NOTE: Here is my review from Soda & Telepaths that was posted back on September 11, 2021
In the gay nightlife area of Providence, Rhode Island, things aren’t going great in the club of Tony Two Fingers. The queens aren’t bringing in an audience, the go-go boys keep leaving or catching venereal diseases and people no longer go to the clubs to hook up, thanks to the Pounder app making it easier to find someone without needing to go into a club that smells like sadness and regret.
…oh, and there’s a serial killer going around and draining the blood of their victims. This really puts a damper on the nightlife, leaving queens like Tragedi (Complete Destruction), Audrey Heartburn (Paul Bohn) and Gloria Hole (Michael McAdam) to try to make the best of it while, ya know, avoiding getting murdered.
It’s kind of stunning to realise that there isn’t much in the way of horror films starring and set in the gay culture. I can maybe come up with a handful, things like Hellbent or the 1313 franchise by David DeCoteau but there aren’t many, which is odd considering how a lot of horror fans are of the LGBT community. Death Drop Gorgeous decided to make up for lost time by being as gay as anyone could possibly want and it’s kind of fabulous about it. It leans heavily into the club culture and the world of drag, showing the grungy side that made up this world for years before drag went mainstream.
Fairly obviously, Death Drop Gorgeous is a very low budget film, shot by people who don’t seem to have many credits who wanted to fill a void they saw in the market by making this silly low budget slasher. Once you account for things that can be put down to using consumer-grade gear and having a low budget (Like a very clear lack of steady cam, occasional focus issues and other things that really are to be expected for films made like this) you end up with a film that has a lot to enjoy in its unrepentant dedication to its queerness and love of over the top horror.
Death Drop Gorgeous has that good old camp aesthetic that can only come from a combination of high ambition without the budget to make it work. The acting can be delightfully corny, particularly from the drag queen characters who just revel in every second of screentime they get. There are some genuinely clever and fun ways the film works within its limits, from sets that are clearly made of a sheet pulled tight as possible to create the illusion of a wall to a green screen that threatens to expose itself at any time, it has this charming “Let’s put on a show!” vibe to it that’s just enjoyable.
On top of being as unapologetically queer as it can get, Death Drop Gorgeous is also pushing itself in terms of practical gore. This movie is not shy about throwing around the red stuff with effects that feel reminiscent of classic Savini work, and appropriately the gore makeup was largely done by Dragula Season 2 contestant Victoria Elizabeth Black, so even the gore is incredibly gay.
Some of the effects work in this one is so good and visceral that it made me wince in pain, especially one of the early kills (not spoiling what it is but… those of you in possession of a penis might want to cross your legs). Sure some effects are as simple as bending a few fingers to pretend you only have two, but most of them are genuinely quite good.
Death Drop Gorgeous is just a lot of fun. It’s cheesy, it’s campy, it’s gory and god damn is it gay as all hell. It’s the kind of fun low budget horror that would’ve taken pride of place on any video store shelf back in the day, just a bunch of friends making a fun scary movie on the weekends with whatever was available to them. There’s a lot of creativity here and a lot of fun, it’s by no means perfect but it’s enjoyable.
I genuinely hope that someone gives these creators an actual budget to work with someday so we can see what they’ll do because a higher budget gay horror film by these people would be a ton of fun.
Death Drop Gorgeous is released on Digital by Dark Star Pictures on September 10.