It’s no shock that my favorite time period in horror is the seventies through the eighties. It was a time period that was a proving ground for Special FX artists and writers and directors who wanted to make the craziest and most original films they could possibly conceive. Contemporary films seem to try so hard to “ground” films into reality and anything crazy seems to be the “dumb” thing to do. Every once in a while, maybe every five or ten years there is a filmmaker who walks into town and bursts onto the scene with the most explosive and impressive first film ever! Jason Lei Howden is our godsend with buckets of blood, Dick decapitation, metal up your ass and insanely awesome monsters and gore effects! The man has influences in the film like Frank Frazetta, Slayer, Peter Jackson, Dario Argento and the New Zealand spirit that permeates crazy Kiwi horror films. This is without a doubt one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen and you are missing out on life if you haven’t seen it.
Brodie is a lonely metal head who is sent to live with his hardcore Christian Aunt and Uncle after his mom went on a Coke bender and tried to suck off a Santa Claus. Alone in the small New Zealand town constantly having to deal with his Uncle trying to convert him and his cousin beating the hell out of him, trying to get the attention of school hottie Medina, he finds friends two lowly D&D geeks and the one other fellow Metal head in town Zakk! Together the two bond in the brotherhood of steel with their love of metal and with the two D&D nerds form a band and call it DEATHGASM! Zakk and Brodie stumble across the home of legendary metal guitarist Rikki Daggers and find a page of music called the Black Hymn. Deathgasm plays the Black Hymn and accidentally unleashes demons upon the town. Demons are all around and its up to Deathgasm to stop them stop them with blades, booze and metal!
If you can’t tell watching this movie, Howden is a fan of Peter Jackson because between Demons getting their jaws torn off by dildos and other demons getting rammed in the ass by a chainsaw you can’t help but laugh at the clear love letter that is in front of you. The cast itself is amazing as not only is Lei Howden a fan of Peter Jackson but he also worked doing Weta Digital FX for the Hobbit films! Rikki Daggers is played by Stephen Ure who was the Orc that tried to eat Merry and Pippen in Lord of the Rings and Zakk is played by James Blake who was a stunt double for Thorin in the Hobbit! Zakk being the man able to take out demons with a beer bottle to the head while wearing his corpse war paint. Poor bastard had to drop an entire engine on his demon possessed dad, but as Zakk says, “Engine to the head. Just like he would’ve wanted to go.”
Brodie played by Milo Cawthorne is a former Green Ranger on Power Rangers and can be seen on Ash Vs Evil Dead season one! He is just such a damn misfit and listens to some of the coolest metal you’ve never heard of. When he listens to metal he closes his eyes and he can see himself in full Conan armor playing guitar (Frazetta influence) and looking badass on top of a mountain. Give this guy a chainsaw and a guitar with a drill on it as a weapon to slice up demons and you can’t help but love him. Kimberley Crossman plays Medina and she was also a Red Ranger in one of the Power Rangers shows. Her story arc is probably my favorite in the entire film. She goes from being a stereotypical damsel that everyone ogles into a badass axe wielding demon killer! After hearing metal for the first time she closes her eyes to see herself atop a mountain Frazetta style, holding an axe and having a bevy of beauties at her feet. She is one of the biggest badasses in the film saving the nerdier characters from certain death with her trusty axe. Brodie and Medina’s relationship is pretty funny when they start out sitting in the park eating ice cream, Brodie in corpse paint and Medina wearing a nice “church dress” with perfect juxtaposition. Brodie’s description of why metal is his passion just resonates so well and this is probably the best movie representation I’ve ever seen of that love which binds the two lovers.
Howden has the perfect amalgam of all of his loves shown on the screen here and he uses all different types of cameras and camerawork to convey these characters and their situations all the way to having a Deathgasm music video shot on a bad quality camera that you would find in your parents basement. The final forty or so minutes of the film are so gore filled and ridiculous with heads being removed from bodies with the spinal chord attached to bodies just being crushed. You also get to see the “darker” more wanton side of the “uber Christian” family that has a lot to hide from the world when they become demons. Lots and lots of dick massacres. So many phallic objects getting destroyed and it is ridiculously glorious. Howden is a sick beautiful bastard and I love him for it. His film is unlike anything you will ever see and we NEED more films from this guy. He is the next Jackson and Raimi. After you watch this, you will want him to do an episode of Ash Vs Evil Dead as much as I do. Brotherhood of Steel forever!
3 More Days Til Halloween! Halloween!
3 More Days Til Halloween! Silver Shamrock!