Changing things a little with Masters of Horror: Dance of the Dead.
Okay, so far I have written every movie synopsis, but today I am going to copy+pasta the synopsis from wiki as I think it’s far better than what I would write, mainly because it picks up on a few things I missed in my viewing and I don’t want to re-write it and lie about having been perfectly attentive.
In 2008, terrorists developed a bio-warfare weapon going by the name “Blizz”. They used this weapon in local weather patterns in America. As it falls from the sky, it will instantly burn any living thing it touches. At her seventh birthday party, young Peggy (Emily Graham) watched as her friends were killed by Blizz.
Ten years later, America has been ravaged by the effects of World War III. The death count continues to rise in this dark and bleak future and some states simply no longer exist. Peggy is now a naive young teenager, ignorant of the world outside of her mother’s diner. She has lost both her father and her sister, Anna, and now depends on her mother, Kate. One day, Peggy meets biker/drug addict Jak and his two “friends”, junkies Boxx and Celia. The three are into some shady dealings with a nightclub called The Doom Room, located in the town of Muskeet.
Kate warns Peggy that “everything the people of Muskeet do is a goddamn trick”, and although she’s afraid to disobey her mother, Peggy sneaks out with Jak in the middle of the night to the Doom Room with Boxx and Celia. Muskeet, as it appears, is completely ravaged and the home to ravagers, sociopathic bikers, and teenagers. The Doom Room is a heavy-metal bar run by an MC played by Robert Englund. As Peggy and Celia watch the band Decree perform, Boxx and Jak go behind the stage to perform a business deal with the MC. They trade him packets of blood, for what has yet to be revealed. The MC promises that he will pay them if their product is good enough for the next “performance”. If not, he’ll make them eat it.
Back at Peggy’s house, Kate awakens to find that she is not there, and instinctively knows that she’s in Muskeet.
At that point, Peggy witnesses what the performance is. The MC has collected victims of Blizz who suffer from a medical abnormality where they still stand even after they’ve died. This condition was first discovered in the battlegrounds of the war. They are then pumped with blood and forced to dance, and those who don’t move are shocked with electric prods. Peggy watches in horror as the MC brings out her own sister, Anna (Melena Ronnis).
When Anna falls off the stage, Peggy and Jak take her away from the Doom Room, to be followed by the MC and one of his goons. Peggy and Jak meet up with Kate where the MC sheds some light on how he came to “own” Anna. When she was still alive, Anna was just like the other teenagers in Muskeet, and Kate was sick of having to drag her out of the Doom Room every weekend. Then Anna overdosed on drugs, so Kate decided to sell her to the MC, and she was apparently still alive.
Kate is beaten down and tries to explain to Peggy that she sold Anna because they had nothing. Angered at what her mother did, Peggy trades her for Anna. In the end, Peggy becomes another Muskeet style teenager, and watches as Kate’s corpse is beaten with electric rods and forced to dance in the Doom Room. Momentarily, Kate’s face flashes from that of her corpse to an evil version of her snarling at the viewer menacingly.
In a sudden break from the “All we want to do is eat your brains” theme we’ve been running so far (don’t worry, tomorrow returns to formula). today we look at the post-apocalyptic Dance of the Dead, the world has undergone it’s zombie apocalypse and though humanity has won, it is not so cut and dry, the law of the land is as with any dystopian horror, in the hands of the strongest and though many turn to the allure of chaos and rebellion, some still try to live their lives normally.
The lack of “outbraek” in this episode means that there are no corrosponding message compared to the Romero films, but Dance of the Dead shows us that even after the world begins turning to normal, there will still be a need for vigilance as many of those who survive with us will happily betray us if we do not conform to their idea of a perfect world.
We see this immediately in Kate selling her eldest daughter Anna to the MC when she becomes tired of her daughters rebellious actions, though we can not be certain, I would assume that the residents of Muskeet would follow similar actions if it came down to it.
Ultimately, not a gore filled horror, there are no zombies rampaging through the streets and no corpses rising from the graves, treated in Dance of the Dead as more of a carnival side show than an object of fear, if you are looking for an object of fear and slaughter, this is not for you but if you wonder just how the world might look after the end, watch this.
Lack of brains and blood, but a good storyline, Dance of the Dead scores a dependable six point six dances out of ten.