31 Days of Hell: Deathgasm (2015)

Michelle enjoys her first Deathgasm.

If there is one thing that New Zealand does right (other than Lord of the Rings and Flight of the Conchords) it's hilarious and gory horror flicks. Deathgasm follows in the footsteps of such films as Dead Alive,The Frighteners and Black Sheep as it continues the tradition of 'effed up yet funny as hell splatterfests. Jason Lei Howden makes his directorial debut with Deathgasm and it was an audience favorite at Austin's South by Southwest film festival.

"Sweet Force lightning, bro."
The film follows the adventures of a couple of high school metal heads who are trying to start a death metal band. They inadvertently summon demons (pretty damn brutal, I would say) and have to figure out a way to stop the monsters before they destroy the small town they reside in. Truth be told, the storyline isn't that complex or subtle though it moves briskly. The writing is snarky with lots of black humor thrown around in between (and sometimes during) the horror scenes. Overall, I would say the story is above average compared to the majority of horror films and for the most part it's entertaining.

What sets this film apart from other indie horror movies is the heavy metal music motif. Both of the main characters Brodie (Milo Cawthorn) and Zakk (James Blake) embody all of the common metal clichés: long hair, studded leather jackets, combat boots, denim vests with patches on them--the works. Luckily, it doesn't come off as contrived though a couple of the references fall flat. The music is spot on with lots of bands contributing songs to the soundtrack. If you are a fan of heavy metal you will definitely enjoy the tune-age in this film.

"This ice cream tastes like death."
Now here comes the best part of Deathgasm: lots and lots of blood and guts! Once the demons are unleashed, all hell breaks loose...literally! Demons vomit blood all over their victims, gouge out eyeballs, tear out intestines and all sorts of other ghastly things. It's awesome! Almost all of it is done with practical effects and props too--this is seriously some outstanding work in this movie. The term "splatstick" has been coined to describe the type of disturbing and funny mayhem that New Zealand horror films are famous for. Gorehounds will be incredibly pleased with the gore in this movie.

What stands out the most to me about this film is the obvious love that went into making it.  The director has stated that he was an outcast metal head growing up, so that experience influenced the direction he took Deathgasm. It harkens back to '80s horror films that didn't take themselves so seriously and weren't afraid to throw in a joke every once in awhile. I predict that this film will become a cult classic in a decade or so.


-Michelle Kisner

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