9 Gordon Street Elsternwick 3185
(03) 9524 7900
CineCultVHS is proud to present what may be the greatest sports film of all time, 1984's HEAVENLY BODIES!
This is a film that ticks all the boxes of '80s awesome:
*the dancercise (aerobics AND dance!)
*the save the dancercise studio
However, this Canadian production goes against the tide of puerile, misogynistic tropes that so often sink '80s films (which is downright amazing from a film co-produced by Playboy!). Have no doubt, this is a sexy film, especially if your idea of sexy is a single mother achieving her dreams, having complex(ish) relationships, and never backing down. Fuck yeah. You’ll be cheering Samantha (Cynthia Dale – My Bloody Valentine, Moonstruck) on as she deals with all sorts of life hurdles while never losing sight of her dream!
Quoting the VHS blurb, which is both terrible and great (errors and caps from source):
“A disused warehouse is transformed into a workout club called HEAVENLY BODIES. Now, instead of lifeless packages scattered about the place, energetic women race into the locker room. Headbands are attached, leg warmers are carefully pulled up well-defined calves and legs step into leotards. Bras are unsnapped and feet are squeezed into a ponytail – the locker doors slam and the class begins – THE ENERGY IS CREATED AND THE ACTIONS GETS UNDERWAY! FROM THE CREATORS OF FLASHDANCE – COMES A MOVIE WHERE DANCING, MUSIC, & ROMANCING ADD UP TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF ENERGY YOUR EVER GOING TO FIND!”
The publicity leans heavily into the titillating, but the film itself is much more focused on character arcs and dancing. What the blurb doesn’t mention is that of course the super-rich arsehole gym next door are pissed, and set-out to bring down Samantha and her crew. Jack Pearson and his gym may not be as dastardly evil as Ben Stiller in Dodgeball (which lifted heavily from this movie), but he is played by Walter George Alton, who you may know as PUMA MAN! From 'PUMA MAN'!
Though we could find no connection to Flashdance (beyond its appearance as a poster in the film, alongside Fosse’ Star 80), it does share producers with eXistenZ, Crash, Eastern Promises, Johnny Mnemonic, The Last Action Hero, and Scrooged, so there’s that. Most of the cast have appeared in a Cronenberg film or Happy Birthday to Me (including first and only time writer/director Lawrence Dance, who also appeared in the likes of Rituals and The Clown Murders!)
Although this film does little to break the mould in plotting, it is a constant surprise in how it steers clear of many pitfalls and ultimately, the light and frothy, is a strange breath of fresh air that is as empowering as it is amusing. And the music and dancing is phenomenal. You’ll be dancercising your way home from the next CineCultVHS!
Free screening, just bring yourself (and your most fabulous dancercise duds, if you feel so inclined).