“It’s like a f**king butt bouquet potpourri of f**cking swords hanging out of this thing”

The band Gwar is an enigma. They shouldn’t work, they shouldn’t be as good as they are, and they shouldn’t exist after all the trials and tribulations they’ve faced. Yet, here we are with a career-spanning, lovingly put-together documentary titled This Is GWAR. The documentary premiered earlier this year and releases on Shudder exclusively on July 21st, 2022. The documentary has plenty of interviews about the band from an outside perspective from people like Weird Al, Thomas Lennon, Alex Winter, Bam Margera, and Ethan Embry, but the real stars of the show are the band. It contains some never-before-seen footage of late GWAR frontman Dave Brockie that gives a deeper insight into one of the founding members of the band. It was directed by Scott Barber.

From the beginning in Richmond, Virginia in 1984 all the way to the present day, This Is GWAR gives the best look possible for fans of the heavy metal band. For the uninitiated, GWAR is a band made up of barbaric, interplanetary warriors who found the crappiest place they could live on, Earth. Their live show is filled with cartoonish violence, blood, guts, bodily fluids, and sometimes, actual toilet humor. If you’ve ever been to a GWAR show, it’s a strange sight to see an entire pit with people wearing plain white t-shirts, but after the show, you’ll realize why.

They’ve released thirteen studio albums and made long-form music videos, comics, toys, board games, barbecue sauce, and other merchandise. The documentary captures the essence of what GWAR is, they’re a joke with no punchline. Except the joke is on everyone else because they’ve managed to live this long through changing musical climates.

Even If You Don’t Know GWAR Or Like Heavy Metal, It’s An Insane Trip

GWAR is made up of Balsac the Jaws of Death (Mike Derks), Jizmak Da Gusha (Brad Roberts), Sawborg Destructo (Matt Maguire), Pustulus Maximus (Brent Purgason), Bonesnapper (Bob Gorman), Blothar (Michael Bishop, Formerly Beefcake The Mighty), Sleazy P. Martini (Don Drakulich), and Beefcake the Mighty (Casey Orr). Like KISS before them, the characters might be the same on stage, but there’s been a revolving door of talent through the various armor and alien prosthetics. The documentary does a great job of giving everyone that’s been in the band some time to shine. The Slave Pit is the group of artists and talent that work on the costumes, effects, and music for GWAR.

If you’ve ever wanted to know how something like GWAR could even be thought of, This Is GWAR lays out the best timeline of events for what went into the inception of this idea. Dave Brockie, Hunter Jackson, and Chuck Varga met up at the Richmond Dairy, a space for artists to work in the Virginia Commonwealth area. Jackson and Varga were making a movie called Scumdogs of the Universe and Brockie was the lead singer for the band Death Piggy.

Together, that’s where GWAR was conceptualized and created. It was originally a band that would open for Death Piggy, but then grew into the full-fledged juggernaut we have today. Combining the styles of punk and heavy metal, GWAR was born. Through several years, a Grammy nomination for “Phallus In Wonderland” (which has a hilarious story attached in the documentary), and other turmoil, the band soldiered on to where they are today.

“Sick Of You” To The New Dark Ages

GWAR is a movement, they’re a revelation, and they also have some insane stories from the road. Through it all, this documentary is about the people. GWAR was a way for people to express themselves. Like all bands, they had ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, but they survived. They’ve been a heavy metal band, a punk band, and whatever they were during the late ’90s. If there’s one thing that sticks out from the documentary and tells you all that you need to know about GWAR, it’s that they could very easily have made it huge with a deal with Warner Bros. Records, except WB didn’t want the song “B.D.F.” on their 1994 album This Toilet Earth. The band and Metal Blade Records stood by the song and they didn’t get a massive recording deal.

It’s moments like that, shootings, and everything else that make This Is GWAR such a special documentary for fans of the band and non-fans alike. It’s got enough about one of the most eccentric and weird music acts of our time to keep anyone invested. If you know nothing about GWAR, you will after this documentary, and it might just make you a fan.

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