Death Drop Gorgeous is a film I’ve been anticipating since I first heard about its production, sometime in 2019. A local (Providence, RI) slasher starring drag queens? Hell yeah. Written and directed by a trio who also star in the film (Michael J. Ahern, Christian Dalpe, Brandon Perras), Death Drop Gorgeous has made its way around a number of film festivals, and will finally be coming to VOD on September 10th.
Right off the bat, Death Drop Gorgeous gives us creepy camp. We’ve got 80s synth, dark alleys, and a super gross scene involving a screwdriver and a laughable amount of stabs. Within the first 20 minutes, we’ve got another memorable scene involving a glory hole and a meat grinder. While the effects and gore are good, I, personally, am grateful that a lot of the gross-out scenes pay homage to 80s slasher aesthetic, and go more for gushing blood and horrifying prosthetics than realism.
Dwayne (Wayne Gonsalves) recently moved back to Providence, and he’s in need of a job. This brings him to Tony Two Fingers Brandon Perras’s club, The Outhouse, and to reconnecting with his friend Brian (Christopher Dalpe). Dwayne and Brian are hilarious together, and Brian quickly became one of my favorite characters in the film. While you’re rooting for Dwayne and Brian, we’ve also got some super rude drag queens like Janet Fitness (Matthew Pidge). She is annoying (great eye makeup, though). These three also give some of Death Drop Gorgeous’s best acting.
The Outhouse is a struggling night club, and there’s lots of drama between the queens. Add to that a murderer on the loose – one who’s draining their victims of all their blood. Since the action – and violence – starts in the very first scene of the film, there’s no build-up of suspense. The film is pretty action-packed, which is sometimes hindered and dragged out by it’s long run-time of 1 hour 44 minutes.
While much of the acting in Death Drop Gorgeous is great, some of the drag performances are lacking the energy and quality that these same performances likely would have had off-screen. Death Drop Gorgeous did a lot with a small budget, but the stage performances of the drag queens would have really benefited from a higher production value. The audiences in these performances are sort of small and awkward, and, honestly? There are not enough death drops (or dips, or whatever you want to call that move).
Death Drop Gorgeous doesn’t shy away from commentary on problems within the queer scene. We’ve got POUNDR as our stand in for GRINDR, the app that leads men either to find a date, a hookup, or right into the hands of a crazed murderer. There’s some commentary on ageism, cattiness, racism, drug abuse, and toxic masculinity within the gay scene, but it often feels like an unfinished sentence; While Death Drop Gorgeous might bring up these topics and play with them like a cat plays with its prey, it never really goes for the kill and makes a statement.
There aren’t many movies filmed in little ol’ Providence, RI, so the local aspect of this is something I definitely enjoyed. Providence is a tiny city. Literally every spot in this film is recognizable. This is not a big deal if you’re from NYC, but hey, I can’t think of another Providence slasher film off the top of my head. There are great references to Buddy Cianci and Providence’s seedy history, and a few good caricatures of New England Italian guys.
Death Drop Gorgeous‘s biggest strength is in the characters. Not only is there a cameo from Linnea Quigley herself, but all of the queens are great. My personal favorite is Tragedi, played by Complete Destruction. The detectives on the case (played by Michael J. Ahern and Sean Murphy) have great chemistry together, and a little bit of *chemistry*.
Death Drop Gorgeous is one of the most fun slashers I’ve seen. It’s got a playful sense of humor and camp, so even though it’s about a masked murderer draining gay men of their blood, it’s a really funny movie with lots of great one-liners and sass. If you’re a fan of slashers and queer camp, Death Drop Gorgeous should definitely tickle your fancy.
Death Drop Gorgeous comes to theaters, digital, and VOD September 10
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