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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

This is GWAR


Starring: Gwar
Distributor: Acorn Media International
RRP: £19.99


Certificate: 18
Release Date: 24 October 2022

Acorn Media International releases the Shudder exclusive Blu-ray This is GWAR, a feature-length Rocumentary by Scott Barber which charts the Metal/Art Movement band GWAR from its 1984 beginnings in Richmond, Virginia, USA. The collective of musicians, artists and filmmakers were originally known as Slave Pit Inc. – the intention being to raise money to make a movie based on some of their extreme comic art. The artistry and theatrics was the asylum which took over the music to a certain extent. Nevertheless, their antics soon made them fan favourites – being described in some quarters as the sickest band in the world. Costumes and props became increasingly more crazy and extravagant, including spraying the crowd with theatre blood and other fake bodily fluids. Using stage footage and interviews with the seeming cast of thousands who have been in the line-up, this is the story of the individuals who have kept the dream alive for more than 30 years...

Although as a Metal music fan I was well aware of the existence of GWAR, I never really got into their bizarre style. For me, the band – particularly in the early years – seemed to be more about the horror-fantasy schlock and blatant sexual connotations than the music. The balance being heavy weighted on the former. Compare this to an act like Iron Maiden, whose stage show is there only to enhance the effect of the music. This changed slightly when GWAR reached the 2000s, the improved musicianship attracting more interest from the record label. But it was still tempered by sometimes very explicit lyrics which the band refused to pull or moderate, resulting in bans and the ultimate loss of sales and backing.

No matter my feelings towards the GWAR act, I am more than impressed by the professionalism with which this story has been put across. There is no showing-off, grandstanding or ‘slagging-off’ of fellow band mates. It’s simply an earnest warts-and-all exploration and, indeed, explanation of what has occurred internally over the years. There is heartfelt emotion covering the entire gamut of situations. The GWAR members talk with enthusiasm, irony, regret, excitement and sadness. A couple of the contributors speak with tears in their eyes about lost compatriots and there is no doubt that they miss their friends from the band. As with the very popular from-the-heart Anvil documentary (2008's Anvil! The Story of Anvil), this one also has a genuineness about it.

There is a host of Special Features, which include: a Commentary track with Derks and Bob Gorman; Behind the scenes of a GWAR show; GWAR on Empire Records; The Legend of GWAR; Last Interview with Dave Brokien; A Message from the Scum Dogs of the Universe; Four Pillars of GWAR; Slave Pit walk-through with Michael Bishop; and GWAR from the outside.


Ty Power

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