Sometimes I wonder what sort of dark, malevolent forces are at work within the already questionable realm of Do-It-Yourself Cinema. Especially when the DIY film in question has the word “Goth” in the title. Some people, such as the timid and God-fearing Christian types, will automatically associate “Goth” with “Satan.” As for me, I don’t give a shit one way or another if a title has the word “Goth” in it: I’m just as inclined to roll my eyes over the thought of pretentiously-artsy kids filming their own cheap, cheesy, dark fairy tale complete with bad acting and lousy music as I am to roll my eyes at anything that is overly Christian in nature. I think my biggest issue with DIY films with “Goth” in the title is, much like Christianity itself, everyone has their own idea about what “Goth” really is.
My second biggest qualm with DIY Cinema is when alleged filmmakers film their entire masterpiece with a video camera. Naturally, you can imagine how utterly thrilled I was to discover Gothkill was shot on video. What’s more, I found it was cheap, cheesy, and featured more than a bit of bad acting and lousy music.
And yet, for some reason, it wasn’t as utterly unwatchable as many of the other films from the DIY genre.
Written and directed by newbie JJ Connelly, Gothkill tells the story of Nick Dread (the remarkably hammy Scottish actor, Flambeaux), a one-time Catholic Priest who renounced his faith in God and pledged his allegiance to that other guy — all because the Church burned innocent people at the stakes (seems like a reasonable thing to do if you ask me). After fulfilling his contract of delivering 100,000 souls to Satan, Dread winds up being betrayed by the Devil (go figure), and is only released into our world once again when a pretentious New York City group of wannabe vampires resurrect his spirit in the body of a Goth chick. A lot of killing and sardonic dialogue ensue. Anybody looking for more than that should probably know better.
Wild Eye Releasing brings Gothkill to DVD in a “Satanic Special Edition,“ boasting a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer. Since it was shot on video, it looks pretty clear, and naturally suffers some grain in the darker scenes. The stereo sound comes through fine, although the soundtrack is a little over-modulated at times (it’s DIY Cinema, folks) and the music on the Main Menu will blast you out of the room if you don’t turn the volume waaayyyy down first. Special features include a video commentary with writer/director Connelly, and actors Flambeaux and Eve Blackwater; a Q&A from a New York City screening; some stills and trailers; and a “Live Performance Chronicle” (behind-the-scenes).
OK, so the Bottom Line here: Gothkill is a very silly, very low budget shot-on-video flick. But, in-between the often dreadful acting, deficient special effects and nerve-wracking soundtrack, there’s a certain wit to the writing that makes it worthwhile. Well, for people that like DIY movies with the word “Goth” in the titles, at least.