Deathgasm

DG4

When Brodie and Zakk decided to start a Heavy Metal band, they expected fame, money, and groupies, but the last thing they expected was dealing with the demonically possessed zombies that used to be their friends and family.

I never got the heavy metal is evil or demonic thing. I mean, I understand that it’s loud, many bands use demonic imagery, and there’s foul language, but it’s not like the devil was playing a power ballad when he tempted Eve (though can you imagine how awesome early Christian imagery would have been if he had). Demons have way better ways of getting to people, and part of the fun for them is the chase. Why would they come at you through the most obvious of methods when they can relish the thrill of the hunt by tempting people through things nobody would suspect of being demonic? Demons like to be little temptation ninjas, always coming from the most unexpected places, so you’re more likely to find demonic influence in a DC Talk record than by rocking out to Dio. Besides, if you really want to be afraid of a music demons love, be afraid of the Blues. The denizens of hell are huge fans because there is no music on earth as brutal, as dark, or as soul crushing as the blues. It’s a powerful music that reaches into our deepest core to express all the worst, most wicked emotions we hide , it reflects the utter devastation of loss we experience throughout our lives, and it lays bare the pain we feel inside. It’s the darkest music a person can come across, and demons love it, so if you’re trying to avoid demonic music, blast that heavy metal all you want, you’ll be fine, but be careful when you start playing some BB King, you never know who, or what, might show up to listen in. Also, Sid and Marty Krofft songs, demons have a thing for H.R. Pufnstuf.

Our story begins with a young metal head named Brodie. Poor Brodie has had his entire life turned upside down thanks to his mother who went on a meth bender that, like nearly any bender, did not end well. Being as his father passed away several years ago, Brodie is sent to live with his ultra-religious uncle who sees the young man’s musical choices as the influence of Satan himself. While dealing with his uncle’s paranoia at home, Brodie has to deal with his cousin David at school. David is a massive prick who seems to delight in tormenting school nerds Giles and Deon, and when Brodie steps in to protect them, he erns the ire of his cousin as well. Though things are bleak for the young heavy metal fan, he does have two bright spots in his life, the girl of his dreams, Medina, and a local record store where he meets fellow metal head Zakk. The pair, along with Giles and Deon, eventually decide to start a heavy metal band of their own, and in need of some inspiration, Brodie and Zakk break into the dilapidated home of former rock idol Rikki Daggers who disappeared years prior. The eventful break in is somewhat successful as they’re able to leave with a record case containing mysterious sheet music and a Latin phrase that none of them are able to translate. Ignoring the Latin, the group play the music which has a mysterious effect on anyone in the vicinity, turning them into ravenous demons intent on spreading their demonic infection further. With the town in chaos and a mysterious man named Aeon attempting to take control of the demonic horde, New Zealand’s newest heavy metal band is all that stands between salvation and a world controlled by the damned.

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{They got the secret handshake down}

I’m always a little worried whenever I notice heavy metal music, or at least the fans of said music, is going to be portrayed in a film. Not because I dislike metal, I happen to be a fan myself even if I couldn’t tell you what the difference is between the eighty or so variations they have now, but because I get tired of the stereotypical metal head being little more than an angry asshole really into leather jackets and long hair or Metalocalypse style bad asses. Metal fans tend to come in a wide variety of flavors (doom metal fans taste the best), something Deathgasm did great in representing with an excellent cast that emphasized how different the fans of metal can be. Sure, Zakk is basically what you’d expect, an antisocial asshole with a chip on his shoulder and a massive violent streak, but Brodie is a responsible kid stuck in a bad situation while Giles and Deon are absolute nerds who love playing Dungeons and Dragons (so basically the people I’d be hanging out with). It was kind of nice to see someone actually put effort into creating characters that just happened to be metal fans instead of falling back on tired stereotypes and giving the audience a bunch of cardboard cutouts of what filmmakers think of metal fans. I loved the work they did with the characters presented, from the ones I cared for to the ones I hated (David is a real dick that I felt like knocking out every time he was on screen). On top of the characters being well written, the dialogue was excellent as well, even the parts where they’re all just standing around talking about nothing in particular were interesting. Not that the great character development was the only good thing about Deathgasm, wasn’t even my favorite thing about the movie, but it was a relief that to have my worry turn out to be unfounded. What was my favorite thing you ask? That would be the effects.

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{#notallmetalheads}

The FX artists involved in Deathgasm should be commended for how amazing the effects and makeup turned out. Not only is there a plethora of blood and gore (at one point a body that just lost its head shoots more blood than a body could possibly hold), but it looks terrific and even realistic, this despite some of the outrageous deaths that occurred. A demonic zombie has its face sawed off, another is beaten to death (or redeath I guess) with his own severed limbs, and a pair are offed in one of the funniest fight scenes this side of a Naked Gun flick (hint: it involves a bunch of overly large dildos and an extremely religious couple). As much as the creative deaths impressed me, what really showed the dedication of the FX artists were the little things that most films would have just powered through without much effort. There is a scene where someone has their earring ripped right out of their ear, it’s just a few seconds and not much more, but it still looks great. It’s not something that looks like a cheap, fake prop, but an actual mangled ear that would have fooled anyone. I loved that they put so much work into every one of their effects, both the major scenes and the little bits, all done with the finesse of an artist. Even the things we’ve all see dozens of times, slit throats, severed heads, etc., look amazing and extremely realistic. It’s not just the bloody, kind of fun deaths that impressed me either, the makeup work for the demonic undead is equally as impressive. The demonic zombies reminded me a lot of Evil Dead’s deadites, both in how they acted (twisted, and sometimes excitable, versions of the people they were) and how they spread (one possessed person attacks and “infects” another who is then possessed themselves), but their looks were another matter. In that respect they were closer to much better looking versions of the demons in the Italian classic Demons. Blood running from orifices, faces distorted into horrific parodies, and all manner of demonic manipulation mark these zombies, and to make things even better, no two look exactly alike.

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{No amount of Visine is fixing that}

Deathgasm was an excellent flick, a movie that kind of reminded me of a heavy metal Scott Pilgrim if Scott Pilgrim got an R rating and followed him killing a bunch of zombies, so probably not like that at all, but it was a comparison that stuck in my head for some reason. This is one I’d highly recommend to any zombie movie lover or any heavy metal fan looking for a gory good time. Before I go, let me leave a little rumor I came across. Supposedly, because of precise editing, the film syncs up perfectly with Iron Maiden’s “Live After Death.” If anyone tries this out, I’d be curious to know your experience.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Jason Lei Howden

Starring: Milo Cawthorne (Blood Punch, Power Rangers R.P.M), James Blake, and Kimberly Crossman (Bad Fruit, Stranger in a Strange Land)

Written By: Jason Lei Howden

Released By: Dark Sky Films, Metalheads, MPI Media Group, and Timpson Films

Release Year: 2015

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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