• MurderDrome

    Released by: Camp Motion Pictures
    Released on: September 9th, 2014.
    Director: Daniel Armstrong
    Cast: Kat Anderson, Rachael Blackwood, Jake Brown
    Year: 2013
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Daniel Armstrong in 2013, the Australian low budget horror movie that is MurderDrome tells the story of a roller derby skater named Cherry Skye (Amber Sajben) who skates as well if not better than any of the other ladies in her league. She’s got a passion for the game and after a match one night, finds herself being chatted up by a young man named Brad (Jake Brown). They hit it off, much to the dismay of Brad’s bitchy ex-girlfriend, Hell Grazer (Rachel Blackwood), who just so happens to be Cherry’s arch foe out there on the flat track.

    As tensions grow between to the two derby girls, a soul eating demon shows up and starts making things difficult for pretty much everybody. See, Brad gave Cherry a necklace and that necklace has somehow opened a gateway for the evil Momma Skate (Be-on-the-Rocks) to make her way to our Earthly plane and if there’s one thing she digs, it’s murdering other (slightly less evil but far more human) roller girls. It’s all going to end badly for a lot of people but Cherry isn’t going to go down without a fight, even if that means entering that weird skating rink with the neon MURDERDROME sign on the roof that wasn’t there just a few days ago… and what’s with that weird janitor (Max Marchione) guy creeping around and muttering ominous warnings?

    Roller derby purists might take issue with some of the skating in the movie (there are no walls and is anyone even trying to pass anyone else?! And skating outside? That’s not good for your wheels, ladies… but hey, this is fantasy and not reality) but those who appreciate pretty girls on skates zipping around will likely get a kick out of this one. We’re not meant to take any of this all that seriously and as such, there aren’t any actual scares here but the movie does offer up some pretty heaping doses of gore and carnage. While some of the effects are handled better than others (the CGI is awful, as it almost always is in low budget movies), the movie earns points for essentially creating a Cenobite on wheels as its central antagonist.

    Nobody here can really act, save for Marchione who really does manage to create some sort of odd screen presence with his character – think Alice Cooper in Prince Of Darkness and you’re kinda-sorta on the right track – but it doesn’t matter that much. Most of the characters are here to either look good in fishnets or serve as fodder for the demonic skatetress and as such, they accomplish what they need to. A whole lot of this is set to just the sort of psychobilly soundtrack you’d probably expect it to be but the filmmakers throw in some more aggressive metal here and there to switch things up a bit. Maybe most surprisingly of all is the fact that there is, sadly no nudity here. Not to say it would have added to the story at all but with the movie playing up the fetishy/sexy angle the way it does, you kind of expect some. Ah well. Thanks anyway, ladies.

    Although the movie is a pretty shallow affair, it is at least an entertaining one. And credit where credit is due, the cinematography and use of lighting, colored or otherwise, is often times visually impressive. Shots where the production crew gets to spread their wings in this regard make for a movie that looks a lot better than most other low budget productions ever get to. It probably helps to be into roller derby going into this one, as that’s what really sets it apart (and the girls really don’t take off their skates here, even when they’re not in competition) but even if you’re not, there’s still enough here that works and enough here that entertains to recommended. It’s good, gory, goofy fun – a slasher movie first and foremost but one that does a pretty good job of exploiting the roller derby setting in creative and sometimes pretty effective ways.


    MurderDrome looks decent for a low budget production, presented on DVD in 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen. Obviously shot on digital video the image is free of any dirt or debris. There are some mild compression artifacts and occasional instances of shimmering but color reproduction looks very good here and detail is solid.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, there are no alternate language tracks or subtitles offered. There are a few spots where the dialogue can be tough to follow, a mix of fast talking thick Aussie accents and level shifts, but most of the time the movie sounds just fine. The score is crisp and clear and there are no issues with any hiss on the track.

    The main extra on the disc is an audio commentary track featuring Armstrong and a few other members of the cast and crew. Topics include the original intentions for the film, how it was made for very little money, and some of the locations and characters used in the movie. They talk about casting the film, the effects work and quite a bit more. It’s an active and engaging track. Aside from that, we get a collection of outtakes, a few music videos for songs used in the feature, trailers for a few other Camp Motion Pictures DVD releases, menus and chapter selection options.

    The Final Word:

    MurderDrome is a bit all over the place but it’s a fun watch that doesn’t overstay its welcome. How much it’ll work for you will depend, at least in part, on your interest in the very concept itself: if you find the idea of roller girls fighting evil a winning one, check it out, you will likely be able to look past the flaws and enjoy this for what it is. The DVD from Camp Motion Pictures looks and sounds pretty decent and they throw in a few decent extras too.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      Excellent recommendation. I had fun with this one. The cool kills helped save the fact that there wasn't any nudity.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Glad you dug it! It's definitely a really fun movie, I hope the director keeps at it. I'd be game for a second movie in the series.