THIS IS GWAR (2021)
A loose collective of art school ne’er-do-wells and filthy screaming punks, GWAR has gone from a half-assed joke band formed in 1984 to the world’s most recognized and reviled heavy metal performance art troupe. A constantly evolving band of miscreants with an abundance of ambition and a special affinity for bodily fluids, GWAR’s stage shows are the stuff of legend. But whatever the insanity onstage, perhaps even more interesting is how they got there – and that’s the story THIS IS GWAR tells so well.
Directed by documentarian Scott Barber, the film is a warts-and-all look at this band and its triumphs and travails over the last 35 years as they’ve endured infighting, addiction, continual lineup changes, the sudden deaths of multiple members, and egos the size of small planets. Chock-full of interviews with virtually every living member of the band, past and present, as well as tons of amazing archival footage from the group’s earliest days through the present behemoth their live show has become, it’s a must-see for any fans of heavy metal, horror, and boundary-pushing art of any kind.
More than just a metal band, GWAR has created an entire industry unto themselves, employing artists, musicians, filmmakers, and craftspeople all determined to make the most outrageous art possible. And holy crap, do they ever succeed. (JOSH HURTADO)