Horror Fans, for the most part know that heavy metal music influences into the genre, existed for countless years, however most times it takes the blame for suicides, satanic rituals and other nonsensical garbage, but thanks to director Jason Lei Howden and his flick Deathgasm that definitely changes the game plan. His movie generates a thoroughly entertaining horror comedy with laughs directed at the power and black metal subgenres and incorporating tons blood splattering demon moments, zombies and freaks galore all from a screenplay created in just nine days in New Zealand. Howden, does an excellent job is in his directorial feature debut, that is not say he is without any experience far from it, with many credits in the visual arts and created a few short films, but needless this films brings everything to an intense and insane boil of gore and laughter.
The film surrounds itself with a metalhead Brodie (Milo Cawthorne, from Blood Punch (2014)) who lives with relatives, who heavily disapprove of this music and style of presenting himself, in black clothing and t-shirts representing the bands. Meanwhile, he suffers torments from others in the neighborhood, and from his cousin’s constant fist poundings, meets another outsider Zakk (James Blake) forming a group called Deathgasm, now the title and plot all have the tie-in. Joining in on the band Dion (Sam Berkley) and Giles (Daniel Cresswell), and through a volley of issues they discover the ultimate track and sheet music from metal legend Rikki Daggers (Stephen Ure). A slight problem the track produces a blackish conjuring hymn which provokes the underworld and casts forth an ancient demon infecting the townsfolk and wanting to conquer, others the music just extremely intense. Brodie befriends Medina (Kimberley Crossman), and has a comical moment of wearing corpse paint and eating ice cream, while discussing the sexual pandering of the metal music. This all leads to an outrageous blood inducing carnage wet-dream for gore-hounds and splatterpunks alike, as band and Medina fight and defend themselves using gardening tools to believe it or not, sex toys from very conservative individuals (always the quiet ones or the self-righteous that indulge in those kinky activities). Everyone’s performance hits on a positive mark, from the humor to constant visual references and story direction that only metal can save their mortal souls. As each axe slam to head off demon beasts brings glee and the mayhem never eases off, rather more goes into the story, including the authentic comedic sequences.
While the genres of rock and later metal definitely find themselves entwine and into the horror genres, many point to Charles Martine Smith’s Trick or Treat (1986) with the true incorporation of the two genres, as Gene Simmons of Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne graced the cover. Later films incorporating the music into more of a centralized theme, than just the party track or end credits music, came from Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987); and Black Roses (1988), however Deathgasm, uses the music as more of plot motivator and allowing metal fans rejoice in the tone rather feel rebuff for their interests. Needless to say, the straight-laced Medina’s reactions to incredible and highly detail cover art of various bands some whose names prevent the reviewer from using them here, provide loads of joyous humor, and lend to great moments in the movie.
The entire movie gives a firm nod to Peter Jackson, and especially a hint to Bad Taste, though the movie is not without issues, those elements fall to the waste side, and the film never relinquishes the laughs and gore for anymore reasoning of sanity. In fact, the funding the movie came from the Film Commission of New Zealand put up part of the funding (i.e. the taxpayers), help this creation of brutality impact all the senses for the viewers to enjoy thoroughly. The cinematography works very well, welcoming precision timing, and transferring that into editing process, mixing in a classic slow-motion scene that twisted individuals crave to have it their movies. Although, the mentioning of the soundtrack customary something this reviewer doesn’t do, it needs recognition of as employs the usage of Razorwyre from Inferno Records, and other black metal bands such as Nunslaughter, Emperor and then other thrash metal groups giving the maximum effort to generate a vicious music layering in the movie. The screenplay also from Howden contains some speed bumps of logic, but it never interferes with the enjoyment of the chaos of the screen, nor does the film or the audience suffer from it either. In addition, the movie created a bit of controversy, but not for the reason many would think about, rather it deals with the ‘corpse paint’, of who created the element, which often finds itself in the black metal genre of music. For those unaware of the term or topic, think back to Alice Cooper, Kiss, and King Diamond and the makeup on their faces, then advance that tenfold, referencing the deathly appearance or demonic, and most point to the band Mayhem’s late singer Per “Dead” Ohlin as the originator of it.
First, this movie is not for everyone, but if you like tons of blood, innuendo horror, very powerful practical effects, filling the 86-minute flick of gore, violence, and nudity then Deathgasm definitely lines up for your enjoyment. The film has also been generating rumors of a sequel, one can only hope it occurs and as the horror genre, needs more recklessness, wild abandonment!