A masked figure wearing leather gloves and slashing a bloody path through a chosen group of victims. Whether it be a slasher or a giallo, if you’re into horror you’ve probably seen plenty of them, many of them very similar. Death Drop Gorgeous is something very different. It combines flamboyant LGBTQ characters including several drag queens with over-the-top kills in a campy, bloody, B-movie.
After a bad breakup, Dwayne (Wayne Gonsalves) returns to his native Providence Rhode Island and crashes on his friend Brian’s (Christopher Dalpe) couch while he tries to get his life back together. That includes getting his old job behind the bar at The Aut Haus, a club owned by Tony Two Fingers (Brandon Perras) back. There he gets to work with drag divas like Gloria Hole (Michael McAdam), Tragedi (Complete Destruction) and Janet Fitness (Matthew Pidge).
But Dwayne isn’t the only recent arrival in town. A serial killer dubbed The Vampire for their habit of draining their victims’ of their blood, is on the prowl. Using the hookup app POUNDR they’re targeting the gay men of Providence, those who frequent Tony’s club in particular.
Death Drop Gorgeous is the creation of Michael J. Ahern, Christopher Dalpe, and Brandon Perras. They co-directed, co-wrote and appeared in the film. Amazingly it’s the first credit of any sort for them apart from Perras who was a producer on a short some years ago. The same is true for most of the cast. Saying they made a good first impression is an understatement.
While you could probably quibble about details, Death Drop Gorgeous is much more of a giallo than a slasher. Leather gloves, a great electronic score and gruesome killings that include a scene involving a glory hole and a meat grinder, they’re there. Scott C. Miller whose credits are mostly for shorts but has worked on the Dexter revival and The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot makes sure the killings are disgusting in all the right ways.
Unlike Knife + Heart, the only other LGBTQ giallo I can think of, here it’s all set off with a large dose of humour. The jokes range from obvious, the grinder scene is followed by someone cooking sausages to double entendres about “packing my shit” in the middle of a conversation. The two corrupt, and inept, cops Tony has on his payroll certainly qualify as comic relief. Death Drop Gorgeous also isn’t afraid to turn its humour inward, frequently skewering issues within the gay community itself.
There’s really very little to complain about in Death Drop Gorgeous, and what there is, for the most part, is minor. The killer’s identity is a bit on the obvious side. Not immediately guessable, but they’ll be in your top suspects almost immediately. The final showdown is a well-staged bloodbath, but as with many similar scenes, goes on a bit too long. The two scenes after what should be the film’s end, one pre-credits the other post are my biggest gripes. They’re not only unneeded, but they also take away from the effect of what should have been the final shot.
Overall though, Death Drop Gorgeous is not just an impressive debut or an outstanding example of queer horror. It’s an excellent thriller with a nice touch of humour. And, as an added bonus, it has a cameo from Linnea Quigley (Camp Twilight, The Good Things Devils Do). It won’t be to everyone’s taste due to its subject matter and a couple of the more graphic scenes, but those willing to give it a chance will have a fabulous time.
Death Drop Gorgeous will be released in theatres and on Digital by Dark Star Pictures on September 10th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details.