There’s never been anything like Jason Lei Howden’s “Deathgasm” before and I doubt there will ever be anything like it ever again. “Deathgasm” is one of the very few death metal horror movies I’ve ever seen and it’s one that will definitely touch on the right spots for horror fanatics, despite the fact that it’s heavily centered on characters that live and breathe death metal music. For them, it’s a way of life and eventually becomes the downfall of humanity. “Deathgasm” is a shockingly excellent horror comedy that focuses more on the coming of age of its main character and how he uses the eventual demon apocalypse to discover something about himself.
Much in the vein of ‘Shaun of the Dead,” main character Brodie is tasked with fighting against pure evil, and finds certainty in the face of imminent doom. Brodie is a young man whose brother is locked up in an insane asylum, forcing him to move in with his evangelical Christian family. Brodie spends his time being bullied by all of the other guys in town, and eventually meets Zakk at a record shop. Zakk is a fellow death metal fan who forms a bond with Brodie and his two friends. Eventually they decide to form a death metal band “Deathgasm,” as Brodie garners the attention of his love interest Medina, a gorgeous blond with a love for pop music.
When the two friends learn of a mythical song once written by musician Rikki Daggers, they break in to his house and are hastily handed a record by Dagger who urges them to leave. Brodie and Zakk return home to find the sheet music for a mythical song that can summon a demon. Deciding to use the hymn as an incantation to grant them powers to get back the bullies in their town, Deathgasm accidentally invoke a horde of blind demons, all of whom have consumed the souls of town locals. Now the remaining group have to fight the rabid demons and avoid the death cult, all of whom want the ancient music for themselves. Director Lei Howden’s film is surprisingly wry and witty with a keen awareness of terror that mixes in to this surreal horror film.
The characters in the film are very engaging and complex, and their relationships inject a lot of heart in to what could have just been a hollow exercise in gore. The characters Brodie and Zakk, especially, garner a very interesting friendship that make their eventual battle with rabid blood spewing demons all the more exciting and harrowing. Director Jason Lei Howden is able to derive top notch performances from the entire cast, including Milo Kawthorne, and Kimberly Crossman, who is charming as young Medina who also experiences something of an evolution in this impromptu demon apocalypse. With amazing special effects and brutal splatter, “Deathgasm” is an instant classic. Though it feels like a niche horror film for one small sub-section of an audience, it’s a very relatable horror comedy with a tale about underdogs, outcasts, heroism, and a passion for music.