“Death Metal” (2016): Carnage and Comedy Riff Together Fiercely

Guitar riffage leads to blood spillage in writer/director Chris McInroy’s horror-comedy short Death Metal, which truly lives up to its title. This film boasts enough blood and gore in its five-minute running time to fill the average feature-length film but it offers more than that, as well.

Lars (Kirk Johnson) wants to rock on his guitar but has little natural talent for it in the horror comedy short film Death Metal.

Lars (Kirk Johnson in a ridiculously funny wig) is a budding heavy metal guitarist who should have practiced a lot more than he did before trying to busk in a park. His father (Michael Dalmon) passes down a diabolical guitar that allows its players to riff mightily, but it comes with a cost. Unfortunately for a number of people, rules must be followed when dealing with the infernal.

Lars’s father (Michael Dalmon) tells his son the story of a demonic guitar passed from father to son in his family.

There has been no shortage of gruesomely over-the-top horror comedies meshing death metal with demonic dealings, but Chris McInroy brings some new tricks with his short. Viewers who think they have seen it all in this subgenre will be rewarded by seeking out this effort. Along with impressive practical effects from special effects supervisor Eric Zapata and his assistants Erin Einbender and Sarah Danko, Death Metal offers a fair share of laughs; all-in performances from Kirk Johnson, Michael Dalmon, and the supporting cast; skillful helming from McInroy; E.J. Enriquez’s accomplished cinematography and framing; and crisp editing from Gavin Tatro that keeps pace with the humor and horror.

There’s no lack of the red stuff in Death Metal.

Death Metal is currently on an award-winning film festival run. For more information, visit facebook.com/deathmetalshortfilm/.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.