Writer/director of the hit horror film DEATHGASM – screened 19th November at TAFE Coomera Campus.
Deathgasm is not your typical horror film, with a mix of that quintessential Kiwi humour, and some mighty heavy metal themes, no wonder the film has been having enormous success on the worldwide festival circuit.
Writer/ Director Jason Lei Howden, is no stranger to the world of film, having worked for the famous Weta Workshop in Wellington. NZ on such films as Man of Steel and The Hobbit trilogy, and the Australian visual effects company Iloura, who were behind The Great Gatsby, The Wolverine and Gods of Egypt. Jason’s work in visual effects gave him the tools to know what a film should look like, and not unlike Peter Jackson’s start in film, Jason has stuffed Deathgasm full of special effects (rather than VFX) that any horror fan expects.
Jason will be on the Gold Coast for Deathgam’s one night only screening on Thursday 19 November, for a Q&A after the film. We thought we would warm him up with a few questions.
What was the inspiration behind the film?
JASON: Deathgasm is about two Kiwi Metalheads who accidentally bring about the demonic apocalypse, causing the conservative townsfolk to get possessed and mutilate anyone in their way. So Brodie and Zakk have to stop it the only way they know how: With violent, bloody splatstick action and guitar shredding.
The inspiration came from my own teen years, growing up as a Metalhead in Greymouth. I wanted to make the sort of film me and my mates would have loved back then, a TRUE Heavy Metal horror movie, full of gore, tits, loud riffs and dick jokes.
Regarding the name: A DEATHGASM is the feeling you get after watching insane splatter horror action, the sense of joy attained by watching Metalheads murder demons with hammers and veiny dildos. The thrill that only comes with listening to balls-deep HEAVY METAL while witnessing a face get bifurcated wide open. The sweaty, sticky ecstasy of seeing Rock N Roll horror mayhem: you GASP, you SHUDDER, you GRIN. You leave a salty, greasy mess everywhere (popcorn on the cinema seat).
It also happens to be the name of the fictional band in the film.
Has your work at Weta Workshop influenced your filmmaking style?
JASON: I love working in VFX, the tools that are available to filmmakers these days are phenomenal. But I wanted Deathgasm to be more like the films of yesteryear, with crazy practical effects. I grew up reading about the adventures of Tom Savini and Rick Baker and wanted to be a part of that world. So in many ways it was about relieving the stress of the long hours I had spent in front of a computer screen and spend time on set with human beings. I don’t have any regrets. Maybe my wallet does!
If this film was a metal song, what would it be?
JASON: Raining Blood by SLAYER
What recommendations do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
JASON: Stand your ground when it comes to casting. Listen to your crew.
If your film gets into festivals try and attend every one that you can. I presented Deathgasm at many festivals in 16 different countries across the world. It’s an incredible experience and a great way to meet and connect with other filmmakers.
JASON: I have some options. Whatever it is, it will be crazy, fun and feature some ass-kicking. I won’t be doing a coming of age drama any time soon.
DEATHGASM is presented by The Gold Coast Film Festival and TAFE Gold Coast.