Movie Review: DEATHGASM


BY: TJ Fowler

                ‘DETHGASM!  Because lower case is for Pussies!’ And that is the kind of the main ideology for the movie DEATHGASM. It’s go big or go home.  At its heart, DEATHGASM is a horror movie for metal fans by metal fans that embrace both the good…and admittedly bad aspects of the metal genre.  But for all the clichés that DEATHGASM embraces about heavy metal they do so in such a way that you can’t help but love this film both for its love of metal and its love of horror.

The movie centers around high school, heavy metal reject and Alexi Laiho look-a-like, Brodie who gets shipped off to live with his religious uncle and family after his methed out mom goes to jail for trying to give a mall Santa a Blow Job. Upon arrival, it is clear Brodie is NOT going to fit in with his straight laced relatives or his punk ass cousin who is a total twat.  If that was not bad enough, Brodie doesn’t exactly have a good school life either by getting in trouble with his math teacher by drawing heavy metal cartoons of him get killed in all kinds of heavy metal horrific ways and just in general not being very well liked.  Brodie does however befriend two Dungeons and Dragons players, Dion and Giles, who get tormented by Brodie’s cousin David just as much as Brodie does.  After being bored to tears by trying to play a D&D game with Giles and Dion, Brodie heads to the local record store where he encounters Zakk, a fellow metal head who is into all the same obscure metal bands as Brodie, like HaxanSword!

After an awkward moment of holding a Poison record, Zakk teams up with Brodie and when he asks Brodie if he wants to get into some serious shit…he doesn’t mean a D&D game.  He means getting involved in some criminal activity, like drugs, vandalism and home invasion.  This is one aspect of the ‘heavy metal cliché’ I think the movie embraced a little too much.   The film makers want to portray Zakk as the archetype metal dude but in many ways I felt the Zakk character was really kind of a turd, especially to Brodie who was his friend.  This is probably my one biggest gripe with the movie.  I really don’t think the archetype metal character always has to be portrayed as a felonious, law breaking backstabber.  For years, metal fans have always fought the stigma that conformist society tires to portray them as, which is some kind of criminal or violent offender with no moral compass whatsoever.  Basically Zakk is everything the PMRC said heavy metal music would turn your child into.  And the film makers have Zakk play right into that a little too much which I felt was one of the few mistakes the movie made. To the point I never liked Zakk at all as a character much.  But let’s get back to the movie as whole shall we.

So after we have our core group of friends established, they all decide to start a band and after a lot of crazy dethsuggestions for band names, like Cannibal Unicorns,  Zakk says the name of the band is going to be, ‘DETHGASM because lower case is for pussies!’  So they begin to rehearse and in typical fashion…they kind of suck…well I should say Brodie kind of sucks or at least has stage fright.  During breaks in the band’s practice time Brodie becomes interested in his cousin’s girlfriend Medina who begins to show interest back and they share an ice cream cone after the band’s video shoot (where Dion jerks off a sword pommel) with Brodie in corpse paint and full metal outfit and Medina looking like the girl next door…true metal love. Brodie shares his metal love with Medina and lets her borrow a CD which quickly converts her to the metal way!   Also during the band’s down time, Zakk takes Brodie on a home invasion adventure…which really looks like they are breaking into some derelict house out in the middle of nowhere.

This is where we start getting into the main story of the movie.  Inside Zakk reveals this is where Rick Daggers, the singer of Haxensword, has been hiding out since the late 80’s. This part of the movie reminds me a bit of the 80’s movie ‘The Gate’ and how they incorporated the fictitious band Sacrifyx in the story and how their music would help summon demons into the world. When Brodie finds this out he gets super excited and they actually find Daggers passed out on an old couch in one of the rooms clutching an ultra-rare Haxensword vinyl record.  Zakk of course is there to steal the record but only awakens Daggers who calls the would be thieves occultists.  They claim they are only metal heads and are fans of HaxanSword.  Once Daggers finds out that his location has been disclosed in an indie metal magazine…he gives the record to the metal heads and tells them to get out and protect it with their life.  It just so happens there is a big time cult out there searching for Daggers and his occult artifact hidden in the record and their assassin just arrives after reading the same metal zine that Zakk does. Zakk and Brodie escape just in time…Daggers is not so fortunate.

After Brodie and Zakk escape they find out it that they didn’t really get a rare Haxensword record, it was a Rick Astley record, but inside was an old parchment with a song written on it in Latin.

This turns out to be the ‘Black Hymn’ which, when played, will summon a demon to the Earth who will then possess the most evil person in the nearby area at 3am on the morning of the blood moon.  At first the guys don’t know this so they just try to play the song…Brodie has a stage fright incident again and they mess up the song but it is apparent that something strange happens when you try to play the tune.

So Brodie goes back to school and gets the ever loving shit beat out of him by his cousin David for talking to his girlfriend Medina, Zakk also takes a dump on Brodie by not telling him Medina is interested in him when she leaves a message with Zakk to pass to Brodie and instead cock blocks Brodie to mess around with Medina himself, though Brodie doesn’t know this at the time.  So at this point Brodie is pretty pissed and goes about translating the ‘Black Hymn’ where he discovers the true meaning of the song.  To summon up the King of Demons and that whoever does so will get great power.  So he takes the song back to the band and this time they get it right…as a result they all pass out from and evil overload and the entire neighborhood gets possessed…Evil Dead style. This is where DEATHGASM really gets to rolling.

As the town succumbs to the evil onslaught from the demon world, Zakk and Brodie are dealing with the demon invasion in their own way while Giles, Dion and newly metal convert Medina are dealing with it on their own.  Meanwhile the demon cult shows up, pledges its allegiance to the demon who, ironically is now using Brodie’s cousin as its temporary mouthpiece and  instructs the (new) cult leader to  find the Black Hymn and destroy it before the band can replay the song and send the demon back to whatever hell it got unleashed from.

We see battles with blind demons (who were once Brodie’s uncle and aunt) being fought with dildos and anal beads, we see battles with a dual wielding, chainsaw brandishing, corpse painted Zakk we see a cultist get some metal up their ass…literally, and we get to see a hot cultist chick get naked.  As the battles rage on we see friends and foes alike die in very…horrendous ways.  The demons in the movie are obviously inspired directly from Evil Dead in how they act and move…they even say they will swallow Brodie’s soul.  During all of this we also see a falling out between Zakk and Brodie which anyone who watches the movie will see coming a mile away and then also Zakk return to redeem himself.  Despite this, I still think Zakk is an utter turd.

DEATHGASM truly is a movie for the heavy metal fan.  The director Jason Lei Howden is obviously a heavy metal fan and it shows in this movie both in how he showcases metal in the movie visually but also with the soundtrack.  Instead of trying to put in well-known acts in his movie, Howden does a great job of infusing the soundtrack with current and fresh bands.  My favorite being Skullfist, of which I was already aware but also many other bands I didn’t know about like Bulletbelt who are from New Zealand where the movie was filmed.  I hope they have plans on releasing the soundtrack as it should be a purchase for any metal fan.  Howden also does a fantastic job with the humor in this film; some is subtle, like the ‘Hail Satin’ vandalism misspelling to the over the top demon battles, with dildos.

While I think DEATHGASM clutches certain stereotypes a little too tightly for its own good the movie truly does offer not only a fun watch for horror fans but also it is a gem for metal fans as well as it mixes parts of horror movies from the 80’s like The Gate, Evil Dead and Dead Alive and mixes it all together with a dose of funny humor and a BIG dose of FUCKING METAL!

Get it, watch it and rock it!  HAIL SATIN!


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