0084_Deathgasm_DVD_sleeve.inddA heavy metal horror film, should be right up our street. However past experiences of the limited sub-genre have proved this is not necessarily going to be the case. The problem being \\\metal/// per-se sets itself up for ridicule and parody which can be rather annoying for those who worship it for life. Also let’s face it other examples of mixing the two elements have been rather shite! Think if you can bear to of ‘Black Roses’ a 1988 abomination by John Fasano, or how about ‘Rock n Roll Nightmare’ which he was also responsible for, allowing the ‘mighty’ Thor to really ham it up on screen. Then there’s 1986’s ‘Trick Or Treat’ from Charles Martin Smith which also gave screen-time to Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne and as anyone who has seen it will surely contest was utter dreck. Some may fondly remember Swedish stalk and slasher ‘Blood Tracks’ from 1985 which was as unintentionally amusing as they come but I doubt anyone will admit to thinking Troma’s ‘Heavy Mental: A Rock N Roll Bloodbath’ was anything but pure unmitigated trash. I could keep on dredging up other celluloid smears but you should get the picture (or hopefully won’t and go looking up some of these and blaming me). Slightly more favourable though is the fact that Deathgasm is a New Zealand horror comedy something that thanks to the fantastic efforts of Peter Jackson with Bad Taste, Meet The Feebles and Braindead has proven its worth. Laying down silliness in spades with the likes of Black Sheep and even a damn good mockumentary with the recent ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ as groundwork I had high hopes that one main facet of this film would counteract the other and thankfully on the whole it did.


We meet lone metal-head Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) who thanks to his mother being incarcerated for nefarious crimes is hoisted upon his god-fearing uncle and aunt and jock of a cousin to live. The town seems pleasant enough if you are prepared to fit in but if you don’t its bully central at school and Brodie gets a grim old time of it. Hooking up with a couple of equally disenfranchised role play geeks things are not getting much better but at least the piss soaking from the school jocks gets shared around a bit more fairly. The local record shop has a surprisingly good selection however and there Brodie bonds with local metal delinquent Zakk (James Blake) over a shared appreciation of Autopsy and before long a band Deathgasm is borne. An encounter with a member of a local highly regarded and retired occult metal group sees the guys laying their hands on some strangely written music and once they manage to play it in their garage strange things start happening to both them and the local populace, cue lots of vomiting blood. We are back in the realm of ‘The Devil’s Tritone’ that piece of diabolical music that legend has it could pretty much be responsible for opening the gates of hell. OK it’s not a particularly original plot and bears similarities to the aforementioned Trick Or Treat, Luigi Cozzi’s ‘Paganini Horror’ and of course Rob Zombie’s ‘Lords Of Salem.’ However in another time honoured tradition Deathgasm succeeds with the formula of throwing stacks of gore at lack of originality and this is where the film really comes into its own.


To say the splatter comes in every direction once the townsfolk are transformed into ‘demons’ (makes a change from zombies) would not be an understatement. Our four heroes along with straight girl Medina (Kimberley Crossman) adopted into their clique due to sudden exposure and love of proper music set out to carve the town up with a variety of homemade weaponry and with devil worshippers plotting the downfall of mankind and some slight cases of possession the jobs gonna be a bloody one. This one would never have got a 15 certificate under Ferman’s watch that’s for sure. The natural question is will they survive and will you recover from the watching the best scenes involving fights with sex aids since ‘The Texas Vibrator Massacre’? More importantly are you going to have enough beers to get to the end of the film?


If the answer is yes you are no doubt going to love this. Of course a liking of heavy metal is going to help although is not a necessity. Speaking of which the soundtrack here ain’t half bad and throws out the well-known likes of both Emperor and Ihsahn into the mix as well as Midnight, Nunslaughter and some home grown NZ acts like Bulletbelt, Razorwyre and Beastwars. As for first time director Jason Leigh Howden naturally you are going to want to know if he is a bone fide metaller or an outsider looking in? Well a bit of digging reveals that it’s the former, so no death to false metal accusations need to be pointed in his direction. One bit of trivia and stupidity from America that really amused me is that Walmart insisted on changing the film title to ‘Heavy Metal Apocalypse’ as you are not allowed to have a gasm in a family store. The Pentagram on the cover also got removed but a gun was naturally allowed! As far as the UK is concerned it’s available uncut on DVD and Blu-Ray in more sensible stores on the 29th February. Go check it out.

(Pete Woods)