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★★★★☆ With What We Do in the Shadows, Housebound and now Deathgasm (2015), New Zealand is fast becoming the go-to place for crowd-pleasing horror comedies. Jason Lei Howden's directorial debut is primed for unalloyed genre thrills, making you laugh until your sides hurt and subverting the rom-zom-com format. If fears going in hinged on the suspicion that Deathgasm was an attention-grabbing title and nothing much else, worries dissipate soon enough, as a laugh-out-loud banquet of blood, made in the spirit of Evil Dead II (1988) and Peter Jackson's Braindead (1992), plays out on the screen. Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) is a heavy metal fan spinning the black circle for Satan.
At least, that's what his God-bothering aunt and uncle think. As with many kids who find solace in extreme music and subcultures, it's got nothing to do with religion or devil-worshipping. Brodie's only friends in the world (apart from his beloved record collection) are two RPG nerdlingers, »
- CineVue UK
Turbo Kid, 2015
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a comic book fan dons the persona of his favourite hero to save his enthusiastic friend and fight a tyrannical overlord.
To paraphrase the producer of the movie, Turbo Kid is a fake movie from the 1980s made in 2015 and set in a post-apocalyptic 1997. Simply put, this is your new favourite cult film. It takes all the best elements of Mad Mad, BMX Bandits and Braindead for an 80s style gorefest that packs a major punch, but also a lot of heart.
- Luke Owen
A while back, when we released the 400th episode of the Sound On Sight podcast, a few close friends and longtime listeners requested we compile a list of our favorite shows we recorded over the years. Now that the podcast has officially come to an end, I decided to finally set aside some time in my schedule and give them what they want. Initially, I set out to pick ten, but after 500 recordings and 8 long years, it was simply too hard to choose so few, so I opted for 20 instead. In selecting these episodes, I tried to show the wide range of genres we covered over the years, including Spaghetti Westerns, Italian Horror, Southern Gothic, underground cult, family friendly, foreign language and even Hollywood classics. We’ve been blessed with several guest hosts and interviews with many filmmakers including genre legends George A. Romero and John Landis, to name a few. »
It’s no secret that Jason Lei Howden’s Deathgasm knocked our asses out, when the film played earlier this year at SXSW (review). It was the perfect combination of horror and comedy, of gore and heavy metal, all thrown into one hell of a molotov cocktail. Very few films make me so excited that I spend hours upon hours contacting friends to tell them to look out for the film, whenever it hits the states. Well, that greatly anticipated time is now soon-coming, with the recent announcement that the Satanic, face-paint filled Deathgasm is set to shred in the U.S., when it hits theaters on October 2nd,via Dark Sky Films.
- Jerry Smith
Think of a teeming metropolis like New York City. Now double that in size. If every single person who lived there, every hot-dog vendor, third-grader and euphoric Mets fan, was in fact a flesh-eating zombie, that would roughly equal the 17.3 million people that tuned into last October's fifth-season premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead, the most-watched episode of anything in cable history. Those are blockbuster numbers and they occurred week after week. The demand for the show has become so huge that a prequel spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, debuts this Sunday. »
With recent examples like Housebound, What We Do In The Shadows (review), The Devil's Rock and Black Sheep, it's clear that New Zealand is quickly becoming a hotbed of quality quirky genre films. How much of that is due to the direct influence of Peter Jackson and his earlier output like Bad Taste and Dead Alive (aka Braindead) could be up for debate, but when it comes to writer/director Jason Lei Howden's feature debut Deathgasm, there is no question. Howden cut his teeth doing visual effects on many films for Weta Digital, including as senior paint artist on two of Jackson's Hobbit films. But it's his love of practical [Continued ...] »
Directed by Jason Lei Howden
Written by Jason Lei Howden
2015, New Zealand
New Zealand hasn’t produced many horror films over the years, but those it has given birth to are remarkably strong entries. The late ’80s and early ’90s witnessed the rise of Kiwi director Peter Jackson who made a name for himself with the Bad Taste (1988) and Dead Alive (1992). Jackson helped shine a spotlight on the countries genre offerings and his success no doubt opened the door for a new generation of Kiwi genre filmmakers. The latest of these films to make its way Stateside is Jason Lei Howden’s outrageous debut feature Deathgasm about a group of suburban metal heads who summon a demonic force.
Milo Cawthorne and James Blake play Brodie and Zakk, two renegade outcasts who quickly bond over their mutual admiration of heavy metal and decide to form a band. But their dreams »
Permanently pissed-off Kylie Bucknell is, after a bungled robbery, forced by the courts to return to her family home when she’s given an eight-month home detention sentence. Her punishment for a botched Atm raid is made all the more intolerable by the fact she has to live with her over-bearing motor-mouth mother Miriam who’s convinced the house is haunted. But after dismissing Miriam’s superstitions, rebellious Kylie too starts hearing unsettling whispers in the dark, creaking floorboards and strange bumps in the night. Has she inherited her mother’s overactive imagination or is there indeed evil afoot between the windows and doors?
- Phil Wheat
This New Zealand haunted-house romp moves between gore, laughs and eerie suggestion with aplomb
This off-kilter horror-comedy from writer/director Gerard Johnstone (best known for TV’s The Jaquie Brown Diaries) has something of the suburban satire of Peter Jackson’s Braindead mixed with the eeriness of Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs. When stroppy delinquent Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly) is placed under house arrest in her childhood home, she comes to believe that her mother’s tales of hauntings may be more than just small-town madness. Enlisting the help of security-guard-slash-ghostbuster Amos (Glen-Paul Waru), Kylie unravels dark secrets about the house and its grisly history. Swerving between Babadook-style suggestion and outright splatter, Housebound juggles its tonal variations with aplomb. O’Reilly is terrific as the sneery discontent at the centre of the madcap maelstrom, while Rima Te Wiata walks a wonderfully fine line between pathos and »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
Clever low-budget Kiwi indie thriller about a scowling teen under house arrest, whose house is ‘disturbed’ – but what, or who, by?
This low-budget Kiwi offering is a rare thing: a horror-comedy with a premise that works both ways. After dynamiting a cashpoint, scowling Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly) is placed under house arrest in the home of her micromanaging mother Miriam (Rima Te Wiata); the twist is that this house is – as mum puts it – “prone to certain disturbances”. While we’re waiting for the cause to reveal itself, writer-director-editor Gerard Johnstone gains comic mileage from Kylie’s sullen interactions with those around her, and burrows inventively around his initial, Disturbia-like setup: a ghost story is thus converted into first a hider-in-the-house thriller, then a murder-mystery. Peter Jackson aficionados may recall the overbearing matriarch of 1992’s Braindead, although Te Wiata makes Miriam’s incessant waffling heroic, and the tactics are closer »
- Mike McCahill
Earlier today, J. Hurtado reviewed the much anticipated Arrow Blu-ray release of Brian Yuzna's Society (check out that article here). I'm looking forward to finally seeing the film, about which I've heard people talk for literally decades. Some hail it as an absurd masterpiece, others revile it. Both sides of that discussion seem to agree on the finale though, in that it is gross. Grosser than gross. I've heard "revolting", "repulsive", "nauseating" and that most descriptive of all: "gag-inducing". That last one is quite a claim. Several films have made me shudder or wince in the past. But actually gag? Though I loved the film, I remember getting pretty nauseous the first time I saw Peter Jackson's Dead Alive / Braindead. Of course, what makes...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Jennifer Kent's "The Babadook" was the best horror film of 2014, and Essie Davis should have scored a Best Actress nod for her fierce portrayal of a mother in crisis. There, I said it! To her credit, Kent is smart enough to know that the Academy isn't keen on recognizing horror movies in the major categories, and thusly has taken a page from fellow Oceanian Peter Jackson's playbook for her followup, an adaptation of Alexis Coe's non-fiction book "Alice + Freda Forever." It could not get much more "Heavenly Creatures"-y than this! Check out the synopsis, courtesy Deadline: Coe based her book on research that included more than 100 love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles and courtroom proceedings to tell the tragic, real-life love story of Alice Mitchell and Freda Ward. After their love letters were discovered, the women were forbidden to ever speak again. Ward adjusted to this with apparent ease, »
- Chris Eggertsen
Sound on Sight undertook a massive project, compiling ranked lists of the most influential, unforgettable, and exciting action scenes in all of cinema. There were hundreds of nominees spread across ten different categories and a multi-week voting process from 11 of our writers. The results: 100 essential set pieces, sequences, and scenes from blockbusters to cult classics to arthouse obscurities.
You know an action hero is the baddest of badasses when he or she walks in and the room goes silent. The drug lord’s bodyguards, the mastermind’s henchmen, or even the foolhardy pack of drunkards outside a roadside bar stand at attention, ready for a challenge. It’s just one person. This shouldn’t be too hard. Seconds later, they’re on the ground nursing bruises, or worse, stumps where their arms and legs used to be. The One vs. Many Fight is the chance for the hero to prove »
- Shane Ramirez
I’ve written a lot about horror musicals over the years on Icons of Fright, and it would appear that I’m not the only one out there with a deep and abiding love for musical adaptations of beloved horror films. Young Frankenstein, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Evil Dead, Carrie, American Psycho, The Silence Of The Lambs, Re-animator, and Little Shop Of Horrors are just a few horror films to get the musical theatre adaptation. Something about the combination of campy nature of spontaneously bursting into song and blood spraying everywhere is something many of us can’t get enough of. While I’m still waiting for Disney to get their shit together and make a Broadway version of Hercules, I’ve made myself a little dream list of horror films I hope get the musical treatment.
Fred Dekker’s deliciously campy masterpiece is just »
- BJ Colangelo
Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, 2015.
Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner.
During the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse a mechanic goes in search of his sister, who has been kidnapped by a group of psychotic soldiers who want to experiment on her.
It may seem like sacrilege to say it but the zombie genre is dying on its arse. Horror movies have always been notoriously cheap to produce and in this day of CGI effects replacing practical squibs and latex flesh it has never been easier to knock something together quickly and for very little physical effort, hence why the zombie movie has become so prevalent over the past few years. And with the increasing quantity comes the decreasing quality, meaning that studios putting out any old mean-spirited guff with the words “…of the Dead” in the title is supposed to »
- Gary Collinson
Deathgasm is a bloody, head-banging ball of fun, gore and soul-shaking music, and fans of films like Dead Alive and Evil Dead will find a lot to love in its embrace of splattery shenanigans and the idea that staying true to yourself might someday save the world.
"Deathgasm Is Darker Than Eating Ice Cream in the Park on a Beautiful Sunny Day" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source. »
- Rob Hunter
Doc of the Dead, 2015.
Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe.
Apparently, this is the definitive documentary examining the rise of the zombie in modern pop culture. Hmm…
Think you know zombies? Of course you do, because no doubt you have seen Shaun of the Dead on one of its weekly showings on some made-for-twentysomethings TV channel or own one of the many DVD releases of Night of the Living Dead that likely includes a documentary or an interview with George A. Romero that covers everything you need to know about that seminal movie and the influence it has had. So what does Doc of the Dead have to offer that several dozen DVD extra features doesn’t? Not a great deal, if truth be told.
- Gary Collinson
If you haven’t been paying attention to the latest foreign horror imports, than you’ve been missing out on some tremendous films. While you might assume that a majority of these are European efforts, there’s another locale that’s making quite a genre name for itself – New Zealand. Peter Jackson started with films like Bad Taste and Dead Alive, but that was long ago, and since those years, New Zealand hasn’t bothered to traverse the waters of horror with much enthusiasm – until now. Thanks to producer Ant Timpson, a frequent collaborator with Alamo’s Tim League, New Zealand is once again making a name for itself in a forgotten genre, and Deathgasm is just the latest shining example.
- Matt Donato
As someone who relishes new and unusual storytelling, it’s been great to see the recent boom of films coming out of New Zealand, a country that embraces and celebrates the unusual in ways most other places in the world just cannot. The latest Kiwi film to make its way Stateside is Jason Lei Howden’s Deathgasm, the ridiculously fun and bombastic celebration of horror and heavy metal that premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival last night. While the film may garner a lot of attention for it’s more over-the-top approach to gore, nudity and its clever use of sex toys, what makes Deathgasm so special is that the story itself is full of heart and features breakout performances from both Milo Cawthorne and Kimberley Crossman, who bring tons of infectious energy to the project.
In Deathgasm, we meet a lovable loser metal head by the name of Brodie »
- Heather Wixson
Coming out of SXSW like a freight train of bloody, metal as f&%* entertainment, Jason Lei Howden gory extravaganza that is Deathgasm is a heavy metal splatterfest, guaranteed to please the most diehard horror fan. Led by memorable performances, out of this world effects and a soundtrack that refuses to Not let you bang your head throughout the entire film, it’s a standout film at this year’s festival and destined to become like Shaun Of The Dead or Dead Alive, a horror/comedy cult classic, one that will instantly be a genre fan favorite.
Following Brodie (Milo Cawthorne, Blood Punch), a young hesher that is forced to live with his conservative Christian aunt and uncle, following his mom being committed due to meth and giving blowjobs, Deathgasm does what very few films are able to: hook you right from the beginning. Any self-destructive oucast metalhead can instantly relate to Brodie, »
- Jerry Smith
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