Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gothkill (2009)

It always seems that horror movies featuring Goths almost always get them wrong to make it almost embarrassing to watch. I mean, not all Goths sit around moping and cutting themselves, thank you very much! Even worse is when Goths are used as a punchline than more as an actual character. Luckily, Gothkill, an entertaining horror comedy, doesn’t fall into either trap, but instead pokes fun at the Goth community as a whole…with a humor that both Goths and “normals” can appreciate!

Centuries ago, Nicholas Dread (fire breathing performance artist Flambeaux) was burned at the stake after daring to stick up for accused witches against his church superiors. Then and there Dread made a pact with the Devil…once he had collected 100,000 corrupt souls on Earth, he would be able to rule his own kingdom in Hell.

Century after century Dread roamed the Earth slaughtering sinners, getting ever closer and closer to his goal of 100,000 collected souls. In present day, authorities eventually catch up to him after he slaughters a group of his followers and he is executed. He was supposed to be raised again by his high priestess to collect just a few more souls, but she was killed and the incantation to bring him back fell into the wrong, bumbling hands…

Meanwhile, Kate (Eve Blackwater) and Annie (Erica Giovinazzo) are two naive college kids looking for a good time. They are invited to the exclusive Goth club Scorpion Society, where elite Goths dress in their finest leather and PVC to party and get spanked. The two girls are drugged and a ritual is performed to induct them into the Society, but the Society’s clueless leader conjures up Dread himself, who possesses Annie’s body and decides that the Society is ripe with rotten souls ready to be reaped…

Can a group of Goths and wannabes hold their own against true evil? Or will they all be joining Dread in Hell?

Gothkill is a rollicking good time and offers plenty of blood, boobs and bondage for the Goth in all of us…

First off, the story, written by JJ Connelly (who also directed), is well-constructed and doesn’t leave any gaping plot holes, which is often the case with lower-budget pictures. Obvious time was taken to properly develop the story and the characters it contains. I loved the backstory of Dread and how we actually got to see him in the past. His character development to the story was very important, and Connelly excelled at this. The other main characters, Kate and Annie, where well-rounded out as well.

The acting from the main characters was amazing, with Flambeaux as Dread being the absolute standout. His performance was enjoyably over-the-top and he commands your attention with every frame he occupies. Any other actor might have played the part too over-the-top, but Flambeaux reigns it in just enough so his performance doesn’t deteriorate into parody. I also loved his dialogue and how it was delivered (“You people want to see something evil? I’ll show you fucking evil!”). The other actors did quite well, too. Erica Giovinazzo was fantastic as both innocent Annie and possessed Annie. Even Mistress Juliya from FUSE makes a memorable appearance as one of Dread’s demon minions.

The dark humor in the film pokes fun at “individualistic” Goths, who all pretty much dress/act the same. While the Goth community is one I most closely relate to, I think it’s silly how individuality is admired…but only if you conform to the “Goth” way of dressing/acting/etc (I’ll admit that I have a tendency to fall into this trap as well). Gothkill does a good job of poking fun at this and other Goth conventions that both Goths and “normies” can both relate to and chuckle at.

I also loved the overall look of the Scorpion Society. It’s a dank and dark club where even I would feel at home. The art direction, by Kirk Larsen, merits mention because of the importance of ambiance and atmosphere in the Goth club setting of the film. Everything from the patrons’ black leather outfits to the dim lighting to the industrial-style DJ booth looked authentic and nothing seemed out of place. Kudos to Larsen for creating such a realistic setting that at the same time set the sinister mood of the film. I also must mention the kick-ass music as well that helped create a gothic/industrial club atmosphere; lots of bumping EBM and industrial tracks here!

The gore here is pretty dang impressive, especially towards the end when Annie/Dread goes on a rampage through the club with a very large, wicked-looking blade. People are slaughtered left and right, with bright arterial sprays of blood splattering everywhere. One death scene in particular, where an unlucky guys gets a knife shoved through his skull and out his mouth, was particularly well-done and memorable!

Gothkill is a short 75 minute film, but it is so enjoyable that the only fault I could find is that it wasn’t longer! You won’t want to miss this exploitative piece of genre cinema!

Available from Amazon!

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