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Friday, May 29, 2009

Movie Review: Gothkill

Gothkill (aka Gothkill: The Soul Collector) has clustered a cult camp of horror buffs, satanists, Goths and street vampires in the New York region so much director JJ Connelly has been known to show the film on special theme nights in area bars.

The first thing you need to know about Gothkill is that it's a subtle parody of the underground Goth, vampire and fetish scenes in which a small "elite" tribe calling themselves the "Scorpion Society" are little more than high profile rapists who drug newcomer "initiates" and set up gang bang events under the guise of dark art rituals.

When a pair of out-of-their element wannabes Kate (Eve Blackwater) and Annie (Erica Giovinazzo) are invited as V.I.P. guests to the Scorpion Society--who claim reputation for staking the best parties in the New York Goth scene--they get more than they bargain for amidst a seedy, arcane club run by the Scorpions.

In fact, the entire Scorpions sect get a hell of a lot more than they plan for this evening as the lecherous leader Lord Walechia (who admits to his sadist DJ cohort he's in it simply for the poon) inadvertently summons up the spirit of a fallen Catholic priest-turned-Satanic-murderer Nick Dread (Flambeaux) via a set of ancient scriptures that has fallen into his possession. You'll need to watch the film to see the order of events leading to this redirection.

Flambeaux does a smarmy interpretation of Colin Farrell's Bullseye from Daredevil only with far more sinister motives. Having made a pact with the devil after being hypocritally torched by his fellow witchhunting Catholic inquisitors, Nick Dread dominates Gothkill as the primary focus as well as constituting its narrator. The terms of his bond to Lucifer dictate Dread will host his own legion of disciples in Hell if he slaughters 100,000 people over the course of as many reincarnations as it takes to get the job done.

When Dread has finally amassed his 100,000th tally, he willingly submits to mortal capital punishment by hanging, only to discover he has been deceived by Satan and left in complete isolation as his lying benefactor keeps the souls for himself. Now shifting his vow of vengeance against God to Satan, Nick Dread's soul is quickly looped to the human world as the Scorpions preside a ritual overtop the laced-out Annie, reading the very words Dread has used in his own.

Usurping her body and using it to destroy the Scorpion Society in a ridiculous (though sometimes gory) set of butcher scenes, Nick Dread relents his new charge when her weepy friend Kate implores him to set her free. Having more than his fill of company in Hell, Dread relinquishes his control of Annie and begins his eternal reign of torture over the slain Goths.

Yes, the premise is as nutty it sounds and Gothkill is just wrong on all accounts. The bloody scenes are well-done though the fight skits--particularly the one with the possessed Annie against the child sodomite DJ Demon (Anastacia Andino) will rupture your ribs to pieces it's that awful.

Keep in mind, however, Gothkill is farce and in that context JJ Connelly does a credible job of entertaining his audience with a reasonable script that churns along steadily at 75 minutes. He also has plenty of skin trade and an appropriately sadistic bad guy who will stick out in your mind once this thing has rolled through.

Particularly impressive about Flambeaux is the final sequence where he oversees an erotic orgy of agony with a flaming apparatus strapped to his back. As a well-known extreme performance artist, Connelly does well by tossing Flambeaux into the lead role. Though by no means a fiery actor, Flambeaux's stunts at least ring true of his namesake and with spurting blood and flopping breasts galore (not to mention a quick cameo by Fuse's Mistress Juliya), Gothkill is idiot savantism for genre kindred.

As Gothkill has inspired a group of devotees who parade the New York underground in character (some to the point of public nudity, which you can witness on the DVD's bonus features), expect to hear this film's title quite a bit for the next year or so. The fact Connelly testifies the movie was nearly dead at the door due to a money-grubbing producer trying to siphon more duckets from him, the more motivated he gets to make his film at least a B+ movie. Its score ranges from metal to industrial to techno lounge to psychobilly, which likewise lends an intriguing mix of vibes for its selected audience which appears broader in scope than most realize.

By no means a horror masterpiece, Gothkill at least brings to life a slew of death, black metal and Danzig album covers for a generation growing more obsessed with self-empowering hedonism by the day.

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