This is GWAR
(not appropriate for children) –
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 1h 50m
Director(s): Scott Barber
Stars: Dave Brockie (archive footage,) Ethan Embry, Jon Freeman, Bob Gorman, Jared ‘Evil’ Hasselhoff, Danielle Stampe, Hunter Jackson, Thomas Lennon
Where To Watch: THIS IS GWAR arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital on October 24, 2022 courtesy of Acorn Media International
Well, I wasn’t expecting this, what a pleasant surprise. I’ll be honest; I knew very little about GWAR (an American heavy metal band formed in Richmond, Virginia, in 1984.) I knew what I had seen on TV and the internet, an over-the-top group of costumed musicians that made the band Kiss look like family-friendly entertainment. I was 100% correct and completely incorrect at the same time. Sure, on the outside, GWAR is just a shock rock band that aims to push the boundaries as far as they can. However, watching almost two hours on their history and the family that they are has given me an entirely new level of appreciation for them that I never thought possible.
The adage is “to not judge a book by its cover,” which couldn’t be more accurate regarding GWAR. With a rotating line-up of hundreds, the band has two constants Mike Derks and Brad Roberts have been a part of the band from the early days. The longest-running member (and one of the founding members), Dave Brockie, passed away in 2014m while this was a significant hit to the group, they knew Brockie would want them to continue in his absence. While I likely won’t be attending one of their concerts anytime soon, I have also gained a healthy respect for their passion and work.
One of the most significant revelations I had while watching the documentary is that this film was about far more than just the group. It was about the roots of its creation, their passion for the arts, and so much more. While there is often some randomness to their performances, it also comes off as an art piece, a collective of like-minded individuals who want to express a passion for their voices.
Overall, this documentary showed a side of the group that most people probably had never seen. They may not have been the first to do shock art, but they have perfected the art over time. They know how to create intrigue and how far to push before it’s too far.
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