Last Dance (1992)

Author: Josh G.
Submitted by: Josh G.   Date : 2010-01-15 22:17

Directed by: Anthony Markes
Written by: Emerson Bixby
Starring: Cynthia Bassinet, Elaine Hendrix, Kurt T. Williams and Kimberly Speiss

Reviewed by: Josh G.

Only the sexy die young.

I was dancing up and down in my head when I found this tape recently. Three bucks for a supposedly rare slasher sounded fine, and the few rumours of a high body count certainly forced my hand in the purchasing of this mystery killer thriller. Last Dance is always mixed up with the Sharon Stone film from 1996 of the same name, which may be why I was expecting something...uh...good. 1992's Last Dance has all the makings of a classic slasher movie. It’s terribly cliché, dumps out a few sex scenes for the eyes, uses rarely touched techniques of murder and ends it all with a crazy motive. But here I am, feeling tired of this useless movie, and it has only been twenty minutes since I popped it in.

Francie (Heidi Lands) is murdered with a stick in her beach home, just before the big Miss Dance-TV competition. A disappointed Jim (Kurt T. Williams), who now only has four erotic dancers for the national television event, brings in Jamie (Cynthia Bassinet) to replace Francie. With former beauty Meryll (Kimberly Speiss) as their teacher, the five girls will be ready to perform later that night. Meanwhile, backstage drama pursues when antics of sex-hungry Jim are exposed; he’s been sleeping with all of the dancers, save for the new Jamie. The girls don’t have much to fight about for long, as the killer who knocked off Francie heads toward them for bloody consolidation. Red herrings will keep you guessing throughout the film as to who could have enough reason to wipe out the dance floor.

All that I could think of when Last Dance finished up was the tune of The Seeds’ “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine.” This could be one of two reasons, whether it is because the credits roll with them, or because Last Dance offers nothing else memorable to reflect on. There’s a collection of kills nearing a dozen, and still this manages to lull the senses to boredom. The color schemes for the dance stage enhance the tone, yet I wouldn’t call Last Dance atmospheric. It feels very low budget and is written like a soap opera, only diverted by the acting of the cast, which isn’t a whole lot to write home about.

Meryll is a bitter dance instructor who wants to be young and beautiful again. Thus, we the audience feel for her and she becomes an alright character. Kelly (Elaine Hendrix), one of the center dancers, is a snarly girl who has the most connection with Jim, but she has been cheated on by him and feels betrayed. Again, we feel for her. There’s something slimy and moral about each person, Jamie not included, straying away from that constant ‘no redeeming qualities’ being that often shows up. This is probably for the worst, as I can’t think of any interesting situations someone gets themselves into. And shoot me down if I have to listen to those annoying fake surfer ‘dudes’ any longer. Billy and Mark are irritating sweepstakes winners who won’t quiet down with the ‘chill’ accents. Hmm. Maybe there are ‘no redeeming quality’ characters.

In a film about erotic dancers, you’re bound to find some skin pleasures. The couple sex scenes depict firm, well molded women, glistening in the lights, while Jim has a dopey satisfied smile on his face. What a jerk. But perhaps he has some sort of motive for the killings. He seems upset when the show doesn’t go as planned – missing performers are always a downer – though this could be his plan. He may want to cover his dirty tracks by killing the girls he has slept with! Or perhaps Meryll is to blame, overcome with jealousy for the youth of the other dancers. One of the dancers themselves perchance, wanting to win the Miss Dance-TV competition so badly, they’ll take it by default. Bix (Jason Logan), the janitor, hides out in the girls’ closet. Maybe he has a fetish for dancing death? It’s too much to think about, and we end up turning our thinking caps off to enjoy some creative kills.

So little blood, yet so many bodies. Last Dance shapes into a lame slasher movie with death scenes that question whether the thriller was a half comedy. A bucket, which is overused way too many times in Last Dance, is one of the worst weapons I’ve ever seen a killer use. One guy is whacked in the face with it after he yells in terror. His friend turns around, yells also, and gets whacked face-first too. All of this in the same shot mind you, so it looks terrible. One of the dancers actually walks into a noose (walks into a noose!) where she is strangled for what feels like eternity. When the highlights of a movie are one of its biggest faults, there’s not a great deal you can do with the entire project.

The killer’s big reveal isn’t even folded out in eventful steps, and the reasoning for the dancer havoc does not really justify the deaths of about half the people slaughtered. And I say slaughtered in the least sense of the word. It feels more like everybody is getting removed, in spite of the majority of onscreen kills. Prism has a video tape of Last Dance out, which I’m presuming, will be the only way to ever see this shmuck. Funk music and the smell of the early 90s couldn’t revive the slasher genre, and this show came out in a time where there was a dwindling number of its kind. To say it’s worthless is a bit much, but I “Can’t Seem To Make Last Dance Mine.” Not in the heart at least. Trash it!

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