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Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Release Date: 
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Directed by: 
Jason Lei Howden
Milo Cawthorne
James Blake
Kimberly Crossman
Daniel Cresswell
Sam Berkley
Bottom Line: 

Everyone knows that horror and heavy metal music go together like cheese and crackers. Hell, without the horror genre, I truly doubt that metal would even exist at all, at least not in the form we know and love. From band names and song titles to imagery and theatrics, heavy metal acts have long farmed the fertile soil of the horror genre for ideas and inspiration, so it makes sense that, on occasion, horror filmmakers would turn the tables, so to speak, and use the music as inspiration for their films. We’ve seen rock zombies being fought off by a punk rock band (Wild Zero), demonic attacks on recording studios (Rock and Roll Nightmare), Satan-worshipping rock stars terrorizing fans from beyond the grave (Trick or Treat), and even a touring ghost band (Black Roses). All of these movies “rocked” to varying degrees, but none with the face-melting ferocity and side-splitting humor of 2015’s New Zealand death metal splatter opus, Deathgasm.

Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) is a metal misfit who finds himself forced upon his super-straitlaced uncle’s family after his mother is institutionalized. Tasked with not only trying to fit in with a new family that represents everything he despises, Brodie also has to contend with going to a new school where he and the other outsiders find themselves bullied by the cousin with whom he lives. It’s a tough situation, for sure, but Brodie’s got his music, and, with his equally metal new friend Zakk (James Blake) - as well as recently initiated metalheads Giles (Daniel Cresswell) and Dion (Sam Berkley) - Brodie finds an outlet, starting a new band, Deathgasm, in his uncle’s garage.

The band is fairly terrible, and definitely missing a certain something, so Zakk convinces Brodie to break into a rundown flat where one-time death metal great, Rikki Daggers, is rumored to be squatting. It’s here that Brodie and Zakk discover hastily scrawled sheet music for what they think is an unfinished piece of music that Daggers has been hiding. While a clearly mad Daggers flies into a paranoid rage, another “fan” shows up looking for the sheet music, and Daggers gives the music to Brodie and Zakk and tells them to protect it. Instead, however, they decide to play the mysterious song themselves, unwittingly awakening a demonic force that threatens to take over the world.

Jason Lei Howden’s Deathgasm is an oftentimes hilarious, over-the-top violent, and surprisingly heartfelt entry into the horror/comedy sweepstakes, featuring a very likeable and talented young cast which also includes the gorgeous Kimberly Crossman as Brodie’s crush, Medina – the “popular girl” who soon develops a taste for metal and splitting heads. It’s a fairly rapid-fire flick, and not all the jokes land with equal precision, but it’s a highly enjoyable romp that will definitely satiate the bloodlust of extreme gore fans, as well as tickle the funny bones of pretty much anyone with a pulse.

Deathgasm comes to Blu-ray courtesy of MPI, and is presented in a very pleasing 2.35:1 1080p transfer that offers warm, natural tones, and a very crisp overall image. The level of fine detail evident in facial close-ups and textures is impressive, and the film’s contrast is spot on, with deep inky blacks and balanced whites. Colors are especially vibrant in instances where the action calls for it, most notably in the films multitudinous kill scenes, where the rich reds of blood and viscera really pop satisfyingly.

A movie about metal has to SOUND metal, and, with its 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack, Deathgasm positively shreds. This is a very clean and well-mixed track that packs a whallop when it wants to, but also manages to impress in the quieter moments, such as the birdsong heard in the background during Brodie and Medina’s charming meet-up in the park. Still, when a film’s called Deathgasm, one expects a lot of punch, and this track certainly delivers.

Bonus features include a feature-length commentary by Howden, who offers a glimpse into his own formative years as a metal misfit and how they inspired him to make the film. He also dishes on the ins and outs of producing low-budget features in his native New Zealand.

We also get a collection of short featurettes, including Brotherhood of Steel: The Cast of Deathgasm, which offers interviews with the principal cast, Demonseed: An Interview with Jason Lei Howden, and a look at the cool practical effects work with Gorgasm: The FX of Deathgasm.

Rounding out the bonus goodies are a music video, the film’s teaser and trailer, and a collection of other trailers for MPI releases.

You don’t have to be a metalhead to find lots to love about Deathgasm, as it’s basically your average coming-of-age story about a boy, a girl, and a demonic plot to plunge the world into the fires of Hell. Beneath its death paint and leather clad exterior, this is a tremendously funny and surprisingly touching film that has already won over audiences across both ponds, and is finally getting its due in the U.S. thanks to MPI, whose Blu-ray presentation is top-notch stuff as usual. Definitely seek this one out as this is one you’ll want to add to your library!  

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