Deathgasm (Blu-ray)

More movies should have the “-gasm” suffix. Just imagine Predatorgasm, Inceptiongasm, or Casablancagasm.

Horror movies and heavy metal music have often been linked to one another. Many metal artists have contributed songs and even cameos to horror flicks over the years. For true fans, there’s a subgenre of horror that deals with metal, leading us to cinematic oddities like Trick ‘r Treat, Rockula, Dark Floors, and the series Todd and the Book of Pure Evil. Now from New Zealand comes another to add to that list—Deathgasm, which mashes metal with the macabre to get bloody results.

Brodie (Milo Cawthorne, Power Rangers R.P.M.) loves heavy metal and hates his boring small town. He has a crush on the beautiful blonde Medina (Kimberly Crossman, Power Rangers Samurai), and his only friends are a couple of D&D nerds. All this changes when Brodie meets the super-cool Zakk (James Blake), and they start their own metal band. After acquiring/stealing an unproduced song called the Black Hymn from a former celebrity rocker, the guys unknowingly unleash an army of demons onto their town. Can they save the day with the power of metal?

First things first: This horror comedy leans way over on the comedy side. The gags (emphasis on “gag”) are all about poking fun at the many absurdities of both horror and metal. The gore effects are mostly practical, and the blood and guts spew liberally. It’s not about having a lot of gore, but about the creators one-upping each other to see just how over-the-top each gore gag can be. There’s also a terrific running gag of ridiculous-sounding heavy metal band names, each one more outrageous than the next. Obviously this isn’t a movie for everyone, but if your sense of humor aligns with the horror/metal thing—and if you’re okay with it being spoofed—you’ll find a lot to laugh along with.

Between the jokes and the splatter, there are some nice character moments. The romance between Brodie and Medina starts out nicely, with one of the movie’s funniest sight gags as they enjoy an ice cream cone. Later, when Medina listens to metal and “gets it” for the first time, it’s a scene that metalheads will love. As the movie progresses, though, it sets up a Brodie-Medina-Zakk love triangle which goes into some uncomfortable places. The character arcs become all about Brodie versus Zakk, with the girl reduced to naught but something for the boys to fight over. For that matter, Zakk is inconsistent throughout the movie, constantly ping-ponging from best friend to antagonist and back again. You could argue that none of this matters when there are beheadings and guitar solos to be had, but the movie would be so much greater if these thorny character issues could have been made clearer.

Deathgasm (Blu-ray) has a lot of dark scenes, bathed in blacks and grim blues, and the Blu-ray maintains an excellent amount of detail and balance. This continues through the whole movie, with vibrant colors—including the red, red blood—and rich details. The 5.1 audio puts the emphasis on the music of course, and those guitars fill the room with their screeching. For extras, we’ve got a commentary with first-time director Jason Lei Howden, two interview featurettes, a special effects featurette, a music video from the band Bulletbelt, and the theatrical teaser and trailer.

Despite its flaws, Deathgasm works on a pure “roller coaster ride” level. It’s all big laughs, big gore, and big, big metal. Check it out.


Not guilty. Rock on!

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