Entertainment Earth


This Is Gwar (Review)

Director: Scott Barber
Cast: Dave Brockie, Ethan Embry, Bob Gorman, Jared "Evil" Hasselhoff, Slymenstra Hymen
Year: 2021
Min: 110

This Is Gwar is a music bio/ documentary about the legendary metal/ shock rock/ art collective, titular band. It tells its tale in chronological order beginning with the band's origins in Richmond, VA, and the art graduates who would go on to form it. It goes through their album and video releases and most, if not all, of the major spots in their career. The successes, slip ups, and tragedies are all covered, broken up like chapters, by each of these moments. Helping the story to be told and moved along are clips of videos, performances, and interviews with band and crew members, both past and present, and others who knew the band.

From the very get-go the docu starts with a really fun intro of people describing Gwar. I knew from that very moment that I was gonna love the fuck out of this. It sets up everything perfectly and lets you know that Gwar is unlike any other band that came before it. And, that, in turn, this documentary will be an entertaining and loving representation of the band and their story. 

I loved learning about the beginnings of Gwar. And, how they had an open policy on artists getting to join them and work with them. While, I grew up on their music during my time in high school and college, I didn't honestly know any of this. Learning all these facts that I didn't know before is one of the best things about this flick, all while still being absolutely entertained by it. 

The interviews with the band members, which include all or at least the prinicple ones, are honest and open. They talk with such joy and reverence, that it's obvious that they loved having been in or still being in Gwar. From there, we get some great stories like, for example, when they toured using an old school bus. Other celebs are also interviewed including horror filmmaker Adam Green, Randy Blythe of Lamb Of God, Kyle Shatt of The Sword, Mike Schliebaum of Darkest Hour, and, even, Weird Al. They all add to the story being told and speak highly of the band adding to the love for them that is felt. 

Throughout the movie's runtime, there are some awesome clips both from their videos and live performances. We also get some snippets of some kick ass Gwar tunes. These factors add to the visual and audio appeal of this wonderful film. Which, in turn, adds to the utter joy I felt viewing this. Other highlights, and there are many(!), include legendary frontman Dave Brockie, AKA Oderus Urungus, getting arrested for indecency. This happened at a show where they had a priest with a prosthetic butt get swords, crucifixes, and more shoved up his poop shoot. Learning about their home video releases like Phallus in Wonderland, was also fascinating. 

I also loved hearing about how Mike Judge was a fan of the band and got them on Beavis and Butt-Head, and how, in turn, it helped them get bigger. This led to them being a major part of the MTV metalhead duo's Sega videogame. Their appearances on Mystery Date, Empire Records, Jerry SpringerThe Joan Rivers Show, and more are also covered. I fondly remember much, if not all of this, and it really bought a feeling of nostalgia to me. In fact, watching most of this movie is pure and utter joy. Until it isn't. Tragedies like the passing of guitarist Cory Smoot hit hard. But, the documentary really pulls at the heartstrings when it gets to the death of Brockie. There is such pain in the eyes and voices of those being interviewed, that I honestly teared up as I listened to them.

There are some parts and events that aren't really mentioned in this docu like the short time addition of female signer Kim Dylla. As the story reaches the later years of the band, it kind of goes  quickly through whatever happened in this time period. But, then any documentary will more than likely miss parts or focus more on others, as it would last an eternity if it didn't. These types of omissions are almost a given. And, one wonders if maybe they were shot and subsequently cut out. If so will they end up on a future Blu-ray/ DVD release? Only time will tell.

This Is Gwar is a wonderful, energetic, and informative documentary. It covers a lot of ground, at a mostly exhaustive level. While, it deals with the later years in a quicker manner, you remain very informed on the history of the band. The interviews are honest, open, fun, loving, and emotional. There are some really cool clips spread throughout its running time, and, of course, some great headbanging song bits. This flick is the definitive word on Gwar and ranks as one of the most fun docus on a single band ever. But, one that never loses its ability to also touch the heart when it needs to. This is a must see for hardcore and casual fans, as well as those who are simply curious about this group. Shit, this might even gain them some well deserved new fans. It begins streaming on Shudder exclusively on July 21, 2022.