Deathgasm – VIFF 2015 Review


If you’re of the belief that Kiwi splatter comedies have been beaten to death, then consider writer/director Jason Lei Howden’s Deathgasm a resurrection. Speaking straight to the outcast and ill at ease in us all, Howden heaves this mettlesome, indelicate and scatological midnight movie masterpiece all over us, and it’s a satiating mess.

Combining the crude fanboy nobility of Bill and Ted with the stomach-churning carnage of Dead Alive, Deathgasm gives its niche audience multiple malicious climaxes.

Brodie (Milo Cawthorne), a serious heavy metal fan, is the new kid in town, his mom having recently been institutionalized following a lewd drug-induced incident with a shopping mall Santa, sends him to live with his pious Uncle Albert (Colin Moy) and Aunt Mary (Jodie Rimmer), who, in Brodie’s words are both “balls deep into Jesus.”

Things are grim for our compromised hero, not only does he have a hard time at school fitting in, talking to girls, and all that rot, but his cousin David (Nick Hoskins-Smith), relentlessly bullies him and his Dungeons and Dragons adoring friends, Giles (Daniel Cresswell) and Dion (Sam Berkley).

It’s not long before Brodie meets bad-boy and kindred spirit Zakk and they decide to form a metal band, the titular Deathgasm – though they almost opt for “Zombie Unicorn” – and Brodie’s self-esteem somewhat bolsters.

At Zakk’s insistence they break into a creepy old house on the outskirts of town, rumored to be the estate of reclusive metal legend, Rikki Daggers (Stephen Ure). Not only do they come face-to-face with their idol, they make off with some of his sheet music, adorned with strange occult sigils and such, and it turns out that it’s actually a demon summoning incantation wanted by a dangerous cult.

When Deathgasm jams to the music all hell literally breaks loose and it’s up to the band, with the assistance of Medina (Kimberley Crossman), a babe Brodie is crushing hard over, to do battle with the demons, save the town, sodomize a few baddies with chainsaws, that sort of thing.

Epitomizing mannerist and self-reflexive humor along with diverse displays of gross-out gags, Deathgasm moves at a furious pace. It’s outrageous premise, brisk, boisterous action, and dexterous blending of gags and gore make for great character-based comedy.

Destined for cult status, Deathgasm’s hyperbolic, fluid-spewing violence is a morbid revelry – what other film offers up a slo mo assault on demons with an ebony dildo and a string of anal beads? – and with rapid-fire quotable quips and put-downs that are laugh-out-loud funny, this is a film meant for repeat group viewings.

It’s a rude and irresistible romp, probably the first in a franchise, offering the finest and silliest slapstick-gore since Evil Dead 2. Howden’s imagination is an absurd, grotesque, and metal-attuned Eldorado that doubles as a generous gift for gorehounds. See it twice.

Taste of Cinema Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)