker), a sensitive rebel who runs blood to the emcee (a wonderfully sleazoid Robert Englund) of a local fetish club where the dead get up and do the titular deed.

For all the negative notices 'Dance of the Dead' has received, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Hooper has created a short film that is as creepy, hopeless, and frightening as it is moving and deceptively intelligent. A true dark horse in the "Masters of Horror" series, highly recommended.
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Gorehounds Resemble the Characters of this Film
myboigie27 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
While 'Dance of the Dead' isn't my favorite Masters of Horror episode, it's still a pretty good entry. If you're expecting conventional-horror, look-elsewhere, this is about a horror that is internal. Peggy (played wonderfully by Jessica Lowndes) is a young-girl living in the contaminated-ruins of the United States, in Michigan. She and her mother run a diner in what is left of their community, while the streets are populated with the sick, dying, and gangs of youths willing to do anything to survive. Utilities still exist, and there is food, but the social environment is every-man-for-himself, a situation very close to complete anarchy.

Everyone in the film is dying-slowly from a terrorist-attack of a chemical weapon known as 'blitz', especially those who have been exposed-directly. In Richard Matheson's original-story, 'blitz' is exploded in the stratosphere, creating a huge corona-cloud that rains a skin-eating snow on its victims. Most of the victims have the look of lepers. One day, a gang of young 'blood-runners' comes into the diner led by a guy named Jak, and Peggy goes with them to the shunned city of 'Muskeet', where the dance of the dead is the main-event for nihilist-survivors and criminals. According to the MC of the club (Robert Englund, in a show-stealing performance), the military found that certain chemical-warfare agents would reanimate dead-troops to keep them fighting. One of the main-ingredients for this process is blood. Peggy's mother has warned her about the town ('It should be burned to-the-ground.'), with an odd-turn. She's hiding-something, like the fate of her other-daughter who...you'll have to watch the episode.

In this bleak-future that could happen tomorrow, Tobe Hooper shows us where America is psychologically, and where it could end-up. I've actually talked to people in their twenties about this entry, and none of them could tell me why they didn't like it. I can tell you why--it paints-a-picture of youth that isn't flattering, and it makes a few comments on the counterculture (as a dead-end expression) that aren't either. We aren't really very far as a culture from the 'dance of the dead' strip-shows, not-at-all. America has become-addicted to a form of sexualized-violence in our culture, and it's a violence that is senseless and without any motivation behind-it, or meaning. Some would call this conditioning.

37-years-ago, director Sam Peckinpah tried to change this with 'The Wild Bunch', by showing-us violence for what it really was and, for-a-time, it worked. With his machine-gun editing (taken-up by Hooper here, the hour-episode has1,100-cuts), and his graphic-depictions of people dying in slow-motion, Peckinpah tried to make people sick. By the 1980s, this style had been copied ad-infinitum without any depictions of the consequences of violence. Ironically, showing these consequences is more visually-graphic, and usually earn a 'hard-R', 'X', or an NC-17 rating for a movie. So, by the 1980s, Peckinpah had been trumped by Hollywood. Today, it's even-worse.

Hooper (and both Matheson-scribes) shoves this fact in our collective-face, and he does it with a barrage of imagery that is pretty-ugly. You could take-away the setting of a post-apocalypse America, and you could still tell this story in the present about an overprotected 16-year-old girl who loses her innocence. This overprotection is crucial, and Matheson setting the story in the American Midwest is strongly-symbolic. This is the real story of 'Dance of the Dead', and it rankles the wounded-idealist in all of us. But again, he's also telling us that we are jaded, bored and dehumanized, another reason some viewers were angered by the piece.

Sadly, most of the bad-reviews of this film only prove-its-point: we have become desenitized and dehumanized as a culture. Through the use of deep-colors, incredible-composition, and an editing-style that can only be called a barrage, Hooper has a great work here. Also, most of the gore here is pretty grim, and I expect a certain level of it in most horror-films. It's my own humble-opinion that the worst horror-fans are gorehounds, but even-worse is the film-buff who expects Orson Welles to do Citizen Kane over-and-over again (you could argue he did). This is a great addition to Tobe Hooper's canon, even an exceptional one. I think the main-problem people had with this film was the editing--it never lets you rest, and that's good. What a heavy metal Weimar Republic-nightmare he has crafted, it's stunning and real. We're all denizens of the Doom Room.

09/28/2006: Bwahahahahahah!http://chickasawpicklesmell.blogspot.com/
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Company_of_Wolves11 March 2006
Tobe Hooper's Dance of the Dead is never going to win over the usual horror crowd. Why's that? Well because it focuses on meaning, message and character as opposed to jumps, gore and kills. For those who watch a horror film just for the kills and gore, give up and go back to The Horror Channel.

"Dance of the Dead". Tells a story of a angst ridden youth of America, brought on by a total disregard for human safety by those in power. A theme that's becoming more popular in the horror genre with Alexandre Aja's "The Hills Have Eyes" remake. There are no monsters here, save for the corrupted and corroded humanity of the characters.

A true Masters of Horror episode in that it's directed by Hooper (Whose "Poltergeist" would go on to inspire "Ringu") and based on the short story by Richard Matheson ("I am Legend" and "The Incredible Shrinking Man" are widely considered some of the best sci-fi, and in the case of the former, sci-fi/horror novels around). Hooper captured some of that foreboding, and pessimistic view of that master write Matheson, although hardly to the standard that the novel "I am Legend" did.
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Very Cool
Gafke24 May 2006
Peggy just might be the last innocent girl left in a post-apocalyptic world. Nine years earlier, Peggy watched as a rain of toxic chemicals maimed, scarred and/or killed her friends at her seventh birthday party. It is a memory which haunts her still, along with the deaths of her father and older sister Anna. Sheltered by her overprotective mother, the pretty sixteen year old Peggy works in the family diner in a town which has all but dried up and blown away. When a group of dangerous punks wanders into the diner one day, Peggy is immediately attracted to the leader, Jak, a tough but nice guy. It is love at first sight, but Peggy's hate- filled mother kicks the foursome out. It's too late though. Jak has already arranged to meet Peggy at midnight, and Peggy slips away with Jak and his friends to the forbidden and dangerous town of Muskeet, where the diseased and the dying go to party. Peggy is taken to the Doom Room, a scummy nightclub run by a sleazy Emcee (Robert Englund) who literally deals in blood. The toxic rainfall of 9 years earlier left many of its victims in a state of undeath, but when injected with fresh blood, the zombies are briefly reanimated. Hauled out onto the grimy stage of the Doom Room, the zombies are poked with cattle prods, twitching and contorting for the amusement of the customers. This is the Dance of the Dead, and Peggy will learn more about it in one night than she ever wanted to know.

I was really impressed with this third entry in the Masters of Horror series. This is Tobe Hooper's first foray into the zombie genre and it's a unique take. These aren't flesh-eating ghouls out for blood, just pathetic cadavers who have become entertainment in a world without cable reality TV shows.

The camera work is dizzying, the music is hard, cold and nihilistic and the performances are great, particularly by Englund whose Emcee is a thousand times scummier, sleazier and nastier than Freddy Krueger could ever hope to be. Jonathan Tucker as Jak is an extremely likable character, despite the fact that he's a thief and a drug addict - he's also chivalrous and heroic, an odd combination that Tucker miraculously makes work. Jessica Lowndes as the innocent Peggy is perfect, going from scared kid to world weary woman within an hour.

Suitably disgusting and abysmally bleak, Dance of the Dead is fun to watch and difficult to look away from, kind of like a particularly bloody car accident. I would (and will) watch this one over and over again.
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aeon-blue8 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
One of the best in this series. Very different, and somehow quite disturbing. Some of the visual elements, especially the dumpster scene, tend to stick in my mind. It's definitely not a gore fest as some would like to hope, but reanimation is simply a creepy topic! There is some bad acting, especially from the main character, but the originality makes up for it. In this show the real monsters are indeed the average human, and it certainly does not end on a positive note. It captures a great glimpse of teenage uncertainty and a loss of hope when it seems the entire world has become morally degenerate, family included, and there's no more reason to anticipate a remedy.
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So Much Talent Packed Into One Hour
gavin694213 November 2006
The writing of Richard Matheson, the directing of Tobe Hooper, the most violent music ever composed by Billy Corgan... and the legendary Robert Englund. Even if this movie failed, it would still be memorable for such a line up.

In a world that has been plagued by terrorist attacks (chemical attacks called "the blitz" if I understood the film correctly), few still live a normal life while many have gone on to a city called Muskeet where death and drugs are a part of life.

My only problem with this film is the way things were left unclear. To some degree, a mystery about the past helps the plot, but I was really confused through most of the movie and even after I had many questions. A film of this magnitude would almost have been better as a television series.

I also became a bit frustrated with Hooper's repeated camera technique I can only describe as "the water ripple", which he must have done fifty times. Once or twice would have been nice, but the film was hard to watch when it wouldn't stop.

Anyway, the acting was great. The main character (Peggy) was beautiful and strong, a great protagonist. Jak was also well cast. Everyone else could have been played by just about anyone (which is not to say they did a bad job, this film has some of the finest goth girls I've ever seen). And Robert Englund? Not his best performance, but great just the same.

I saw many parallels to "A Clockwork Orange", which I enjoyed (though some might say it was a derivative movie). The bouncers in suspenders, the car speeding scene, violence to old people. I could even say there's a connection between Alex's gang drinking milk and Jak's gang drinking orange juice (both wholesome beverages for degenerate people).

While the film had its weak spots (the actual "dance of the dead" is nothing special), they made up for it with the extra sex and drugs that any good horror film ought to have. And according to my friend Jason, they greatly improved upon what was a mediocre short story (though I cannot independently confirm this).
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Post-Apocalyptic Motherhood and Fight for Survival
claudio_carvalho5 June 2007
In a post-apocalypse society, the seventeen years old Peggy (Jessica Lowndes) lives with her protective mother and works in her restaurant. She misses her sister Anna, who died some time ago. When two couples of punks come to the place to eat some hamburgers, Peggy feels attracted by Jak (Jonathan Tucker), who invites her to date with him later. Peggy goes out with Jak without telling her mother, and they go to a dark place, the Doom Room, where the master of ceremony (Robert Englund) is the ringmaster of a freak show with dead. The MC injects blood in the dead, and they dance on a ring for the exalted audience. When Peggy sees her sister Anna dancing in the show, the MC discloses the truth about her presence in the circus.

"Dance of the Dead" is another apocalyptic view of mankind after the Third World War, where the survivors watch the dance of the dead maybe to feel alive. The sick and unpleasant story is actually about the lead character Peggy and the fate of her beloved sister. She unravels the mystery about the death of her sister and never understands the fight of survival of her mother. I found this episode of Masters of Horror only reasonable. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Dança dos Mortos" ("Dance of the Dead")
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The Most Sickest Episode
jed-estes15 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I very much ed enjoyed this episode and found that it was great step forward for the great Toby Hooper. I had hated his version Toolbox Murders and found Mortuary to be dull but better than Toolbox Murders. This episode being the ninth I've seen so far I found it to be the sickest of the shows so far and was quite pleased. This is the furthest Tobe or Robert Englund has ever gone. While Freddy Krueger is a better character than th M.C, I think the M.C is just so gross that he has to be at least in the top five of Roberts best characters. I think the plot being set in the future and showing the fall of man was great too. The sex really pushed the envelope on this one and if they were allowed to show this I can't wait to see Imprint. This is awesome see it.
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Outstanding MOH Offering!
theverydarkestangel13 September 2006
I was pessimistic when I purchased this entry in the MOH series as most of the reviews were less than positive! It blew me away! I presently own (and have viewed) 9 of the 1st season's 13 episodes! I completely missed this series when it was telecast! Where was I? I love the MOH series so much I generally pre-order them when I know their release dates! Of the 9 releases I have given Incident on & off a mountain road, Jenifer, and now, Dance of the Dead 10 of 10 stars! All the others I give a solid 8 of 10 stars. Guess you could say I love them! The 3 I rated highest (above) I have watched no less than 4 times each! Kewl!! I will NOT miss Season 2 whenever it airs! I am now sooooo Hungry for more, more, more! Master Of Horror ROCKS!
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The worst
awkwardmitch18 May 2010
movie ever, seriously. From the foolish dialog to the dull acting, the plot that goes no where, for no reason, and takes forever doing it.

Every second of this film is painful to watch, and don't be fooled by reviews saying this movie is too "deep for your average gore hound" there's really nothing going on below the surface here.

It's sad to see Tobe Hopper has gone off the deep end like so many other great directors (Argento, Romero, Carpenter) and just started turning out lazy work.

This movie is dull, and stupid; don't waste your time, instead watch a good episode of this show like Dreams in the witch House, Cigarette Burns, or Imprint(the best of the series)
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"My mind has a mind of it's own." Terrible Masters of Horror episode.
poolandrews12 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Masters of Horror: Dance of the Dead is set sometime during the near future after World War III in a post apocalyptic America which has been decimated by nuclear fallout, Peggy (Jessica Lowndes) & her mum Kate (Marilyn Norry) run a small diner catering to the more upscale residents left where they live. So when scumbag punks Jak (Jonathan Tucker) & his mate Boxx (Ryan McDonald) turn up looking for food Kate kicks them out but not before Jak got a chance to talk with Peggy to try & convince her there's a whole world out there & he can show her it, unfortunately as Peggy quickly discovers it's a not very nice world out there...

This Canadian American co-production was episode 3 from season 1 of the Masters of Horror TV series, the first of the episodes directed by Tobe Hooper I think that Dance of the Dead is easily the worst Masters of Horror episode that I have seen although I admit I haven't seen them all as of yet. The script by Richard Christian Matheson really isn't very good, the character's are mostly unlikable, just swear a lot & take drugs, it's really slow going & I'd struggle to describe it as horror. It feels more like a teen drama with a few zombies thrown in there at the end, the bulk of the film concentrates on Peggy & Jak which becomes immensely dull to watch. This particular episode has various parallels & tries to convey a social message about modern society but I just thought it was all misjudged & comes across as very weak. There's a supposed twist ending which I thought was pretty bad & there's a distinct lack of exploitation elements. Dance of the Dead seems to divide opinion quite strongly judging by the comments on the IMDb but I genuinely think most people would agree this is pretty awful stuff & of the Masters of Horror episodes I have seen so far I thought The Screwfly Solution from season 2 was the worst but Dance of the Dead tops even that for crapness.

Director Hooper ruins this even more with hand held shaky camera shots that are as annoying as anything seen in The Blair Witch project (1999) & for some reason he uses crash zooms & blurriness constantly throughout & it becomes highly irritating to watch as if it wasn't bad enough already. Forget about any gore as there isn't any in this one, there's a melted skin effect but that's it & even the zombies look dull. There are a few scenes with female nudity though if that's your thing.

Technically this is alright, it's well made with decent production values but those camera & editing techniques make it a pain to sit through, well for me anyway. The acting is OK, Freddy Krueger himself Robert Englund turns up in this one.

Dance of the Dead is a really poor way to spend 60 odd minutes of your time & the worst Masters of Horror I've seen so far, one to avoid. Hooper's second Masters of Horror episode The Damned Thing from season 2 turned much better than this.
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Like a bad trip!
super marauder8 June 2013
Dance Of the Dead deals with a post-war America. Millions of people are either dead or infected by 'blizz', an acid rain that eats your skin off of the bone, or if you live you are infected. Scary thought. Of course there pockets of civilization here and there trying to survive. Okay, what do do for entertainment? The story is about Peggy, a good hearted teenage girl who works in her mother's diner. In comes four teenage thugs and Peggy takes a liking to one of them. She sneaks away with him and sees what's out there by going to the 'Doom Room' a night club of sorts to see the 'dance of the dead'.

All of the characters are likable, and Robert Englund's performance is really over the top! I like Tobe Hooper's camera tricks because they add to the insanity of the world in the story.

Good story, fine acting, but not scary in terms of "BOO!" moments, but in the thought of how this can happen.
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An original entry...
cgyford25 September 2009
"The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" and "Poltergeist" director Tobe Hooper adapts sci-fi/horror legend Richard Matheson's short story of twisted teen romance in a post World War III wasteland with a script from the author's son and a score from Smashing Pumpkins front-man Billy Corgan as his controversial entry in the show's first season.

Jonathan Tucker and Jessica Lowndes make for a cute on screen coupling, although the former never entirely convinces as a rough and ready street punk, whilst powerful support comes from Ryan McDonald, Marilyn Norry, Lucie Guest and a typically OTT turn from genre stalwart Robert Englund as the Doom Room MC.

The master's post-apocalyptic dystopia has a curiously outdated 80's feel to it which couple with the pseudo-psychedelic camera techniques serve to district from the narrative thrust of the story but such is the immense imagination and originality of Matheson's genius that it nonetheless shines through.

We're just here for the red.
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I think I feel something going' up the stairs into my f*ckin' brain!
lastliberal20 June 2008
Apparently the Rapture has taken place, and only the soulless are left to inhabit the Earth.

Robert Englund is really creepy as the MC of a horror show not to be believed. It is especially horrific for Peggy (Jessica Lowndes), who is attracted to Jak (Jonathan Tucker) and goes to the show with him.

What she sees is beyond the most unspeakable horror, but, even, more, the shock she next receives is beyond belief.

Director Tobe Hooper, and writers Mick Garris and Richard Matheson (Duel, I Am Legend) give us a tale that is about the closest vision of Hell that I can imagine.
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Utterly awful, this disgrace should've been buried.
dragonmaster03034 February 2006
Now, I can't blame Tobe Hooper for the weak story/screenplay (the blame for that lies with Richard Matheson). Nor can I blame him (I don't think) for the poor casting and subsequent terrible acting performances from all concerned (yes, including old Freddy Krueger himself!). But what I can most definitely blame Mr Hooper for is the pathetically poor directing, which was at best annoying and completely ineffectual. Whatever he was trying to do failed majestically.

It's abundantly clear that Tobe Hooper is living on (unmerited) past glories, indeed, none of his efforts since 'A Texas Chainsaw Massacre', are even worth a second look. And I wouldn't really recommend his supposed masterpiece (the previously mentioned TCM) to anyone either, it's a movie which has gained a sizable reputation that far outweighs the actual movie (mainly thanks to the video nasty bans in the eighties and the hype from people who've never actually seen it). The man just doesn't seem to have a clue.

I was looking forward to this series so much, but now after seeing this episode (only the second aired here in the UK) my hopes have been severely shattered! Maybe the producers of the series did this deliberately and gave Tobe Hooper enough rope to hang himself by giving him the worst episode to direct, knowing that he'd make a big fool of himself? I for one hope so, because I really wanted this series to be fantastic.

Despite Mr Hooper's efforts to single-handedly kill the 'Masters of Horrors' series, I'm still living in hope, simply on the basis that things can only get better!!
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Coventry20 August 2006
Pretty much like Tobe Hooper's entire career, "Dance of the Dead" is one giant MESS! The basic story ideas are good (not to say GREAT), but the elaboration is far too hectic, careless and often just downright amateurish! The events supposedly take place in a post-apocalyptic world where everybody refers to the fatal World War III. A horrible nuclear weapon called "Blizz" wiped out the majority of the American population and now the streets are terrorized by drugged teenagers looking for thrills. The one truly brilliant gimmick of this little movie is that the dead are resurrected for only one reason, namely to entertain the guests at "The Doom Room" nightclub with their spastic dance-movements. This simple yet very ingenious given, based on a short story written by Richard "I Am Legend" Matheson, could have easily resulted in the most disturbing and grim episode of the entire Masters of Horror series, but Hooper incomprehensibly decided to neglect all suspense & atmosphere and simply turn the whole movie into a boisterous and headache-inducing visual playground. The over-the-top chaotic camera-work is nearly unbearable and there's an absolute lack of structure. There's not as much gore as you'd expect and the zombie make-up is rather weak. In yet another very grotesque performance, Robert Englund stars as the owner/master of ceremony of this club and – granted – he's pretty damn creepy looking. Then there's also the thin & forgettable story of a teenage girl, overly protected by her paranoid mother, who runs off with a couple of rebels and naturally discovers that her own mother is a far bigger monster than anyone else on the streets. In the end, you just saw a truckload of potentially great horror-ideas but none of them was adequately processed. Such a shame!
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Could have been better
xerodroid28 August 2018
This series is great with the exception of this episode. Ryan McDonalds acting brought this whole episode down! What a cheesey actor and performance! I thought the others would compensate for his terrible acting but it was really, That Bad!
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Robert Englund nailed it :D
Bored_Dragon11 April 2018
For a start, in my opinion "Dance of the Dead" is not a horror. This post-apocalyptic story, placed in America after WWIII, brings brings an exciting visual experience and great acting, but although it's dark and morbid, it's not tense nor frightening. It's trump cards are the way scenes in the night club are shot and edited and Freddy Krueger in the role of main (?) villain. Ending twist is unexpected and powerful, but overall, movie doesn't have the strength of the previous episodes. Still, highly recommended.

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Obscene or science? Poetry or pornography?
nogodnomasters20 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
In the post apocalyptic world, youth become malcontents and spend their time at an underground club, The Doom Room run by Robert Englund. The malcontents make money by involuntarily taking blood from people and selling it to Englund. Jessica Lowndes plays the young virginal waitress who has been able to live a sheltered life away from all of the obscenity of the world. Of course Jessica, in her teen curiosity hooks up with some malcontents and gets taken to the perverse Doom Room whose claim to fame is....

Great movie for horror/zombie fans. Cult classic.

F-bomb, nudity (not Jessica), sex.
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Tobe Hooper shows us why he's not a master of horror
The_Void19 March 2006
The Masters of Horror series hasn't shown the best of it's directors in the first two episodes, but Tobe Hooper's third showing, 'Dance of the Dead', based on a short story by Richard Matheson, really lets the side down. I've just spent an hour watching this, and I can't really tell you what it's about. It's got something to do with a zombie-like plague, a bunch of unruly teenagers and a nightclub owner who makes zombies dance in his nightclub (hence the title, Dance of the Dead). Needless to say, the plot is really messy; and that takes out most of the enjoyment as it's rather difficult to tell what's going on for most of the duration. The rest of the enjoyment is taken out by the dull, uninspired performances and some lacklustre direction from Tobe Hooper. Hooper has never been a master of horror for me; he got lucky with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and he's shown how that is true with most of his output since. The main acting plaudit goes to Robert Englund, who simply does an over the top impression of Freddy Kruger. This episode of the Masters of Horror series is just awful. Even at an hour long, it's too long and I can't think of a single good reason to waste time on it. I really hope that the episodes after this one are a lot, lot better.
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What a waste of money.
ulic_cinn12 October 2006
I actually paid for this DVD as I don't have Showtime and I wish I could get my money back. I have purchased the rest of "The Masters of Horror" DVD's and although there were a few that were less than great, (Landis, I'm looking at your episode,)they all look like masterpieces compared to "Dance of the Dead." This thing was BORING. Holy cow. I kept waiting for something scary or disturbing to happen and nothing ever did.

The camera tricks also didn't contribute anything except to give my wife a headache.

Avoid this thing at all costs.
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Disappointing Episode From Hooper
Tobe Hooper certainly deserves his reputation as a 'Master Of Horror', especially for his masterpiece, "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" of 1974, but also for a few other films, such as "Eaten Alive" (1977) and "Salem's Lot" (1979), that certainly couldn't come up to the brilliance of TCM, but definitely were interesting Horror films. His first contribution to the "Masters Of Horror" series, the third Episode, "Dance Of The Dead", however, turned out to be a minor disappointment. The episode is certainly not entirely bad, it has some atmosphere and is very creepy at times, but it simply lacks an adequate structure of storytelling.

The story, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic America, sometime in the near future when the majority of Americans have died in a terrible war, and the anarchistic conditions only allow the strong to survive. One of the most popular gathering points for the drug addicted youths who rule the streets, is the macabre 'Doom-Room' hosted by an eerie creep named 'The M.C.' (Horror icon Robert Englund). 16-year-old Peggy (Jessica Lowndes) runs a little restaurant with her protective mother (Marilyn Norry). Peggy is fascinated when a young hoodlum named Jak (Jonathan Tucker) shows up in the restaurant with his no-good friends one day...

The movie has some good moments, Robert Englund is creepy as hell and Jessica Lowndes as well as Marilyn Norry deliver good performances. I couldn't ignore the fact, however, that director Hooper was obviously more interested to make the episode look as 'cooool' as possible, and focused on effects and visuals rather than on telling the story, which makes the episode look like a 1-hour video clip. Over all I was disappointed with "Dance Of The Dead", although I admit it was macabre and entertaining at times and has some qualities. 5/10
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Hooper: 4, Malone: 8
mkw-512 April 2006
Tobe Hooper: "Dance of the Dead"-Hooper is one of those directors/artists that are on my top favourites list just because a one single work: That is of course in this case The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But I don't have any expectations from him. Partly because the mentioned movie is so perfect and ingenious, that it's hard to imagine him doing anything better, at least if he doesn't try something completely different. Of course comparing is always stupid, be that somebody's own works or others. I try to review every piece as it's own, separate self. OK. There are interesting people here: Very beautiful (Suicidegirls-type) girls, and very sick, disgusting and dirty criminals. The music is very good. The visuals are very well made: Contemporary "chaotic" cutting and camerashaking styles have been used very justifiably. The story (from Richard Matheson) is interesting enough. It's funny that the "end of the world" reality in this film doesn't differ at all from the actual world today. So that's what this is: A picture of the existing reality in today's city culture. Not bad, but not amazing either.

William Malone:"Fair-Haired Child"-Malone is one of the directors in this series, whose name I've never heard. Which is a good thing of course. This movie has really unpleasant atmosphere right from the start, which is also a good start for a horror flick. I guess. At least in it's surrealistic elements this differs from the other parts (of Masters of Horror). This is also the only part in which the (really sick) main characters inner life and history is shown at least a little bit. The overall feeling is kind of a mystery/fairy tale-like, although the story is quite close to the earth. Yeah, it's good. Nothing to complain about. One of the best stories in this series.
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Better than I expected.
Hey_Sweden20 April 2014
Interesting entry in the 'Masters of Horror' series is well acted, appropriately disturbing, and does the best it can at creating a dystopian future on a budget. If you're like this viewer and haven't read the source material, this adaptation does intrigue you as to where it's going. Why would rebel youth be out to drain the blood from senior citizens? Why are those dead bodies being piled into a garbage bin and immolated? Ultimately, this does have something to say about human nature in the face of adversity, and work its way towards a time honoured twist of just desserts. The frenzied editing and camera-work is merely distracting most of the time; it's unfortunate that has become common in modern fright fare. The music is largely discordant and does a fine job of disorienting the audience. Director Tobe Hooper indeed may have had an uneven career ever since his breakthrough classic "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre", but he actually does a pretty good job with this tale, scripted by Richard Christian Matheson from a story by his legendary father Richard Matheson.

Jessica Lowndes stars as Peggy, a teenager living with an overprotective mother, Kate (Marilyn Norry) and working in her diner. A catastrophic event dubbed "The Blizz" has either killed or scarred many humans, and the younger generation are now running amok. One of the bad kids, Jak (Jonathan Tucker), is more sensitive than most and catches Peggy's eye. She sneaks out one night to be with him and goes to the club that he and his pals frequent. This is a decadent place where heavy metal is played and where women are made to "dance" in a rather creepy way. It's ruled by a grinning MC played to the hilt by the great Robert Englund, with whom Hooper had worked on "Eaten Alive" and "The Mangler".

The big reveal near the end and the eventual comeuppance do make this intense tale worth sitting through. Until then, Hooper lets the acting carry the story along. Lowndes is appealing in the lead role, and Tucker does a creditable job as well. The atmosphere is pretty heavy and in general this *is* a decently entertaining episode if not among the more well regarded ones of 'Masters of Horror'.

Seven out of 10.
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