Directed by Jason Lei Howden.
Starring Milo Cawthorne, James Blake, Kimberley Crossman, Stephen Ure, Sam Berkley, Nick Hoskins-Smith, Delaney Tabron, Colin Moy and Daniel Cresswell.
Two teenage metalheads summon up a demon through the power of black metal.
The two extremes of splatter and black/death metal come together in New Zealand horror comedy Deathgasm, the directorial debut feature of visual effects artist Jason Lei Howden and a runaway hit at last year’s FrightFest. Why was it such a hit? Because Deathgasm gets it, that’s why. It knows what buttons to push to get a reaction and it knows how to layer on the gore in a way that doesn’t take itself seriously whilst going for balls-out entertainment.
Teenage metal fan Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) is forced to go and live with his religious uncle Albert (Colin Moy) after his mother is arrested giving a blow job to a store Santa. Bullied by his cousin David (Nick Hoskins-Smith) and feeling like an outcast Brodie hooks up with school nerds Dion (Sam Berkley) and Giles (Daniel Cresswell) and local misfit Zakk (James Blake) to form extreme metal band DETHGASM (all capitals and drop the ‘A’, naturally), and in their quest to make brutal music they get their hands on some sheet music from reclusive local metal legend Rikki Daggers (Stephen Ure). However, when they play the said music they unleash an ancient demon known as The Blind One, who comes to their quiet town to unleash chaos and bring about the apocalypse with the help of a secret society also looking for the sheet music.
Deathgasm is one of those rare little gems that is destined to become a cult favourite in years to come, if only because of the totally carefree and unrestrained way in which it plays, and there’s likely to be nothing more joyous than the looks on the faces of those whose only exposure to horror movies is a once-a-year visit to the local multiplex to see the latest Paranormal Activity snooze-fest as a corpsepainted Zakk (“It’s not make-up, it’s fucking corpsepaint. We’re going into battle”) inserts a revving chainsaw into the rectum of one of the pursuing goons. Oh yes, Deathgasm is a total blast from beginning to end and doesn’t hold back when it comes to spraying the red stuff all over the place. And surprisingly, for a film that contains decapitations, disembowelment, tits, coarse language and a hilarious zombie fight using a huge black dildo and a string of love beads, it’s rated 15 – it seems somebody at the BBFC finally gets the joke.
Jason Lei Howden obviously knows his Troma, has seen Evil Dead II, Re-Animator and Return of the Living Dead several times and has probably listened to a death metal album once or twice because Deathgasm hits all the reference points you would expect it to but treats it all with respect. When you’re an extreme metal fan, more often than not you have to defend your musical choices against those who know no better, as you do when you’re a horror fan, and, also, most metal fans are aware of the absurdity of what they are listening to; bands like Cattle Decapitation and Cannibal Corpse write songs about death and mutilation in all forms and it’s all meant to be fun. Alright, the poe-faced Norwegian black metal bands may take it a bit more seriously but, quite frankly, it’s all entertainment and Deathgasm delivers on all fronts – gore, comedy (and there are some genuine laugh-out-loud moments), an on-the-nose script and natural performances from the young cast that most horror comedies usually don’t have (and if you can, get your hands on the Zavvi exclusive Blu-ray edition as there is nothing like having swinging sex toys and chainsaw enemas flung at you in full HD). Obviously, if you’re not into metal or Peter Jackson-style splatstick then Deathgasm will go right over your head, and if that’s the case then that is unfortunate because you’re missing out on one of the best gorefests since the golden days of Jackson and Raimi. Miss it at your peril.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★