M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Moving on to Year Six of my year-long Retro-Best in Horror I’m recapping the Countdown beginning officially on October 1, 2015 and going through September 30, 2016. I have posted compilation lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around, and even adding a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t! Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on October 2, 2015. Available on DVD, BluRay, and On Demand from Dark Sky Films! Also on Amazon Prime and Tubi!

DEATHGASM (2014)

Directed by Jason Lei Howden
Written by Jason Lei Howden
Starring Milo Cawthorne, James Blake, Kimberley Crossman, Sam Berkley,
Daniel Cresswell, Delaney Tabron, Stephen Ure, Colin Moy, Jodie Rimmer, Nick Hoskins-Smith, Nick Hoskins-Smith, Erroll Shand, Kate Elliott, Aaron McGregor, Andrew Laing, Tim Foley, Cameron Rhodes
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here

Did you used to draw disturbing shit on the front of your Trapper Keeper? Did you grow your hair long in high school? Did you used to (and maybe still do) listen to metal and rebel against the poofy pop the rest of the world called music? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, DEATHGASM is the film for you.

BLOOD PUNCH’s Milo Cawthorne stars as Brodie, a metalhead outcast forced to live with his bible-thumping uncle and try to fit in as the new kid at school. Brodie befriends some other outcasts, including the very Buddy Revell-esque rocker Zakk (James Blake), and start their own death metal band, much to the disdain of his uncle. When Zakk gets word that his favorite rocker Rikki Daggers (Stephen Ure) lives in their same town, they decide to break into his house and check it out. Unbeknownst to them, Daggers has made a deal with a devil cult and is in possession of sheet music that can open a portal to hell. In order to keep the music hidden, he gives Brodie and Zakk the music and the metalheads accidentally open a gateway to hell, unleashing the netherworld upon their quiet, boring suburb. Meanwhile, Brodie is trying to win the hand of out-of-his-league preppie gal Medina (Kimberley Crossman), his asshole cousin’s girlfriend.

From beginning to end, this film is simply fun. Filled with death metal and gore, DEATHGASM is a love letter to those who live outside of the norm and ever felt out of place in high school (which I’m assuming many of my readers have felt a time or two, I know I did). While at times the film becomes rather predictable in terms of the outcast first finding friends, then finding purpose, then finally getting the girl, it’s the details that make it all so much fun.

The devil is really in the details here, as this film is filled with memorable moments. Sure some moments involving the animation may have been swiped from SCOTT PILGRIM, but it’s still fun seeing the letters come alive when the band debates on what to name themselves. Brodie occasionally flashes to Frank Frazetta delusions of a hard rock reality full of swords, battleaxes, and babes in metal bikinis on the top of a mountain. Simply having a scene where Brodie and Zakk battle demons with his uncle’s sex toys is absolutely amazing. Everything is done with a wink to the viewer and a nod to those days of barely paying attention in class while doodling monsters in your notebook.

And while this film is dripping with those nostalgic feelings, it’s also sopping wet with blood and gore. DEATHGASM is bathed in a level of grue only achieved in such gore classics as EVIL DEAD 2 and DEAD ALIVE. But while it’s gratuitous and sometimes downright shocking as to the level of violence and gore that is going on, it also never fails to be funny all the way through. Heads are split and lopped off, intestines are slit and dropped, all forms of weaponry including the power of rock are used to splatter blood in all directions, and it’s all frikkin’ glorious!

After seeing his inspired performance in BLOOD PUNCH and his role as Brodie here, this has been a stellar year for Milo Cawthorne, and while the actor isn’t what one would usually think of as a lead, he carries this film really well. Like a metalhead version of Peter Parker, it is fun seeing Brodie fail and succeed in this film. The rest of the cast, especially the ultra-tough James Blake and gorgeous Kimberly Crossman, do an amazing job of fleshing out the rest of this film.

DEATHGASM may not be for everyone, but in a perfect world it should be. Rockin’ down the street with its hair flowing and its balls out, this film is proud to be a metal armored gorefest. I laughed quite a bit at the outrageous gore and funny little moments of these outcasts finding each other and taking on the hordes of hell. It’s the kind of horror film that makes you proud to be a fan of the genre, and definitely worth your while to seek it out.

Click here for the trailer!


THE 2015-2016 COUNTDOWN!


#17 – DEATHGASM
#18 – 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
#19 – DER BUNKER
#20 – DECAY
#21 – EMELIE
#22 – NINA FOREVER
#23 – HUSH
#24 – THE MIND’S EYE
#25 – DARLING
#26 – SUN CHOKE
#27 – SUMMER CAMP
#28 – BASKIN
#29 – HOLIDAYS
#30 – THE HALLOW
#31 – SOUTHBOUND


M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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