Movie review: “Death to Metal” – Heavy Metal Hijinks
By Nicole Veneto
Death to metal is the best genre of low-budget exploitation film, because its ideal balance of ridiculously excessive gore and conscious humor makes up for its technical and budgetary shortcomings.
Death to metal, directed by Tim Connery. Now available on VoD
If you had to compile a list of things I’m looking for in a movie, profanity would be all the way up with head explosions, impromptu dance sequences, frontal male nudity, and beautiful women with blood-soaked daggers and / or sharp objects. I’m fully aware that my particular brand of taste oscillates between strangely niche genre films and films that only the sick would appreciate. (Please take this into account when reading my reviews, dear Artistic fuse Readers.) Having been brought up in the Catholic Church and subjected to many hours of CCD after school, I inevitably developed a penchant for sacrilege in my viewing habits. Just because I harbor any animosity for religious doctrine – I just find the exorbitant theatricality of repressed sexuality and deadly sin to be incredibly lucrative for the film show, from nuns behaving badly to priests wearing their clothes. affinity with God to inhuman extremes.
Obviously, I’m not the only person who likes onscreen heresy. In addition to being a co-owner of the only video rental store operating in the Greater Boston Area, Kevin Koppes of The Video Underground also happens to be a beginning screenwriter. And I’m happy to report that the metalsploitation film he co-wrote with director Tim Connery, Death to metal, meets two of my most important cinematic criteria: profanity and frontal male nudity, both of which occur within the first two minutes. Shot with a budget of around $ 100,000, Death to metal is a super low-budget horror comedy that’s as playful incendiary as it is incredibly charming. If you’re in the mood for some fun, this should feel like heaven.
Joyfully reveling in its in-your-faceness, The death of metal opens with a passage from Romans 1:18, which says: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness on the part of men. This quote is quickly smothered by the words “Fuck your God!” before a transition to a black and white flashback of a bespectacled little boy harassed by a trio of greasy metalheads who literally piss all over his precious Bible. This childhood incident turns out to be traumatic for Father Milton Kilborn (Andrew Jessop, a look-alike for B movie heavyweight Jeffrey Combs) who we then see as a grown man preaching sermons of fire and brimstone against ‘marriages’. gays, ”“ hipster jeans ”and“ pizza buffets ”in an unassuming Midwestern church. For the Chief Priest, Father Brennan (Dan Flannery), Kilborn’s overzealous homilies are far too wrathful for modern parishioners. He suspends Kilborn from his priestly duties, with the added inconvenience of referring him to a psychiatrist.
Distraught, Kilborn embarks on a pipe bender via stolen communion wine and ends up crashing his car in a toxic waste dump by the side of the road. He survives the wreckage, but Kilborn transforms into a hideous monster determined to exact revenge on those who wronged him, including the town’s metal enthusiasts. Meanwhile, heavy metal singer Zane (Alex Stein) is unceremoniously kicked out of his band Withered Christ days before they start for Grandma Incinerator during the annual Holy Saturday Metal Massacre show run by local promoter Ryan Rammer ( Charlie Lind). Worse yet, his girlfriend breaks up with him immediately after. In an effort to save face, Zane begs his best friend Mariah (Grace Melon) to be his plus-one at the event, despite the fact that she hates heavy metal. Unbeknownst to Zane, the mutated father Kilborn stalks the location and kills anyone who gets in his way, putting him and Mariah on a collision course with the hideous priest.
Death to metal is the best genre of low-budget exploitation film, because its ideal balance of ridiculously excessive gore and conscious humor makes up for its technical and budgetary shortcomings. Don’t expect the genre of artistically theatrical blasphemy films like Devils Where The Exorcist orchestrate perfectly. But you’ll see a horribly disfigured priest tear a fetus from the womb of a pregnant woman, and that must surely count for something, right? In those kind of movies, what you’re really looking for is a variety of inventive killings. (In addition to the hilarious forced abortion, Kilborn also makes a man drink bleach until he croaks.) To that end, Connery and Koppes do more than deliver, and they do it with all of the low budget styling attributes that make Class B. Horror movies so much fun to watch. There’s a fair amount of handy blood-splashed alongside your standard fog machines and neon lighting, so while the makeup and effects aren’t that great, it’s shot well enough that you end up doing it. stop worrying that Charlie Lind appears to be wearing a cosplay wig.
In terms of performance, Andrew Jessop steals the show as pre-transferred Father Kilborn. Think Re-Animator‘s Herbert West – if he took the cloth instead of going to med school to play god. Well done to the casting team as well. Being a low budget movie, most of the supporting characters and extras are played by novice actors, friends of the production, and members of the Midwestern metal community. Aside from Jessop, none of the other performances are as good (although they do have their natural charms), but everyone here is watching and taking action. exactly like all heavy metal fans that I have met. Between all the long, stringy hair and thick bushy beards featured throughout this movie, you’d be hard pressed to find a more accurate depiction of the metal heads of the Midwest on screen. And I would be remiss if I did not mention the film’s real performer, Jimmy Leighton, who plays Ryan Rammer’s adorable young son, Danny. Their scenes together are almost too cute for words, especially the part where Ryan teaches Danny how to make a devil horns gesture with his tiny little fist. This is possibly one of the cutest things I have ever seen in my life.
Overall I had a lot more fun with Death to metal that I expected to have. It is inspired by the greats of horror B without drowning in referential nostalgia. Like a lot of movies I’ve commented on The fuse of the arts, Death to metal is not for everyone. But if you’re looking for a nice B-movie – and also want to support our friends at The Video Underground – you can’t go wrong with a movie about a mutant priest who murders metal heads.
Nicole Veneto graduated from Brandeis University with an MA in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, focusing on Feminist Media Studies. His writing has been featured in MAY Feminism & Visual Culture, Cinematographic Questions Magazine, and Boston University Hoochie Reader. You can follow her on Letterboxd and Twitter @kuntsuragi for weird and niche movie recommendations.