SXSW Film Review: Deathgasm

A very metal tribute to the grand tradition of Kiwi splatter comedy

SXSW Film Review: Deathgasm

When you think New Zealand comedy horror, you think side-splitting crudity and stomach-churning mutilation. Deathgasm provides both, with a totally brutal metal soundtrack.

It's a classic tale of lovable loser teenage metal head (Milo Cawthorne) accidentally summoning a world-ending demon to consume the small town to which he's been condemned. Bad timing, since the straight-laced school beauty (Kimberley Crossman) seems poised to unleash her inner Doro Pesch/Lzzy Hale. Can he stop Armageddon, vanquish a cult of surprisingly anal retentive devil worshippers, and stop his supposed best friend Zakk (James Blake, like a seedy Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You) from wrecking his love life?

Post-Metalocalypse and the late, lamented Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, dimwitted metallers bringing on the Apocalypse may seem like an old riff. Yet director Jason Lei Howden drenches it in enough spraying plasma to drown a demon and raise hysterical belly laughs. A WETA CGI effects guy by training, Howden goes practical-heavy for gory, glorious, ridiculous, and comedic effect. It also doesn't hurt that he clearly knows his metal, mocking only what he loves. Shamelessly low-brow, reaching a beer-fueled gleeful high with a zombie-vs.-sex toys battle, it's a very metal tribute to the grand tradition of Kiwi splatter comedies.


Midnighters, World Premiere
Sunday, March 15, 11:30pm, Lamar
Friday, March 20, 9:30pm, Ritz

Keep up with all our dispatches from SXSW at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Q&A With Comedian Tig Notaro
Q&A With Tig Notaro
Showtime documentary airs Friday

Andy Campbell, April 15, 2015

SXSW Film 2015 Rundown
SXSW Film Coverage
Reviews, interviews, photo galleries, and more

March 22, 2015

More by Richard Whittaker
Fantastic Fest Review: <i>Stopmotion</i>
The artist subsumed by her art in chilling increments

Sept. 28, 2023

Fantastic Fest Review: <i>Saw X</i>
Saw X
Least-secret secret screening still has some twists

Sept. 28, 2023


SXSW Film, SXSW, Deathgasm, Jason Lei Howden, Kiwi splatter comedy, SXSW Film 2015

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle