Monday, June 15, 2015

'Deathgasm' Movie Review: This Is The Demonic Heavy Metal Horror Film You've Been Waiting For

Deathgasm is the demonic, heavy mental horror film you didn’t even know you wanted. Okay, I knew this is exactly what I wanted, but the likes of Wild Zero, Black Roses, and Rock and Roll Nightmare are all personal favorites. It’s like this movie was made specifically for me, which was quite nice of writer/director Jason Lei Howden. When you hear a title like Deathgasm, odds are it conjures up some particular, rather vivid imagery, and that’s exactly the movie you see on screen. And it’s fucking awesome: funny, gore-soaked, and actually a bit touching.

After his mother is institutionalized for trying to blow a bunch of truckers, metal head Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) is forced to go live with his uptight religious aunt and uncle, and their dickhead son, in a small New Zealand town. He falls in with some D&D nerds, pines after Medina (Kimberly Crossman), the out-of-his-league hottest girl in school, and deals with the constant stares from the rural yokels. The only thing that makes life in this shit pile even remotely bearable is Zakk (James Blake). The only other metal head in town, Zakk is a wild card who leaves trail of wreckage and teen pregnancy in his wake. The obvious choice is, of course, to start a band, but problems arise when they play a song so evil it actually calls forth the King of Demons to besiege their crappy little burg.

Deathgasm is like if one of those heavy metal scare films from the 1980s actually happened, which is something I’ve been waiting for as long as I can remember. How many of us grew up in a world where heavy metal seemed legitimately scary, rebellious, and dangerous? The idea of Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest being evil and leading the youth of America astray or causing the end of days is so quaint and adorable now.

As the demon army invades, Howden, who has done visual effects work on films like The Avengers, Prometheus, and The Great Gatsby, channels his inner Peter Jackson. We’re talking about Dead Alive/Bad Taste Peter Jackson (one character even wears a Bad Taste T-shirt), not bloated, boring, Hobbit Peter Jackson. There are beheadings, possessions, spines being ripped out, and geysers of blood covering the entire damn town in sticky red goo. It’s especially fun to watch the prissy, put together Medina go off the rails and become metal-worshipping, axe-brandishing badass demon slayer.

But there’s more than just horror going on in Deathgasm, which is a part of the fun. The shitty small town blues are familiar, but relatable, and show up just enough to drive home how terrible this place is. Cawthorne and Blake have a solid chemistry and their brothers-in-metal shtick plays for both laughs and as an authentic survival mechanism. Their relationship even adds a few tugs at the heartstrings and some bro-betrayal. As it descends into full-blown mayhem, the comedy is foul and raunchy and funny, not to mention occasionally clever.

While all of that is nice, and makes Deathgasm a more well rounded movie than you may initially expect, it’s all about loud-ass music, spraying streams of blood, and battling demons. All the rest serves to dress up those elements, but at the end of the day, Deathgasm is about getting awesome, and it most certainly does. [Grade: A]

No comments: