Death Drop Gorgeous
Directed and Written by Michael J. Ahern, Christopher Dalpe, & Brandon Perras- Sanchez
Starring Wayne Gonsalves, Michael McAdam, Christopher Dalpe, Complete Destruction
It is exciting when filmmakers show their love for a certain genre of cinema by crafting a love letter to the films and styles that have influenced them while still assuring their work is unique and original. As a modern filmmaker, you can pay your tributes and populate your film with homages, but make sure you find your own voice or your work will become lost in a sea of imitators and phonies.
Filmmakers Michael J. Ahern, Brandon Perras-Sanchez and Christopher Dalpe refer to their new film “Death Drop Gorgeous” as a blending “… the irreverence of John Waters and the psychedelia of Dario Argento.” In every gleefully over-the-top moment, we welcome these references with open cinematic arms.
Dwayne (Wayne Gonsalves) has returned to his home city of Providence, Rhode Island after a relationship ends. He moves in with his good friend Brian (Christopher Dalpe) and begins the rebuilding of his life, or such as it can be in the crazy world he inhabits.
Finding a job as a bartender in the drag club where he used to work, Dwayne discovers the competition between the club’s drag queens is becoming quite heated and overly toxic.
A bloody and brutal string of murders are plaguing the area. The killer (dubbed a “vampire” due to his draining of the victim’s blood) uses a hook-up app for gay men called “POUNDR” to lure his victims. Everyone is terrified. As side-eyes and vicious competition in the drag community give way to the rumor mill and distrust, it all begins snowballing into cruelty and danger.
This is a bold and cheeky film that constantly entertains through fun characterizations. Sure, there are some performances that fail to make the cut, but in a film so gleefully outrageous… who cares?
Dwayne is a good character who may hide an anger even he was not aware of. The cleverly named Gloria Hole (a very funny Payton St. James) is an aging drag queen who is drowning in the toxicity of her environment. Miss Hole is all snappy wisecracking diva by way of David Lynch who just may be more than her surface level gives away.
The most creative supporting character is a drag queen named Tragedi (Complete Destruction). She is a silently comic goth worker at the drag bar with a darker edge who lurks in the club almost like a ghost, but a humorous and endearing one. With her colored contacts and pure white makeup that give her the look of a rather sexy demon, Tragedi is Charlie Chaplin by way of Marilyn Manson.
This was a work of passion for the filmmakers and their cast, and their devotion is infectious. Many had regular jobs and filming was done on weekends, taking over a year to complete. Everyone was fully committed to making this one something special, and special it is.
The screenplay is quite clever and always fresh. Everyone involved keeps the proceedings fun and energetic and the low budget works extremely well, completing the raw, retro, vibe the filmmakers were seeking. The electric music score from Kyle Paradise, Jaqueline Kamel and Limmazine add to the nostalgic aura.
This is an entertainment that is proud to be Queer, wears its individuality as a badge of honor, and one that revels in being wild.
With a bit of Giallo, a heavy vibe of 80s gore Horror (complete with a cameo from one of that era’s most popular Scream Queens), a healthy and wicked sense of humor, and a cast that know they are there to have a great time, “Death Drop Gorgeous” is a fierce blast of infectious fun!
And watch out for meat grinders and glory holes! (You’ll see!)
NR, 104 Minutes, Michael J. Ahern Films