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Monday, April 20, 2009

GOTHKILL -- DVD review by porfle

Love 'em or hate 'em, it's just plain fun to watch Goths get slaughtered. At least, that's the idea behind first-time writer-director JJ Connelly's seriocomic bloodbath GOTHKILL (2009), and he makes a pretty strong case for it.

Stop me if you've heard this one: former priest Nicholas Dread (Flambeaux) has a serious falling out with his fellow Spanish Inquisitors, and while they're burning him at the stake, he makes a deal with Beelzebub--if he kills 100,000 corrupt people during his next several reincarnations, he'll eventually get to rule over them all in Hell. Having reached the magic number during a shotgun slaughter of some unsuspecting present-day sycophants, Nick gets his neck stretched and ends up "down under", only to find that old Scratch has hogged all those souls for himself and left Nick alone in a dark limbo of eternal thumb-twiddling. "Hello?" he calls out upon his arrival. "Is there anyone home?"

Meanwhile, two nubile young airheads, the worldly Kate and the virginal Annie (Eve Blackwater, Erica Giovinazzo), get invited to a secret gathering of the highly-exclusive Scorpion Society, the self-proclaimed elite of the New York Goth underground. After some perverse party hijinks with these wannabe vampires, the girls get drugged and end up as the main event in a kooky Satanic ritual. But when the clueless leader reads the wrong magical incantation from a mysterious book, it gives Nick the opportunity to jump into Annie's body and go on a slaughter spree that leaves no Goth unkilled and helps replenish his supply of souls to rule over in Hell.

Looking pretty good for a no-budget comedy-horror flick shot on video, GOTHKILL makes up for its occasional draggy spots with generous amounts of boobage, kinky stuff, and unconvincing but enthusiastic violence. Nick's noose-worthy gallows sendoff early on should please viewers with a "women in uniform" fetish, since strangely enough the warden and all the guards are of the female persuasion. The Goth party is a visual treat as well, with fire performer Sky Claudette Soto as a go-go dancer, a dominatrix or two, and the striking Anastacia Andino as butch lesbian DJ Demon.

"Unconvincing but enthusiastic" would also be an apt description of the cast. Scottish-born fire performer Flambeaux, who set the world record in 2008 for keeping a lit torch in his mouth for a full 57 seconds (according to Wikipedia), seems to be having a perpetual giddy fit chomping up the scenery as Nick Dread. This is especially true in the final minutes, when he launches into his fire-breathing act with a truly manic zeal. Erica Giovinazzo's transformation from shy, reserved Annie into a Nick-possessed killing machine is another highlight. And particularly vile is Michael Day as the rotund, clownishly-made-up Goth ringleader Lord Walechia, whose bushy, greasepainted eyebrows eventually begin to resemble horrible twin globs of cottage cheese suspended over his eyes. Yeccch! Fortunately, Fuse TV veejay Mistress Juliya is on hand as "Devil Girl" to help make up for such visual offenses.

Yes, there are boring parts. Certain scenes go on too long without any nudity or carnage to jolly them up, especially during Nick's Spanish Inquisition flashback, which consists of some guys in burlap bathrobes emoting badly at each other. Oh yeah, they do whip a few topless women before burning them at the stake, which is some consolation. And Nick's lengthy speech to his captive Goth audience before going medieval on their asses tends to drag despite his marvelous Scottish accent. Finally, though, he turns back into Erica Giovinazzo, has one of the most hilariously-inept martial arts battles of all time with my future wife Anastacia Andino, and then kills everybody in a fake-bloody frenzy. Now that's entertainment!

The DVD image is full-screen and, like I said, looks pretty good for such a small budget. Extras include:

Audio/video commentary by Connelly, Falmbeaux and Blackwater
Q&A with JJ Connelly from a New York City screening
GOTHKILL live performance chronicle
Production and publicity still galleries
Original trailers

Also of interest is the DVD cover art by artist Mike Hrubovcak, which is quite nice. And yes, Flambeaux does wear that nutty-looking fire headdress in the movie.

JJ Connelly has stated that his goal was to create "a campy, B-grade midnight movie that's fun to watch." Campy? Definitely. B-grade? Oh my, yes. Fun to watch? Well, unless you're one of those picky people who demand stuff like "good production values" in their movies, then GOTHKILL may be the most fun you've had watching Goths get killed since way back in the golden age of Gothkilling when guys like D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille were killing off truckloads of the creepy bastards.

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