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  • Rev Horror


Dir. Jason Howden (2015)

Two teens, desperate to start a metal band to escape from their shitty lives, accidentally unleash a horde of demons that possess all of the adults in their New Zealand town.

I've never been a huge metal fan. I get the appeal, for sure, and I'm definitely a connoisseur of fast guitar and driving rhythms, but if I wanted to be screamed at I'd go adopt a bunch of unruly teenagers. The overlap between horror and metal, however, is enormous, as evident by the tendency of metal musicians to put horror references in their music and horror filmmakers to douse their soundtracks in thrash guitar. Occasionally, though, the two worlds blend perfectly together, perhaps most notably in Jason Howden's 2015 film Deathgasm.

Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) has recently been sent to live with his ultra-Christian aunt and uncle after his mother is committed to a mental institution, forcing him to deal with his asshole jock cousin and a new environment filled with bullies and judgmental douchebags. He meets fellow metalhead Zakk (James Joshua Blake) at a local record store and the two decide to form a band with their loser friends Dion (Sam Berkley) and Giles (Daniel Cresswell), with Brodie hoping to impress the hottest girl in school, Medina (Kimberly Crossman). When the new friends find the sheet music to a mysterious song called The Black Hymn, they decide to play it in their new band, accidentally unleashing a demonic entity who enslaves the towns adults and turns them into a horde of demonic zombies. Together, they must fight to reverse their spell and rid the town of evil before they are ripped to pieces by the apocalyptic forces of the demon Aeloth.

Deathgasm has gained a little bit of a cult following for being... well, exactly what horror fans are looking for in a movie. It's got a rad-as-fuck metal soundtrack, a hilarious and irreverent script, and some truly stellar gore, all of which combine together to form a horror-comedy Voltron of insanity. Cawthorne is adorably aloof as the lovestruck Brodie, carrying the film by himself even without the rest of the film's fantastic ensemble of characters. The blood flows at a steady pace, with over-the-top ridiculous kills varying from dildos through the ears to head-crushed-by-engine block (though the film notably misses the obvious Motörhead joke, which is almost unforgiveable) and everything in between.

There's very little not to like about Deathgasm. In fact, I'm wracking my brain trying to come up with anything that didn't work to near perfection. It delivers its kills at a full-throttle pace, it's genuinely hilarious from beginning to end, and it's an almost flawless love letter to gory horror and death metal. It perfectly contrasts its corpse-painted heroes with their milquetoast surroundings, at one point showcasing an iconic scene where Brodie eats an ice cream cone with his sorority-girl love interest on a bench in a sunny city park. The humor is perhaps too graphic and sophomoric at times, and it's definitely one you'd want to avoid if your humor was more high-brow or if you're one who's easily offended. But let's be real: if that was the case, you likely wouldn't be a horror movie fan to begin with.

If I had one gripe at all it would be that Zakk is exceptionally unlikeable as a character. This is obviously the intent, however, so it's hardly a criticism worth making. Besides the audience's hope that Zakk gets impaled where the sun don't shine, there's almost nothing to complain about. Deathgasm is fantastic, and it's one that needs to be seen by every horror fan who can appreciate a film completely devoid of class. It's funny, heartwarming, and a bloody good time throughout. Check this one out immediately.

Who this movie is for: Horror comedy lovers, Gory horror fans, Retired musicians

Bottom line: If you haven't seen Deathgasm yet, you need to rectify that immediately. It's streaming now on Peacock, and you can do what I did and grab the fantastic (and gorgeously rad, especially if you get the limited black-and-white slipcover) blu-ray from Raven Banner Releasing. It's a truly stellar film, a near-perfect mix of crude humor, deliriously gory kills, and, of course, some kickass death metal. This is one that you simply cannot miss.

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