Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Deathgasm


   Deathgasm is pretty great. Like... really great. I can't imagine it's for everyone, but if the idea of a teenage metalhead beating the piss out of a demon possessed person with a long black dildo sounds amazing to you, then you'll probably think Deathgasm is pretty great as well. The movie isn't balls-to-the-wall nonsense right away. As crazy as it does get, it does have characters, and a story, and a plot and all the things that movies kinda need to have to... you know, be movies. Interestingly enough, the story and plot structure feel like a throwback to 80's teen flicks. Back when teen movies were made about teens, not made to pander to teens. Either that, or teens in the 80's were just a lot cooler. I dunno. Anyways...

   Milo Cawthorne plays Brodie. A newcomer to town, and an instant outsider. His metalhead style clashes with his adoptive family and just about everyone else except bad boy Zakk- who's also a metalhead. In no time at all, the two form a band with a couple other social rejects from the high school, and they name it... DETHGASM. In all caps. Because "lowercase is for pussies".  Of course, one thing leads to another and the boys end up getting their hands on something called The Black Hymn. Which... when played, brings about a demonic apocalypse. There goes the neighborhood. The movie is in love with metal as much as it understands how metalheads look to non-metalheads. In the same way Galaxy Quest loves Star Trek, but can poke fun at trekkies at the same time. It's all in good fun- just like Deathgasm.

   Consider a scene where Brodie is asked out to ice cream by the school hottie (who's not actually a bitch for a change of pace) and she confesses that she just doesn't... get metal. So, seeing his opening, Brodie pulls a stack of CDs out of his bag for her to listen to- just to get her started. As she starts looking through them, the album art is all horrific mutilation and gore. It's a funny and endearing scene, and the movie is full of moments like this. On the flip side, it's also full of scenes where people vomit blood in such a fashion that would make Sam Raimi proud. On that note, the blood-spewing is not solely limited to vomiting either. I'll let you imagine that for a minute. Yeah. Anyways, the movie is gleefully over-the-top and full of some of the bloodiest stuff I've seen in a while.

   None of it is played too straight, it's very tongue in cheek- but it's also put together in earnest. This is not a parody movie of any kind. It's genuine towards it's characters, and it's not poking fun at them so much as it is acknowledging how silly it might seem at times. I won't lie though, I did expect more from the movie. I'm not sure what I expected more of though. Maybe it was the music? I have noticed that some actual metalheads were rather let down by the soundtrack- and I have to concur. None of the music in the film really jumped out at me, and I felt it should've. But the manic visuals and the style of the movie is spot on. As bloody and wonderfully juvenile as the movie was, I expected it to actually get a bit darker and more serious towards the end. I think it could've been stronger if it did. Instead, characters are killed left and right and it's kinda hard to care.

   At the same time, as much as I wanted and expected it to get darker- I expected more gratuitous nudity throughout. This is as much of a throwback teen comedy as it is a metalhead splatter-horror flick. Where's the copious amounts of boobage? Granted, the movie makes up for the lack of nudity with plenty of guts and gore. Which is nice. When all's said and done, Deathgasm owes a lot to early Peter Jackson flicks like Braindead and Bad Taste. It really is a throwback flick, and I feel that aspect was strangely absent from it's publicity. It has it's fair share of missteps, including some occasionally stiff acting from the leads, and some unnecessary subplots that slow the pace down. But, those sins are easily forgivable considering how fun and instantly engaging the movie manages to be throughout.

   On the whole I feel like this movie is something to celebrate honestly. Deathgasm hooks you right away with it's crazy animated opening credits, immediately setting the tone for the rest of the flick. The movie runs on such an intensely cool concept and it's one that Hollywood would've never banked on. So I'm glad to see that the people behind it, namely writer/director Jason Lei Howden, actually got it made. We need more people making more crazy movies like this. Above all though, Deathgasm is just pure fun. It doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is. It's wall-to-wall gore and gags, and has some genuinely hilarious scenes in there as well. I loved it's style and I found it's energy to be positively infectious. As good as all this is, it gets even better... Jason Lei Howden is making a Deathgasm 2. Fuck yeah.

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