DEATH DROP GORGEOUS (2020)
Directed and written by Michael J. Ahern, Christopher Dalpe, Brandon Perras.
Starring Wayne Gonsalves, Michael McAdam, Michael J. Ahern, Paul Bohn, Christopher Dalpe, Anthony DeRose, Complete Destruction, Brian Finney, Kerry Giorgi, Joshua Kilby, Ryan Miller, Michael Murphy, Sean Murphy, Brandon Perras, Matthew Pidge, Michael Puppi, David Joseph Rivera, Johnny Sederquist, & Linnea Quigley!
Find out more about this film here!
Someone is killing the patrons, workers, and entertainers in and around Two-Finger Tony’s Drag Bar. But who can it be? Dwayne, the new bartender? Aspiring drag star Janet Fitness? The owner of the club, Two-Finger Tony? Pup, Tony’s sex slave? The overly morose Tragedi, spelled with an I, of course? Or the aging drag queen Gloria Hole? Whomever it is drains the blood of their victims and is doing God knows what with it.
Let’s face it. Most mainstream horror tends to address straight folk and the most common gay representation in the past is to cast the gay character as the soon-to-be killed sidekick or the confused, psychotic murderer. While some of the most iconic psychos, from Norman Bates to Leatherface, had some kind of alternative sexual proclivity to the psychosis, it’s become passe to make homosexuality the sole reason people do heinous things. Thankfully so too. Being gay doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to carve up people and it’s good that movies have evolved to represent that. At the same time, sex most often is a motivator to all kinds of crime, so to ignore sexuality as a motive is sort of turning a blind eye to the obvious.
DEATH DROP GORGEOUS plunges the gay and drag lifestyle deeply into the slasher genre and the result is an extremely low budget, but utterly watchable film. It starts out as a straight-up mystery. The audience isn’t made privy to who is doing the killing, instead DEATH DROP GORGEOUS chooses to go the giallo route with the ultra-gory murders shown from the POV of a killer who wears black gloves. There’s also some bumbling detectives who are completely out of their depth when it comes to solving the case that is another one of giallo’s common traits.
Eventually, we do find out who the killer is, though it’s pretty apparent early on, and the psychologically complex backstory of the killer, but with a cast full of gay people, it’s inevitable the killer is going to be gay. So how does DEATH DROP GORGEOUS get away with having a gay killer?
Well, it’s kind of like how a black person gets away with using the n-word, I guess. If it’s a cast of gays, it’s ok to have a gay killer. In fact, you couldn’t do it any other way. DEATH DROP GORGEOUS also gets around this issue by making the motivation be not because the killer is gay, but a whole other motivation that makes perfect sense within the story. This makes DEATH DROP GORGEOUS a smartly written film with a deep appreciation for the slasher and Giallo genres.
Sure, the film looks as if it might have been shot on video. Sure, the acting is not the best. But just like most indie horror films, DEATH DROP GORGEOUS puts its attention to where it counts; some extremely spalttery killings and some nicely orchestrated scenes of tension and terror. I especially liked the black-lit scene of carnage towards the end, very moody and effectively creepy. DEATH DROP GORGEOUS is also raunchy, sassy, and occasionally quite funny. I could have gone with a few less performances by the Drag Queen cast. Having seen some drag shows before, these performances really are lackluster and what’s worse, eat up a lot of the runtime of the film, though I do appreciate some of the more obscure music used. I lost count of the number of performances made in the story and it really does kill the momentum of the story, even when it is crosscut with a murder going on elsewhere.
DEATH DROP GORGEOUS isn’t really made for me and I understand if it’s not for you either. But I am glad the film exists as it tells a slasher tale from the perspective of a gay cast and crew, which is not very common, but should be more so. While it is rough around the edges, DEATH DROP GORGEOUS has a clear understanding and appreciation of how horror works and shows it with every glamorous second. If you’re gay and love horror. This one’s for you. And even if you’re not, it’s worth taking a look at.