Horror movie winner promises 'demons and chainsaws'

Jason Lei Howden, the winner of the Make My Movie Competition.
Jason Lei Howden, the winner of the Make My Movie Competition.

Heavy metal music, Greymouth and hordes of possessed locals sounds like an improbable nightmare, but Make My Horror Movie judges think Jason Lei Howden's combination is the perfect recipe.

The Wellington film-maker has been crowned winner of the competition with his pitch for Deathgasm, a splatter horror/black comedy about two heavy metal-thrashing losers who must stop a malevolent force they accidentally unleash after hunting through the bowels of black magic for a way to stop the bullies and win the girls.

Howden says the film is very much a part of him.

"[Deathgasm] is mostly inspired by my teenage years. A lot of the characters are based on me and my friends at that time - we were metal heads, social outcasts, growing up in a small town on the West Coast of the South Island.

"I guess the only difference is, in this world they are also fighting demons with chainsaws."

The Weta Digital paint artist started work on his first horror movie when he was 13, spending his childhood immersed in the classics - from Sir Peter Jackson's Bad Taste to Dawn of the Dead. Making Deathgasm is a way to relive those glory days, although he promises some of the most inventive and shocking gore ever captured on screen.

"There use to be a lot of horror movies me and my friends would watch, that we would just quote incessantly. I guess I'm just trying to do something that kind of throws back to those. A lot of horror movies I'm watching these days are really mean-spirited, so the focus of this one is making something entertaining.

"We don't have to be, necessarily, the most shocking film out there, but we want to give viewers something they haven't seen before."

Shooting starts in a few months, and must finish by the end of the year. Completing it in time, and within the $200,000 budget covered by the prize money, is a scary prospect, says Howden.

"It's very ambitious, but I think whether you're making a film for $200,000 or $20 million, it's never going to be enough. We're going to call in a lot of favours, get a lot of people involved that are passionate about the project. But in terms of making a feature film, it really isn't a lot [of money]. We can make it happen though."

Make My Horror Movie is the second round of the movie-making competition, and is a collaboration between Make My Movie, the NZ Film Commission, MPI Media USA and nzherald.co.nz. More than 400 entries were received. The first winner was "peeping tom rom-com" film How to Meet Girls From a Distance, which went on to screen in cinemas nationwide and won the le Grand Prix du Jury (Best Film) at the Antipodes Festival in St Tropez.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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