Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its sixth year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers, I have once again compiled a list counting down to my favorite horror film released since last October and covered in this here AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Some of these films might be new to you since there isn’t a lot of horror in theaters these days. That said, there were more on this list that DID have a theatrical run than in previous years which means the horror genre does seem to be on the upswing. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video On Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay or digital download.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year since October 1st, 2015 (which happens to be the birthday of this little column five years ago!) and worked and reworked the list until I had 31. No real method to my special brand of madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween to my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion at the end of each post that is worth nothing or missed being on the list by a little bit for those who can’t get enough horror.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own list…let’s go!
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
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
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 at his school forced to live with his bible-thumping uncle and try to fit in as the new kid at school. Brodie befriends some 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, this film 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 the readers of this column have felt a time or two). 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 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 in your notebook.
And while this film is dripping with those nostalgic feelings, it’s also sopping wet with blood and gore as well. 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 in the latter portion of this one, 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 and should be celebrated by all. 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.
#15 – DEATHGASM
#16 – 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
#17 – DER BUNKER
#18 – HUSH
#19 – HOLIDAYS
#20– CARNAGE PARK
#21 – THE CONJURING 2
#22 – THE MIND’S EYE
#23 – DARLING
#24 – SUN CHOKE
#25 – THE HALLOWS
#26 – OVER YOUR DEAD BODY
#27 – SUMMER CAMP
#28 – EMELIE
#29 – BASKIN
#30 – I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER
#31 – SOUTHBOUND
2015 #1 – THE CANAL
2014 #1 – PROXY
2013 #1 - MANIAC
2012 #1 – THE WOMAN
2011 #1 – THE LAST CIRCUS
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 15 years & AICN HORROR for 5. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller and on his new website collecting posts for AICN HORROR as well as all of the most recent updates on his various comic book projects on MLMillerWrites.com.
A quick plug for my own work. I have a new comic book coming out this December called THE JUNGLE BOOK HOLIDAY SPECIAL: BAGHEERA’S SECRET. It’s a one shot reteaming my original JUNGLE BOOK artist Carlos Granda and myself (the same team who created PIROUETTE) and it is available to order now via Previews order# OCT162113. I’m getting pages of this book by the day and this book looks absolutely amazing so far. Fans of jungle adventure are going to love it! Please support me by telling your local comic book store to order tons of issues of this comic! Much appreciated, folks.
Look for Johnny Destructo, Stephen Andrade, Christian DiBari, and my own ramblings about random horror films on CultPop/PoptardsGo and Ain’t It Cool on AICN HORROR’s CANNIBAL HORRORCAST Podcast every other Thursday (or so…)!
Finally, if you’re having problems with the texts going over the image in this article, refresh the screen and that should do the trick!