After seeing a sneak peek of the meat grinder scene from Death Drop Gorgeous and the excitement around the film as it worked the festival circuit in America, the hype was real. With an 80s slasher aesthetic and a touch of Giallo, the film delivers on providing a splatter-fest amongst the backdrop of the LGBT community in Providence. The story revolves around gay club bartender Dwayne (Wayne Gonsalves) who’s just moved back to his hometown. However, now a black-gloved killer is targeting the community and drag performers. Club owner Tony Two Fingers (Brandon Perras) enlists the help of crooked Detectives Barry and O’Hara (Sean Murphy and Michael J. Ahern respectively) to prevent it from making the news.
If you’re looking for gory slasher fix, you shouldn’t be disappointed. Even though one of the best kill scenes happens quite early on and will no doubt become the staple of the film, there’s still plenty of fun to be had throughout and some great practical effects. What’s achieved visually in terms of practical effects is impressive considering you could probably count the number of crew on the film on one hand, and that the film was crowdfunded. It was written/directed by Ahern, Brandon Perras and Christopher Dalphe who all pulled quadruple duty on various other roles so if that’s not dedication to the craft, I don’t know what is. Credit also goes to Dragula finalist Victoria Elizabeth Black for creating the some of the effects. And while some of the daylight shots have some room for improvement, the cinematography and lighting takes a better turn in the final act.
Beneath the blood and guts of Death Drop Gorgeous, it also recognises prevalent issues within the gay community such as racism and the death of gay bars/queer spaces as we knew them. This in combination with the ageism experienced by the ageing drag queen character Gloria Hole (Michael McAdam) is certainly a reminder of the pioneering generations who built the queer community to be what it is today. In what easily could’ve existed just for the kills, DDG gives enough food for thought to avoid giving that impression. Side note: there would be nothing wrong if it had been, not everything needs to have purpose, but with a queer horror that will inevitably be analysed by its target audience, this definitely feels like the right move. Otherwise it would just be watching gay men get murdered for no reason, and I for one wouldn’t want to see that.
And finally, of course it goes without saying that the drag queens were a joy to watch. Sass and savagery all around. Tragedi – credited as Complete Destruction on IMDb, so I can only assume this is a real life drag name or maybe they have interesting parents – is a highlight despite not having much screen time or many lines which just adds to her mystique. 10/10, we should all demand a prequel for her.
Death Drop Gorgeous is certainly a successful passion project that gets a Pretty Groovy rating from us. What the filmmakers achieved with such a small-scale crew is amazing, so we can only hope they all continue to make content in the future.