It’s October. Time to talk horror. This year I’m reviewing a different horror movie each day of the month.
I said I’d probably stick to featuring older movies this month, but that’s only because I didn’t expect so many good-looking horror movies to be coming out while I was doing this feature.
Teenage metalhead Brodie has just moved in with his aunt and uncle on account of his mother being jailed for meth problems. His cousin is an obnoxious jock, who enjoys beating the snot out of outsiders like Brodie, and Brodie’s only two friends at his new school are a couple of tabletop roleplayers. When Brodie is caught pining over a beautiful classmate, his new friends tell him to dream on: chicks like that, they say, only go for assholes like Brodie’s moronic cousin.
Sound cliche? I’m sure it is, but I’m also doing a bad job of selling it. Deathgasm is quite aware that most of this stuff is familiar ground. Considering how often it steps outside the boundaries of a “normal” movie, maybe it’s a good thing it has these tropes to keep it anchored. Even at its most predictable, it’s still somehow fresh.
Brodie’s only refuge is the local record shop, which has a decent selection of heavy metal. It’s there Brodie meets Zakk, an older metalhead who’s been expelled from school. After bonding over albums, they decide to make a blood pact, napalm the schoolyard, and start a band called Deathgasm, which drives Brodie’s overly religious parents insane. During this time, Brodie almost manages to get the girl, who discovers a love for heavy metal she never knew she had. The moment she puts on the headphones, it awakens a sense of empowerment.
The earlier portions of the movie feel a little too much like Detention, which was an enjoyable if not scatterbrained movie that diluted its horror elements with a lot of… well, let’s just say “spoilery” stuff. But then Brodie and Zakk discover an ancient musical score which literally raises hell when played on their guitars, and the movie becomes unabashed horror, tossing Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson references left and right.
There are two kinds of a horror-comedies. The kind which makes fun of horror and the kind that has fun with horror. The second is preferable and that’s exactly what Deathgasm is—and it’s one of the best examples in a very long time. Some of the jokes are a little too obvious, but most of the time I was either smiling or outright laughing at the mayhem. Look, beating people to death with sex toys is old hat these days, but it’s the look on the characters’ faces that really sells it.
Deathgasm has some great actors, a lot of memorable characters, and bitchin’ filmmakers who will likely go on to bigger movies. Let’s just hope they retain what was awesome about them when they inevitably end up in Hollywood.
I don’t expect to see a better horror movie come out this year. Great horror, great comedy, great fantasy. Fuck yes.
Come back at midnight Central Time for the next movie.