Death Drop Gorgeous is gutsy, literally and figuratively, rolling out a roster of dazzling divas to take a stab at the film’s unique take on vampirism. This film may be a raging good time for those who would appreciate a movie with a homemade look, as well, of course, for those who admire drag queens and all of their glory. Written and directed by Michael J. Ahern, Christopher Dalpe, and Brandon Perras, Death Drop Gorgeous will be available on September 10th on-demand and via a limited theatrical release.
From what I can discern, Death Drop Gorgeous is set in the small town of Providence, Rhode Island, which seems to have only a single bar dedicated to showcasing drag queens in variety shows. Run by a cutthroat owner named Tony Two Fingers (Brandon Perras), the club hosts a cabaret of performers, both young and aging, as well its LGBTQ and community-friendly clientele. One evening, a local gay man is found dead and drained of blood, launching a series of similar murders that target the city’s LGBTQ community, but primarily the club’s drag queens and those using the dating app named Poundr. Investigators are continually stumped while the bodies mount, leaving it up to the club’s faithful bartender, Dwayne (Wayne Gonsalves), to track down the serial diva slayer.
Death Drop Gorgeous’ unabandoned spirit was reminiscent of John Waters and his crew, and its down and dirty gore was something like the violence found in Canuxploitation movies. Further characteristic of the latter genre, Death Drop Gorgeous’ 1980s synth wave musical score made the movie seem dated somehow, despite its seemingly modern setting and contemporary premise of dating-app horror. By the end, the movie did grow on me, however, throughout the viewing, I couldn’t help but cringe at a few choices made for this film. It may be either novice writing or acting, however, I often found the dialogue felt either forced or inauthentic, with most if not all of the performances coming off as mimicking stock characters from cinema — the cops are typical suspender-wearing donut-munchers, the bar owner is stereotypically sleazy and potbellied (placed in a painfully obvious fat suit, no less), however, a handful of the drag queens make their marks on this movie, and despite only lip-synching their songs, their kills and personalities were for real.
Michael McAdam as Gloria Hole (aka Gloria Troll to the haters) chewed absolutely every scene and I loved her range of expression and commitment to each line. Furthermore, her character was a refreshingly layered character in comparison to the other characters, as she got to explore the tragedy of aging and depict the emotional turmoil of a star not only losing her shine, but worse, being totally eclipsed by a younger, less talented star. The rest of the cast seeming like surface characters may have just been a case of too many cooks in the kitchen as the cast was rather large; further like Canuxploitation films, much of the cast was obvious fodder for the movie to reach a respectable kill count.
For the most part, the kills were nearly (but not fully) on par with something found on a Boulet Brothers’ Dragula episode, though I loved the biting black comedy that each of those scenes delivered. As the movie clawed its way towards a climax the kills became more epic, primarily due to there finally being some interesting lighting and framing to match the growing fever pitch of the killing spree. Besides the gory bits, there were catty and comedic one-liners for further entertainment. However, it is obvious that Death Drop Gorgeous was working with either little or no budget, and for what was produced from those circumstances, I cannot completely fault the film since it still produced a villain I wanted to root for and a lovable cast of drag queens that just don’t quit – literally, even in the face of death.
5.5 out of 10