It’s almost impossible to talk with someone about Friday the 13th Part IV for more than five minutes without discussing Crispin Glover’s spastic dance scene. There’s a good reason for that too. It’s one of the most memorable scenes in the series and there’s really nothing else like it. It’s not just some actor being goofy – that shit is hard to do. Trust me, I’ve tried. I remember showing it to someone who suspected that the camera was undercranked until he realized that other performers in the shot were moving at normal speed.
As incredible as that is, that’s not what I want to write about now. It’s such a notorious scene that there are plenty of better writers who have covered it adequately. What I want to write about is that bonkers song that he dances to.
The common rumor around is that he was dancing to AC/DC’s Back in Black on set but that song was too expensive to license. So they did the next best thing and got the band Lion and the song Love is a Lie. This all makes sense to me. His jerky movements seem like they would fit with the middle parts of Back in Black and the licensing story doesn’t seem all that far fetched.
Over the years I’ve heard some fans lamenting about how awesome it would be to see that scene cut to Back in Black*. While I admit that I’d be slightly curious, I think we’re all forgetting how amazing that scene is not just because of Crispin’s moves, but because of how goofy the Lion song is. The scene is that much funnier because his dancing doesn’t even match up to the song one bit. He’s no longer just a nerd dancing to AC/DC, he’s a certifiably insane guy who may or may not be having a seizure on his feet.
Also consider how much better the reactions of the rest of the cast play when the song is this absurd. Yeah, Back in Black might have been contrary to the romantic mood they were trying to set, but blasting Lion like he did would garner well deserved, “What the fuck are you doing?” looks in almost any situation. The incredulity written on everyone’s faces is so much more appropriate for this song, as is Crispin’s reaction do this incredulity, “It’s-it’s-it’s good.”
Now, am I just being a jerk, or is the song as ridiculous as I’m making it out to be? Most of my favorite music is from this era. I never really considered that stuff hair metal or cock rock because I genuinely liked most of it. When I was growing up, I just called it rock. Even by the excessive standards set by the genre, this song is silly (in a good way).
Just listen to the preposterous words the singer’s belting out and and how serious he is about the whole affair. Right when Crispin puts the needle down, he’s in the middle of laying down the law on some woman who was foolish enough to jerk him around emotionally:
No way! Not tonight! No way! Not today!
I’m pretty sure when you’re singing like this, the exclamation points are mandatory. After we learn that the singer is in no mood to take any shit, he lays down a little more context:
Just cause you played it cool! Don’t think you got this fool!
Tonight! All right!
Don’t ask me to stay! Don’t think you got it made!
No no! You’re wrong!
I can’t help but get the feeling that whoever this guy is arguing with has absolutely no clue what he’s talking about. She is being accused of asking him to stay in a manner that would make one think she has it made. I picture her reacting to said accusation by saying, “Who are you? I have no idea what you’re talking about.” To which, of course, he would scream in her face, “You’re wrong!”
The fact that I’ve actually thought about this and played the scenario out in my head probably speaks volumes more about me than it does the poor singer of Lion or the imaginary woman who jilted him.
For better or worse though, this scene was one of my first slasher obsessions. So much so that one of the first things that I did in the 90s when I discovered eBay was to track down Lion’s album Trouble in Angel City just so I could finally own a copy of this song. Of course, I immediately began practicing my dance moves. I haven’t mastered it yet, it maye take a lifetime of practice. One of these days though, I’ll perfect this dance and make my wife proud. And, if she takes me for granted, I know I’ll have a bevy of retorts at my disposal – all naturally punctuated with “No way!” and “Not today!”.
* – For the record, this was done by Dr. Jose over at Camera Viscera. It is admittedly pretty awesome, but, for me, nothing will replace Lion. Check it out here: