Yeah, I know that the bulge the Maniac poster depicts Joe Spinell as having is much scarier than the song -- that's the point! The grindhouse "classic" Maniac (1980) is as schizo as its title character, vacillating wildly between scenes of brutality and hilarity (though the former leaves far more of an impression -- the word "pornographic" is often used to describe the movie's approach to violence). "Goin' to a Showdown" provides relief from the bloodletting that, intentional or not, is unequivocally comic. It plays during a photo shoot; these hoes are the models:
I mean, really, are they posing for the package of a fabric pattern?
As the song plays, the chipper photog who's inexplicably friends with Spinell's character, coaches the girls on. Unfortunately, the expressions "fierce" and "work it" are not part of her lexicon. Still, her dialogue is just as funny as the song's lyrics (which include the couplet: "Put on something nice / Just in case you die"). While not on the actual soundtrack album for Maniac, "Showdown" actually appeared on the full-length LP released by Don Armando's 2nd Ave Rhumba Band in 1979. If I were a good rare-disco fan, I'd have and post the full version of the track, and not one that I ripped from the Maniac DVD. But maybe it's more effective this way, anyway, as you get to hear exactly how far fashionspeak has come.
The song itself is stupid, of course, a kind of "More, More, Morbid," with its psuedo-disco, laid-back groove and fascination with death. I mean, really, there's glee in the "Goin' to a showdown!" like I have never faced in my life. Don Armando's 2nd Ave Rhumba Band, btw, weren't totally awful. In fact, they were great at least once, as their "Deputy of Love" is one of the greatest straightforward disco tracks of all time. It's dippy, but not nearly this mentally deficient.
And while I have the Maniac DVD in my drive, here are two shots of it on the marquee of the Lyric, a 42nd St. grindhouse theater devoted to the kind of depravity Maniac offered.
The Lyric and the neighboring Apollo Theater went on to be converted into the Hilton Theater in the late '90s. (I work right across the street from it -- it's fascinating to walk around and squint hard, imagining how fabulously disgusting the area was 25 years ago and what I wouldn't give to be able to time travel.) The Hilton is now a Broadway theater. Its current show? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Things only get scarier.