Brace yourself for 90 minutes of sheer awesome as Jason Lei Howden offers a horrifically hilarious Canadian Premiere to the Fantasia Festival’s screens. Deathgasm, a New Zealand satire on slasher films, metal heads and cheesy coming of age high school movies, gives viewers an extreme fusion of the absurd with the grotesque.
As audience members excitedly file in the J. A. de Sève Theatre for one of the last screenings of this year’s edition of Fantasia, the dark sound of Metallica entrancingly fills the room – naturally foreshadowing the riveting soundtrack to come. Indeed, Howden’s song selection harmonizes perfectly with the film’s bloodbath – indulge in high intensity tracks by bands with theatrical names such as Nunslaughter, Emperor and Axeslasher. The opening credits gloriously introduce the movie with some solid animation involving a lot of blood, guts and artsy stuff. And then the movie kicks off with our metal head main protagonist, Brodie, moving in with his religious fanatic of an uncle because his mother was sent to the loony bin – for publicly offering a fellatio to a shopping mall Santa. Thankfully, the cheap sexual humour ahead is sparse enough not to actually ruin the quality of Deathgasm.
Brodie launches his new life by founding a band involving two D&D addicts that mercilessly reinforce all geek clichés and Zakk, the buff and “bad-ass” metal head. DEATHGASM – all capitalized because “lower-case letters are for pussies” – starts off as a bit of a joke of a band that plagiarizes Kiss’s makeup and unwittingly hails “Satin”. However, things get serious once the band accidentally summons the satanic Blind One through their music, inadvertently turning their town’s inhabitants into eyeless demons… Welcome to a universe where 20-year old metal heads go on ice cream dates with innocent blondes, and angelic schoolgirls nonchalantly cut people in half by wielding giant axes. A universe where anal beads get mistaken for rosaries, and giant dildos are maneuvered in self-defence against horrifying monsters. A universe that defies all laws of physics, with blood squirting yards away from bodies, and spines getting yanked out of people in the blink of an eye. Be prepared for an apocalyptic world of phallic symbols, leather jackets and fake blood, all casually taken in by very desensitized protagonists. Despite the humorous twist that death and tragedy seem to be taking on, the harrowing conclusion of this piece may still draw tears from sensitive viewers.
Thanks to Brodie’s brooding dark beauty (Milo Cawthorne is a sex bomb), Deathgasm remains engrossing till its very end. Seductive New Zealand accents, a witty script and glamorous fake gore make for quite the gripping slasher film. However, one must not forget the meaningful moral of the story: religious fanatics are absolutely right about how dangerously demonic heavy metal is… And be weary of the elaborate sex toys devotional zealots may be hiding in their cupboards.
Best Quote: The Blind One to his Executioners: “Come on guys, you just ruined my carpet! Behead him again, on a tarp.”