We started our festival out with a sonic boom of METAL at the midnight screening of Deathgasm. It was all the title promised and more. An oddly sweet, extremely gory horror comedy made in New Zealand, Deathgasm is the story of teenage metalhead Brodie who is forced to live with his repressive, holy roller aunt and uncle and his nasty bully cousin in a dull suburban backwater. Life seems hopelessly grim for Brodie until he meets his new best friend, Zakk, while perusing the heavy metal record bins at the local music store. The two form a heavy metal band, the titular Deathgasm, with a couple of D&D playing nerds and proceed to rock out, albeit badly at first. Brodie also falls hard for beautiful teen queen Medina, who discovers both her own love of heavy metal and, as it turns out, her incredible natural skill with an axe as the film progresses. The boys in the band inadvertently end up summoning horrifying demons from the black beyond when they play a musical score that Zakk and Brodie stole from metal legend Rikki Daggers, who they discover hiding out in a derelict cabin on the edge of town. Soon most of the townspeople are possessed and out for blood and it’s up to our metalheads to save the world from hell on earth.

Why should you see this film? Here’s a handy bullet-pointed list. Or you can think of it as a metal-studded list:

  • Made in New Zealand, the ancestral home of horror-comedies, including Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive and the recent rave Things We Do in the Shadows – kiwis just do blood-soaked hilarity better than anyone else. I blame the sheep.
  • Buckets of bloody gore and lots of practical effects harkening back to the best B-pictures of the past. Spines will be ripped from bodies. Gouts of blood will be vomited. Heads will be split in two like so much kindling. Half the budget for the film went to laundry detergent.
  • The horrifying hilarity of improvised weaponry including tricked out weed whackers and the clever use of a box of illicit sex toys to fend off demon-possessed corpses. You will never look at anal pleasure beads or a rabbit vibe in quite the same way again. Shudder.
  • Oddly sweet interpersonal relationships between the main characters and a strong female lead who kicks plenty of undead demon butt.
  • Did I mention the METAL!

If you want to catch this rocking gore fest, you’re in luck as it is playing one more time during the festival, on the very last day, June 7!  More info: http://www.siff.net/festival-2015/deathgasm

Four Horns Up!