Film Review: Deathgasm



One of the more prominent scenes in Deathgasm involves a fight scene between the protagonists and a couple who are possessed by demons. Loud metal music (Beastwars and 8 Foot Sativa) plays in the background and our heroes need to resort to using sex toys as weapons to defend themselves against their attackers.

This is probably enough information for you to decide whether Deathgasm will suit your taste or not.

The film begins with lead character Brodie moving to a small backwater town to after his mum was institutionalised due to a wild meth-fueled bender. His relatives don’t approve of his bogan music tastes, and he and his friends are ruthlessly picked on by his cousin, the school bully.

After a run in with an infamous long-lost frontman of a metal band he adores, Brodie acquires sheet music that summons a demon when it is played – think the musical equivalent of Evil Dead’s Book of the Dead. And of course, once this happens Brodie and his bogan buddies need to figure out a way to fight what they’ve unleashed.

Black Sabbath, the original metal pioneers, invented their new sound after inspiration from watching horror movies, so it’s only natural that the horror and metal genres marry so perfectly. And New Zealand is such a bogan nation that it’s impossible not to relate to the humour of it all. Tenacious D’s The Pick of Destiny, or the Bill and Ted movies are similar in some ways, but Deathgasm manages to do funny without being as lame. Ridiculous, sure, but not desperate.

It’s the realism that is key here. Lei Howden admits that most of the characters – awkward, violent, heavy metal loving youths – are based on himself in some way or another. They’re crass, but they’re also believable.

Mind you, this is only the characters. The guy who loves his Holden more than his friends is believable. The nerds who play role-playing games during lunch are believable. They’re funny, too. But it’s the insanely unbelievable splatter and gore that pushes the humour to the next level, like in Peter Jackson’s early films Braindead and Bad Taste.

Blood and guts and chainsaws and axes all feature by the bucketful. Lei Howden’s background is in visual effects so expect plenty of gratuitous fluids onscreen. The combination of horror and comedy can be pretty risky, but producer Ant Timpson was at the helm, and the end result works brilliantly, like other films he’s worked on such as Housebound and another current NZIFF film Turbo Kid.

Your mum will probably hate this film. But then again, she probably hates heavy metal too. And isn’t that half the point of listening to it?

Deathgasm is an extremely inappropriate assault on the senses. But if you enjoy over-the-top horror films and identify as a metal head then I doubt you’ll mind.


Joseph James