Director – Jason Lei Howden
Cast – Milo Cawthorne, James Blake, Kimberley Crossman, Sam Berkley, Daniel Cresswell, Delaney Tabron, Stephen Ure, Colin Moy, Rodie Rimmer, Nick Hoskins-Smith, Erroll Shand, Kate Elliott, Aaron McGregor, Andrew Laing, Tim Foley
Release Year – 2015
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Deathgasm was one of the most hyped horror films of 2015, and I knew it would be a film I’d enjoy. Metal and horror go hand in hand, and for many reasons. There is the “evil” / Satanic element, but for me it has more to do with the use of social outcasts. Horror fans and metalheads alike have always steered towards the counterculture, and that is what I find fun about horror and metal meshed together. Where the film succeeds is it gives us everything we want to see: cheesy metal homages and tons of gore, doing so with expert execution from a first-time filmmaker. New Zealand is known for some zany flicks with crazy gore and insane antics, and Deathgasm continues the trend in awesome fashion.
With his mother institutionalized, misfit metalhead Brodie is sent to live with his Christian fundamentalist aunt and uncle. Eager to escape his mundane life, he befriends Zakk and forms the metal band Deathgasm. When a chance opportunity results in them finding hidden sheet music from their idol Rikki Daggers, they do what any aspiring music junkies would do – they play the music…and unknowingly unleash Hell on Earth.
Deathgasm kicks ass right from its opening scene where we learn that Brody’s mother was institutionalized after sucking off a Santa Claus in a crowded mall. Stuck living in a Bible belt atmosphere where metal is frowned upon and his jock cousin constantly beats on him, the guy just can’t catch a break. His life changes for the better when he befriends Zakk at a local record shop, which kicks of the epic 80 minutes of remaining runtime.
If it isn’t obvious by now, this is definitely a film for metal fans or for those familiar with the sub-culture. There are so many awesome nods to classic metal clichés and I loved them all. If you are familiar with the short-lived television show “Todd and the Book of Pure Evil” this film is a lot like that. It has a comedic element that is stronger than I would have expected. The hilarity aided in making this a film that will keep the viewer’s interest when things slow down a bit here and there.
The horror here is some of the best 2015 has to offer. Once things get going, about 17 minutes in, the gore reigns free. Playing the demonic sheet music opens the door for a demonic presence to enter our realm and quickly possess the townsfolk. The number of those possessed grows rapidly as it is passed along much like how it is in zombie films: bites and resurrection. With New Zealand’s limited weaponry in possession by common folk, the kids are forced to get crafty in their kills. Edged weapons do the deed, but keep you eyes peeled for some very….”phallic” artillery during one of the most hilarious sequences of horror I have ever seen. Director Jason Lei Howden does an excellent job of bringing the horror to life. He employs live-action practical effects wherever possible, delivering copious amounts of gore and executing these scenes to hilarious perfection. The acting is solid, the sets used will suck you in, and with full-frontal execution of everything that matters this is a flick I highly enjoyed.
Overall, Deathgasm is a spectacle I highly suggest you check out. While obviously aimed at metalheads, the film is too much fun to not be enjoyed by fans from all walks of life.