Metal-thrashing Brodie is an outcast in a sea of jocks and cheerleaders until he meets a kindred spirit in fellow metalhead Zakk. After starting their own band, Brodie and Zakk’s resentment of the suburban wasteland leads them to a mysterious piece of sheet music said to grant Ultimate Power to whoever plays it. But the music also summons an ancient evil antity known as Aeloth The Blind One, who threatens to tear apart existence itself. Their classmates and family become inhabited by demonic , tearing out their own eyes and turning into psychotic murders… and this is only the beginning! It’s up to Brodie, Zakk and their group of friends to stop a of pure evil from devouring all of mankind.
A blood-soaked and hilarious horror comedy, Deathgasm features an amazing original soundtrack of fist-banging metal and practical effects to satisfy metalheads and splatter fans alike. Deathgasm will gush bodily fluids, rain limbs and tickle your funny bone, before tearing it out and giving you a stiff beating with it.
eyelights: its mixture of respect and spoof of the metal subculture. its campy quality. its creative gore effects.
eyesores: its niche appeal.
“Brotherhood of Steel forever!”
Let’s be honest: metal is a silly genre. Though I’m a fan of some somewhat intense metal bands, I recognize just how farcical their oft-extreme convictions may appear to outsiders. In fact, it also looks quite ridiculous to me much of the time.
I guess I’m just not hardcore enough.
‘This is Spinal Tap’ is probably the ultimate spoof of the genre, or any genre, basking as it does in the glorious absurdity of the scene during the early ’80s, quite possibly its goofiest period. Since then, metal has become very aggressive, abrasive.
But, somehow, ‘Deathgasm’ manages to make light of it in such a way that it’s both ridiculed and revered at the same time. It was clearly made by a metalhead for metalheads. Think ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure‘ crossed with ‘Shaun of the Dead‘.
Um… ‘Shaun of the Death Metal’?
Released in 2015, this New Zealand indie film tells the story of a bunch of high school outcasts who put together a garage band – which they brand Deathgasm. Entrusted with some ancient sheet music, they unwittingly use its power to raise Hell.
Its key focus is Brodie, a teenager who has been forced to live with his religious zealot uncle after his meth-addled mother is institutionalized. Picked on by his cousin, with no friends, and in a new school, he finds escape through his music: metal.
But opportunities arise when he discovers Alien Records, the only cool place in that small town, and meets his new best friend, Zakk, a troublemaker who also digs metal. Together with Dion and Giles, a couple of D&D geeks, they start the band.
And they’re quite a band: Zakk is the most intense of the lot, taking the leadership on bass, whereas Brodie awkwardly tries to noodle on the guitar, and Dion tries his hardest to be a bad@$$ on the keyboard. Giles fits nicely behind the drum kit.
They’re total wannabes, as many teenage musicians are, trying to emulate their idols, and so they come up with a series of ever more outrageous band names (ex: Murder Boner or Maggot Sperm) until Zakk finally decides to impose Deathgasm on the group.
They only get into a groove after getting ahold of the sheet music – which they naturally turn into Deathgasm songs. Their first video, “Intestinal Bungee Jump” is a riot of teen posturing with instruments in the woods and goofing off for the camera.
The whole picture is edited with gimmicky techniques and is peppered with flashes of animated metal awesomeness – which, frankly, make it a lot of fun. But it’s all very nichey stuff, which mostly only metal fans or hardcore music fans will dig.
Though it was very brief, I really enjoyed seeing the metal fantasy world that Brodie finds himself in when he listens to his tunes: in it, he’s a powerful warrior striking a pose on top of a mountain. It speaks to the power of music to transport us.
The rest of the picture devolves in a similar vein as ‘Shaun of the Dead’, in that it’s mostly a tale of survival against roving, soulless zombies, and saving the world from doom and damnation – with touches of silly humour to lighten the proceedings.
I mean, why use records to kill zombies when you can use sex toys (in what is probably the most ridiculous scene in the film)? And why arm yourself with a cricket bat when you can wear Hulk Smash Hands (we are talking about geeks, after all!)?
One of my favourite such moment comes when Medina, Brodie’s love interest, shows up with an axe, taking care of a zombie with all the baddassery you would expect from a kick@$$ movie chick – she’s a girly-girl in transition into someone much cooler.
And while that subplot and Aeloth’s attempt to stop Deathgasm before they play the incantations backwards sober up the picture, it doesn’t lose any of its zest and cheekiness along the way. And it doesn’t play by the rules: expect the unexpected.
So I’d certainly recommend ‘Deathgasm’ though it’s got an intentionally silly name; it’ll no doubt resonate with anyone who gets what the picture is going for. It’s a love letter to metal that also sees the humour in it – and true metal fans will totally dig it.
Date of viewing: September 14, 2016