Punxploitation is a niche sub-genre of cinema that isn’t meant to be understood by those outside of the punk rock spectrum. These films are for punk rockers, rudeboys, hardcore kids, and skinheads. The fact that these films are intended for such a small group of dedicated fans makes sure they have secured a place in cult status. STRAIGHT EDGE KEGGER is a top-notch punxploitation film whose strength is its authenticity.
There comes a point in every person’s life where they decide that they need to take a stand. That’s exactly where Brad (Cory Kays) is. He belongs to a straight-edge (no drinking, no drugs, no smoking) hardcore crew lead by James (Julio Alexander) that has grown more violent and militant in their ways.
Brad has decided to break ties with his gang and at the same time, “break edge.” This infuriates James, him and his gang of thugs decide to eliminate all drinkers and drug users from the scene. James’ hate culminates in a D.I.Y. punk house party turning into a bloodbath of death and carnage.
What sets STRAIGHT EDGE KEGGER apart from the pack of other punxploitation movies is how real it is. There are real bands, real venues, and real punks. Unless you have been at a punk show and have been threatened by someone because of something you wore, or did, you can’t truly grasp how scary the straight-edge goons in this movie are. They are truly terrifying.
I could relate to most of the characters in this film. They spoke to me, as to who I was at one point or another in my life. My favorite character is Sean (Sean Jones). Sean is all about just enjoying life, and music, and not giving a shit. It made me laugh seeing him wear a T-shirt of the straight-edge band Bane while drinking a beer.
Brad and Sean’s relationship gives STRAIGHT EDGE KEGGER a good sense of levity. Their bonding montage, presented with “The Cult Song“ by Shannon and the Clams, was a nice break from the intense hardcore punk soundtrack, and it really made me smile. It was an unexpected treat.
Everything about STRAIGHT EDGE KEGGER felt familiar in an intense way, and hit close to home for me. The film had some strong GREEN ROOM and ROMPER STOMPER vibes, but on a much more personal and Midwest vibe. Seeing the Midwest punk/ hardcore scene get cinematic exposure warmed my heart. I would also have to say that it felt like the most genuine depiction of the D.I.Y. punk/ hardcore scene ever seen in an exploitation film.
The real action kicks in at about the 45 minute point. When the straight-edge gang attacks the punk house party. This instilled a sense of anxiety in me. It was a great cross between a siege film, reminiscent of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, and survivalist horror; similar to THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. The masks worn by the killers in STRAIGHT EDGE KEGGER also brought to mind the 1985 Ozploitation classic FORTRESS.
The old 1980s rules of horror films were if you drank alcohol, did drugs, or had sex, you got killed off. STRAIGHT EDGE KEGGER took this trope and turned it on its head with a straight-edge justification. I thought that was genius!
STRAIGHT EDGE KEGGER is an indie horror film that hits all the right notes with me. It makes great use of its limited resources, it has a dark sense of humor throughout the film, it has an incredible soundtrack and a brilliant Goblin-esque score, and it has a good amount of well-done blood and gore.
STRAIGHT EDGE KEGGER is being presented as part of the Windy City Horrorama film festival Saturday, April 27th, 2pm at The Davis Theatre in Chicago.