DEATH DROP GORGEOUS

Reviewed by GREG KING

Directors: Michael J Ahern, Brandon Perras, Christopher Dalpe

Stars: Wayne Gonsalves, Brandon Perras, Christopher Dalpe, Michael McAdam, Michael Ahern, Sean Murphy, Matthew Pidge. 

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This camp, gory slasher horror comedy is set against the backdrop of the dark underbelly of the gay and drag scene of Providence.  

Death Drop Gorgeous is something of a passion project for the filmmakers. It is the brainchild of three friends and first-time writers and directors Michael J Ahern, Christopher Dalpe and Brandon Perras, who wear multiple hats throughout the independently made and crowd funded production. According to co-writer and co-director, Death Drop Gorgeous is a deliberate pun on the title of the 1999 comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous.  

A serial killer is stalking gay bars, killing handsome young gay men he meets via a dating app and drinking their blood. Caught up in these disturbing events is Dwayne (Wayne Gonsalves), a bartender who is recovering from a messy breakup. He has returned to Providence and is temporarily living with Brian (Christopher Dalpe), a drag queen trying desperately to find love on a dating site. Dwayne works at the Aut Haus, a bar run by the abrasive and sleazy Tony Two Fingers (Perras) where nightly tempers flare and backstage bitchiness is common.  

Gloria Hole (Michael McAdams) is a bitter, acerbic, and washed-up aging drag queen who was once the star of the scene but is now reduced to calling the number in a run-down bingo hall. She is desperate to make a comeback. Investigating the series of gruesome murders (that includes a man whose penis was ground up in a meat mincer) are the corrupt gay detective O’Hara (Ahern) and his partner Detective Barry (Sean Murphy).  

The film is a deliberate homage to the camp stylings of John Waters as well as the gory horror of Dario Argento, and the bloody deaths are reminiscent of the Italian giallo style of horror with its lurid touches and inventive deaths, although some of the more gruesome moments and brutal killings are reminiscent of The Exterminator, the controversial and gross out 1981 exploitation classic from James Glickenhaus. The special effects, courtesy of Victoria Elizabeth Black, are sometimes limited by the constraints of the budget but there are still a couple of wince-inducing look away moments. And some of the dialogue, particularly in the early stages, doesn’t ring true. 

Death Drop Gorgeous was filmed on weekends over the course of 18 months. Some of the performances though are a little amateurish and shrill, not surprising given that much of the cast comprise nonprofessionals drawn from the local gay and drag community itself. The cast is populated by a host of drag queens with clever names like Fitness Janet, Audrey Heartburn and Tragedi, and there is plenty of big hair, fabulous costumes and bitchy putdowns. McAdam is the standout performer here with a wonderfully over the top performance as the bitchy Gloria who is keen to regain her former glory.  

Death Drop Gorgeous is far from perfect, and there is a lack of polish to its production values. However, while far from becoming a queer or cult classic, this schlock horror camp comedy may well resonate with its niche audience and do well on the festival circuit.  

★★☆

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