How ya doin’? Stan here with another horror movie review for your delectation. This week I watched film festival darling Death Drop Gorgeous. Written and directed by Michael J Ahern, Christopher Dalpe and Brandon Perras-Sanchez, this is the story of a psychotic serial killer stalking the patrons and staff of a gay bar in Providence, Rhode Island.
The first kill takes place barely three minutes into the film in front of a cherry ’63 Dodge Dart GT Convertible and I knew right then this was my kinda movie. I mean do you know what I could do with a beaut like that in the workshop?! Anyway- I digress. The first victim is an employee of a fellow gumba named Tony Two Fingers who owns the bar where the action of the film mainly takes place.
We are introduced to our woofy leading man Dwayne (Wayne Gonsalves) who is returning to Providence and his bartending job with Tony after a rough break up. Through him, we meet a cast of drag queens who provide the entertainment at the bar along with a bunch of go-go boys. Detectives O’Hara and Barry are brought (and bought) in to investigate and stop the murders, as the cast is picked off one by one.
At its heart, this is ‘giallo’ film — or a film that centers around a murder mystery investigation with lots of blood. This particular film, like the last I reviewed in this column, takes inspiration from giallo master Dario Argento with its use of color and lighting, especially in the final act. Use of color and lighting seems to be a major theme I am encountering in queer horror, which makes sense. We are a colorful people, are we not?!
The killer is ruthless and merciless with a motive that is as equally ridiculous as it is completely relatable. Kudos for use of the fictional hook up app called Poundr that the murderer uses to trap their prey. The commentary on ageism, racism and toxic masculinity is most welcome and topical, but more importantly the movie is just a lot fun. There are a lot of great one liners here including: “Why don’t you get yourself a new wig? That one looks like a goddamn cumrag.” Tony Two Fingers should write for Hallmark!
The acting performances were campy and over the top, which is just what you would expect. But, special mention needs to be given to Michael McAdam/ Payton St. James who played our leading lady, Gloria Hole. That was top-notch work indeed- I want more!! We also get a cameo from horror legend Linnea Quigley, which is just fucking cool.
All things considered, this film is a love letter to slasher movies of the 80s, which is always a good thing as far as I am concerned. The kills are fantastically gruesome thanks to make up effects artists Scott C Miller and Victoria Elizabeth Black of Dragula fame. There are many loving homages to the horror films and folklore that came before it, not to mention the movie’s celebration and send up of gay culture.
Other than perhaps editing down certain performance sequences and tightening up some of the scene pacing, this is a great showing. It gave me gay sex, bitchy drag queen one-liners and lots of blood. What more could I ask for?! I give this a solid four out of five lace fronts.
Make sure to check it out! Tickets are on sale now through Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival until August 2nd. After the 2nd, head to Instagram @deathdropgorgeous and also facebook @deathdropgorgeous
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