Death Drop Gorgeous has been made for a specific audience by artists with a penchant for the camp and the creepy. It’s the type of low budget, over-the-top gore-fest that John Waters would be proud to call his own, and if those very aesthetic reasons are why you turn away from its nonsense, the Michael J. Ahern / Christopher Dalpe / Brandon Perras-written and directed treat is very much not for you. And that’s okay!
Everybody is a suspect and no one is safe in the Providence set slasher where the patrons of local gay haunt The Outhouse are falling victim to a murderer who enjoys not only offing their victims in an assortment of gruesome fashions, but drains their blood for good measure. There’s method to the madness, and Death Drop Gorgeous certainly has a lot of fun along the way. Audiences with a fetish for the macabre will be delighted by the bloody display Ahern, Dalpe and Perras have concocted here, from the 1980’s synth soundtrack accompanying the screwdrivered-to-death opening sequence, to undoubtedly the film’s most shocking effort surrounding a glory hole encounter that gives a whole new meaning to the term grinder.
Speaking of which, Grindr – the gay male “dating” app – is given its own highlighted platform (here it’s presented as Poundr) as the filmmakers opt for a little not-so-subtle commentary on the community scene pertaining to ageism, racism, drug abuse, and toxic masculinity. It’s an additive that gives the film a surprising depth and relatability, though, not to fear, the film isn’t all social analysis and deep dives as, at the end of the day, this is a wild, lunacy-embraced slasher romp that sets itself up for carnage.
The Outhouse’s sleazy owner, Tony Two-Fingers (Perras), is mainly concerned over the club’s patronage. The duo of cops investigating the increasing body count (Ahern and Sean Murphy) aren’t sure how to conceal said bodies. And the drag performers (Matthew Pidge’s Janet Fitness, Michael McAdams’ Gloria Hole, and Complete Destruction’s Tragedi) are at each other’s throats enough to do the killer’s dirty work for them. Then, in the middle of the chaos (somewhat equivalent to the “final girl” archetype) is the sweetly Dwayne (Wayne Gonsalves), an easy-on-the-eye bartender working for Tony Two-Fingers who, along with his no-filter bestie (Dalpe’s Brian), is hoping to make it out of this alive – or at least with his appendages in the one state.
Though obviously leaning in to the kitsch state of mind means the film comes with an air of specificity as to who it will cater to, and having a familiarity with the horror genre (specifically the type of exaggerated giallo style that Dario Argento loved to indulge in) and drag culture helps in relating to Death Drop Gorgeous‘ personality, the film should at least be admired for its perseverance in being made in the first place. This isn’t glamorous, affordable studio fare. This is dirty, blood, sweat and tears work that’s outrageous in its daring to be funny and real, whilst honing a genre mindset that’s gloriously filthy and uncomfortable. If you get what this Gorgeous crew is going for, you’re likely to have some fun.
Death Drop Gorgeous is screening in select theatres and on digital in the United States from September 10th, 2021. It’s available from September 10th, 2021 on digital platforms in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.