Deathgasm full movie review - A Fun Horror Comedy Clearly Influenced by Peter Jackson
I tend to be very harsh to this particular little sub-genre of the film world known as the "horror comedy". It can be a hard style to do correctly and very often, in my opinion, flops completely.
After all, those two styles are polar opposites of one another. It's like fried ice cream. Two things that shouldn't go together, at all, in theory. If done poorly, it becomes a sloppy mess. If done well, it can be classic. Horror demands tension, atmosphere and mood, established to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat in order to make the horror elements work successfully. Comedy, on the other hand, demands a consistent breaking of that tension, a disruption of the atmosphere. For every ZOMBIELAND or SHAUN OF THE DEAD that does this well, there are a thousand imitators that come and go to be forgotten completely.
In DEATHGASM, the director has successfully combined these two elements in a way that each of those halves works well. The movie is horrific and tense at times, but also hilarious in others. The director is able to achieve that by mixing just the right parts of both. The world he chooses to use as is backdrop is a big help, as the metal scene is fertile ground for horror, but just as easy to make slight fun of with your comedy (and that's coming from a metalhead that realizes how ridiculous some of it can be). The worlds of black metal and extreme metal can be so close to cartoonish, at times, that it's not hard to push through to straight comedy. Throw in, then, a gang of high school "losers" which allows for some fun juvenile humor, as well.
The movie also uses its' horror to play for laughs, going to such extremes with the use of gore that it feels both horrifying and hilarious. For most gorehounds, we all feel that devilish glee in a typical horror movie at the most gory scenes. It's that slight chuckle that elicits when a limb is torn off and blood gushes everywhere. For some that's disgusting, but for the gore hound, there is a fun humor in it. This movie knows how to play that angle for the right laughs. In this way, it touches on its' most obvious influences.
In most user reviews I read, I've seen a lot compare this to EVIL DEAD (or those who are calling it an outright rip-off). I'm not denying those influences and absolutely see them, but to me there is a far bigger influence, which is Peter Jackson. After all, this is a Kiwi film and it stands to reason that the biggest influence would be the most successful horror director to ever come out of that island nation. The homage is evident by the BAD TASTE t-shirt that one of the characters wears and the copious amounts of blood that are thrown everywhere are exactly the influence of Jackson's DEAD ALIVE.
It's that movie that I feel this most compares to, in good and bad ways. In both films the humor is going to be for everyone, nor is the extreme gore. Like DEAD ALIVE, though, that last element is what gives this such insane pleasure for the gorehound. This movie isn't trying to establish mood and atmosphere, at all. It's grounding its' horror in a gory, crimson-stained glory featuring marvelous practical effects. It's using it's gore for humor and that allows the two elements to mingle so well together that the movie really works on both levels.
It definitely requires a certain kind of viewer. You must have a tolerance for high school guy humor, involving lots of metal and sex jokes. You must have a tolerance for blood being splashed all over your screen. Perhaps, I'm exactly the target audience for this one, an extreme metal, extreme horror loving former high school "burnout", but I also don't think you have to fit that pigeon hole to enjoy this. Just be willing to have some fun.