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Salem Horror Fest 2020: Death Drop Gorgeous Serves Glitz and Gore

The perfect blend of glitz and gore is what makes Death Drop Gorgeous so irresistible. All I’ve ever wanted was a synth-y neon B-horror about gays and queens. Or at least now I know that’s all I’ve ever wanted. And Salem Horror Fest has brought me just that. It’s so campy that John Waters has a permanent tent set up in this film. Not literally, figuratively. And the self-awareness is exactly what a film with this low of a budget and this cheesy of a premise needs.

When people start to turn up dead in Providence, the only connecting factor is the Aut Haus, the hottest drag queen club in town. All we know is that the killer wears a gold mask à la Daft Punk and black gloves. Every person who turns up dead makes the club, and thereby the owner Tony Two Fingers (co-writer and co-director Brandon Perras) look more and more guilty. But not to worry, he’s got the local cops under his thumb—so much so that they dispose of a body for him, but who am I to judge? Nevertheless, the cops must do their job and figure out who the killer is before it’s too late.

Roommates Brian (Christopher Dalpe) and Dwayne (Wayne Gonsalves) sit at their kitchen island over breakfast chatting.

This is one of those “so bad it’s good” movies, but it’s completely aware of that. It’s a B-movie that knows it’s a B-movie and leans so far into it you think it’s going to implode. If Death Drop Gorgeous were any campier, they’d have to name it Jellystone Park (please understand this reference somebody). Someone call Felissa Rose because we are going to sleepaway camp with this movie. Scratch that, these divas wouldn’t be camping, they’d be glamping. I think this film just made glamp a film term. Camp but make it sparkle and don’t forget to wear your black gloves lest you’d get a little dirt under your 3-inch acrylics.

And the script, oh the script. Death Drop Gorgeous knows one thing and one thing only and that’s iconic zingers. The line “don’t be such a Les Mis” will live in my head for years to come. Several of the songs in the film were written just for the film, and they honestly need to be on Spotify immediately, particularly the tune about two left titties. And that’s just a sampling of the ooey-gooey goodness of some of these lines. But, like any good B-movie, the more “serious” lines are genuinely awful, and I say that in the most loving way. They’re written horribly and overacted in a way that’s just majestic to watch. If you love B-movies, you will adore this one. It’s practically a love letter to the genre. When you have a low budget but boundless amounts of creativity, well baby, that’s where the fun begins.

Tony Two Fingers (Brandon Perras) smoking in his office. He has all five fingers.

Like any good slasher, the deaths in Death Drop Gorgeous are so gory you might want to keep a barf bag in sight. Seriously, the guts in this film are like Fruit-by-the-Foot. Men: you’re never going to want to look at a meat grinder again. At one point, the gore was so graphic and in-your-face and exciting that I screamed at my laptop so loud my mom came upstairs to make sure I was okay. This is my Super Bowl. There’s so much blood in this film you could fill a baby pool with it. For what it (purposely) lacks in story and substance, it makes up in gore. And it’s not just gore, it’s gorgeously shot gore. Glam gore, if you will. From now on, this is the minimum amount of grotesqueness I require from all B-movies, self-aware or not.

When Death Drop Gorgeous isn’t completely dragging itself, it’s giving some serious nods to some horror legends. We have a direct Silence of the Lambs reference in a scene with Brian trying on some drag queen clothes that would win a Buffalo Bill lookalike contest with ease. We have a dead body wraaapped in plastic that’s almost an identical shot to Laura Palmer’s dead body in Twin Peaks. And, the killer wears black gloves which is a hallmark of giallo. Combined with a score that sounds like it could’ve been made by Goblin and stunning visuals, this film is basically a giallo itself, which we all know was the predecessor and impetus for slasher films.

Audrey Heartburn (Paul Bohn) with shards of mirror in her face, bloodied up and gasping.

My one gripe is the ending. It just makes no sense—the post-credits sequence is completely unnecessary and only over-complicates the plot. Without revealing anything, I get the references they were going for, but it just fell flat for me. It could’ve been much more satisfying and fun, especially for a film that was such a romp to begin with. Even the final death of the film is kind of blasé (obviously in a kill-fest, there has to be a last death so don’t act like it’s a spoiler, you know the slasher formula by now). The other 90% of the film is absolutely phenomenal though, and completely worth the watch.

A perfect satire of B-movies, Death Drop Gorgeous knows what it is, knows its worth, and owns it. Tens across the board. I can promise you that you will have a fun time with this one, no matter if you’re into drag culture or not. It’s satisfying for both gore fans and aesthetic chasers alike. I happen to fall smack dab in the middle of that Venn diagram. B-movies will always have my entire heart, and this one is no exception.

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Written by Erica Kay

Erica is the queen of giallo. All hail Erica. You can find them on Twitter @agnesvodka yes that's an Agnès Varda pun. Oh and the Scungilli man is real and I *will* find him.

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