We’re three weeks into The Last Drive In with Joe Bob Briggs and this past Friday he chose two of my favorite flicks: Deathgasm and The Changeling. An odd pairing to be sure, but in Joe Bob we trust.
He started this past week in true Joe Bob fashion by going on a rant about Tesla cars ending with him saying that driving a Tesla is like driving a giant iphone, and if you really want to save the environment, get rid of your fridge.
And then it was time for Deathgasm, and as Joe Bob points out, “sure we’ve seen it [this story] before, but have we seen it with giant dildo fighting?”
Deathgasm is a 2015 New Zealand horror comedy written and directed by Jason Lei Howden.
Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) is stuck living with his uncle in a small town called Greypoint. His father had passed away and his Mother had be institutionalized. Life is not great for Brodie - his cousin is a total dick, the town is super small, he’s a metal head and is struggling to make friends. His uncle is uber Christian and is pretty much convinced Brodie is possessed by Satan. But soon Brodie befriends two guys, Dion (Sam Berkley) and Giles (Daniel Cresswell). They spend their time playing D&D and getting sprayed with piss out of water guns. But at least now Brodie has someone to spend his time with.
Brodie discovers a local record store called Alien records and when he steps inside he meets perhaps the only other metalhead, Zakk (James Blake), “he was a tornado of chaos”. Zakk encourages Brodie to do some shithead things like burning HAIL SATAN into the soccer field. But Brodie has finally found a friend who understands him, and someone he can look up to.
It’s a beautifully dangerous relationship. Brodie lost his father figure, and his Uncle certainly didn’t take up that spot, but Zakk in his own demented way, becomes a father figure. And instead of teaching Brodie the fundamentals of life, he teaches him a cool handshake and starts a band with him.
The band ends up being called Deathgasm.
And so Brodie is pretty content. He’s got a little tribe to be a part of and they’re making music and he’s caught the eye of a beautiful girl in town, Medina (Kimberley Crossman).
Within their little metal universe is an epic band called Haxan Sword. The singer, Daggers, was hardcore and was rumored to kill live animals on stage. He disappeared and Zakk discovers that Daggers is living in Greypoint. He convinces Brodie to break into the house with him and the two discover a record, at the same time a guy in a suit busts into the home and kills Daggers.
Within the record, Brodie and Zakk discover music sheets and we soon realize that is what the man in the suit was after. The music sheets are actually the Black Hymn - when played, it will summon the king of demons and give the wielder power and fortune.
After a horrible experience where Brodie’s cousin beats the shit out of him, Brodie decides to play the hymn. But instead of power and fortune - the entire town turns into demon zombies throwing up blood and trying to kill him and his friends.
There’s a lot to love in this movie. The dialogue is absolutely hilarious and it manages to poke enough fun at the black metal genre without being cruel. There’s so many clever one-liners and quips that it’s almost impossible to keep up. There’s incredibly funny moments surrounded by gore, horror and also some really tender moments.
One moment that always has me laughing is when Brodie and Zakk are fighting off demon zombies, and his cousin wanders in, clearly not possessed. But Brodie kills him with a chainsaw anyway. Zakk questions him and Brodie mumbles about how he was pretty sure he was possessed and mentioned something about Satan. Zakk just stares.
But what I love most about Deathgasm is something I think all of us horror fans can relate to. And that’s finding your own tribe and in turn finding your confidence. Brodie is alone, stuck with a group of people that can’t relate to him - he feels isolated and depressed. Most of us horror nerds grew up like that - we felt a little out of place because of our hobbies and struggled to find that mainstream group of friends. But just like Brodie does, eventually we find our tribe. And whether that tribe is 2 friends or a group of 15, finding your tribe is incredibly important.
You finally feel validated and safe. And with that comes your confidence and the boost to your self esteem. When Brodie finds Zakk, as problematic as Zakk is, it gives Brodie the confidence to talk to Medina, to stand up to his cousin, his uncle. And I think that’s really beautiful.
So yes, Deathgasm can just be a laugh riot where a bunch of metalheads wield dildos and chainsaws. Heads explode left and right - there’s a tone of blood and gore. And it’s hilarious. But it’s also a great story about a young loner with some pretty bad Daddy issues who manages to come of age in a slightly problematic way.
I adored the flick the first time I saw it in 2015 and I still love it now.
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