Blood, Satan, occultism, zombie battles, social chaos, violence, death – on the surface these descriptors resemble the average of our favourite horror films, but they also represent the musical equivalent of a cousin of horror: Heavy metal. Just as metal horns and concert couples fit together so perfectly, these unsuitable sub-genres have been connected for decades – even in the form of metal-exploitation (yes, the exact term), where heavy metal music is exploited, saturated and above all lovingly presented in its own unique variety of horror films, fused together into one whole. In honour of the last heavy metal horror film to join the history of the sub genre, Alexandra Daddario with Star We Summon the Darkness , released this week at VOD, we look at every decade of heavy metal development and its relationship with the horror genre.
When the metal crusaders Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and their band members took their original non-metal names Polka Tulk Blues Band and Earth in the late sixties to get darker, the most promising Black Sabbath, based on Mario Bava’s eponymous horror anthology in 1963, was born as heavy metal – and his counterpart in horror hell. Black Sabbath rejected the dominant hippie culture of the time and wanted to create a musical parallel with horror films. Black Sabbath is inspired by horror writer Dennis Wheatley and integrates occult themes into his work. Other musicians of this era started to follow the same darkened path as bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest who appeared in the horror-inspired Sabbath commemoration, and we were introduced to our first wave of heavy metal horror movies.
In the seventies metal evolved from hard sounding bands to a more accessible and melodic glamorous metal, which can be found in the first metal(s) of horror movies. The sounds and styles of Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister and KISS dominated the scene – gently parodied in Brian de Palma’s Ghost of Paradise. The satirical rejection of the mainstream music of the time, (isn’t that all heavy metal?) Paradise gave us the Alice Cooper theatre, as the fake disassembly of a body, as well as one of the first versions of cinematographic corpse painting. A few years later paradise is followed by its own KISS campsite, an attempt by B-Horror/Sci-fi, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park– as capricious as it sounds. Moreover, although the action point is quite insignificant worldwide, one of the first mixes follows Dario Argento , influenced by Hard Rock, Four Flies on Grey Velvetfrom 1971, the musician involved in the murder mystery. Argento included professional rocker Goblin in the soundtrack of his 70s horror classics, Deep Red and Suspiria, before returning in the next decade to record harder rock/metal in another film about him.
In the 80’s a boom was recorded to catch up not only with the popularity of heavy metal in general, but especially with the horror-subgenre of heavy metal. The sharper, more aggressive sounds of Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax were often accompanied by an unparalleled number of MTV-era hair metal bands such as Motley Crue, Poison and Ratt- which, of course, were capitalized as a huge stream of stocky, stupid and cult metal horror films, captivating both their current soundtracks and their low-budget special effects. At that time heavy metal became a source of public shame when the Reagan government spread the fear of satanic panic and warned parents and society against the corruption of young people through satanic music and horror movies. Ozzy Osborne, Judas, the priest Judas, Merciful Fate and a few others defended their music because skeptics had sworn that their lyrics contained unconscious messages and influenced young people to do bad things. Trick or Treat, one of the most popular horror films in the history of heavy metal, plays with all the reasonable accusations against heavy metal that were considered soft and scary at the time. A metal loving teenager plays a heavy metal tape backwards and accidentally remembers his idol, the dead rock star, who is not as heroic as he had cracked her before. With Gene Simmons’ cameos and Ozzy’s , as a terribly worried heavy metal critic, the love letter to the heavy metal subculture laughed in the face of those who simply did not understand it.
In addition to Treat, there are other films from the 80s that commented when they were installed in the form of Heavy Metal, a hybrid of the animation genre, in which cartoon blood is shed and decapitated heads fall under the horror screen; Paganini Horror, in which the band Bon Jovi is cursed with the music he plays; The Gate, the children’s favourite, which follows them in a trick or when young heroes play a metal record upside down and blows up a hellish gate; and Black Roses, in which a new metal band in town corrupts children and turns them into demons. We Summon the Darkness fits perfectly in this era of cinema, because the heroes attend a heavy metal concert in the 80’s, when the satanic cult kills the people in the region. The satanic scaremongers must have been right all along!
Most metal horror movies of the 80’s were both nods and riffs about a rock star obsession, as MTV dominated and its video shows like Headbangers Ball included performances by the most popular heavy metal bands of the time. Hairy metal flourished, and bands were treated like gods, whose metal choir exploded in hell. Alice Cooper immersed himself in the sub genre as a rock star and turned into a werewolf in Monster Dog, while Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare Star John Michael Thor is a heavy metal musician at the crossroads of the confrontation with Satan. Hard Rock Zombies turned metalheads into heroes in their fight against the Nazis, while Dreamaniac played a musician who signed a contract with a succubus to help her become more successful with women. Favorites of the Nightmare at Elm Street 3:. Dream Warriors and Maximum Overdrive contain tires such as Docks and AC/DC in their soundtracks. And Argento returned to the subgenre in 1987 when, ironically (but brilliantly), he played the score of Hard Rock in his film Opera during the critical scenes in the opera production.
The horror of metal even survived his own moment, when several films met an abundance of victims of the madness of the decade, hunting in a murderous manner. In the 1980s, in Terror in Tour (often quoted as the first unofficial film on metallography), a band called The Clowns is interrogated for nearby murders, while in Rocktober Blood the singer begins the murders. Finally, the Swedish film Blood Tracks‘ has its roots in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where members of are targeted by a homicidal family.
When Metal for Hair started to fade in the nineties of the last century, the metal genre was very widespread in terms of sound: Pantera, a grandiose and grainy thrash metal, makes its appearance; the industrial style becomes popular with Nine Inch Nails; Marilyn Manson, Korn and Slipknot dominate; the latter wear masks in the style of horror, which will eventually be developed by special effects legend Tom Savini. However, as the metal genre evolves, the number of horror films about heavy metal decreases. Of the handful we had in the 90’s, very few came to the coveted cult area (but at least there were soundtracks). In 1991 Shock ‘Em Dead hung from a metal wire in the hair of the 80’s, while in 1993 B-Horror Darkness was a refreshing reworking of the coarser metal sounds of the time and still had the right attitude towards a metal horror movie, when a group of friends came home from the show with most metal weapons – machetes, chainsaws, etc. – and a few metal weapons. – with most metal weapons – machetes, chainsaws, etc. – in their hands. – to fight vampires. Death Metal zombies have come and gone, and Twisted Sister Di Snyder has become a star in the underrated Strangelandas a sadistic body modifier who mutilates teenagers he met online. The The Crow and Chucky brides (who had nothing to do with metal themes) now have soundtracks by Nine Inch Nails, Pantera, White Zombie, Typ-O-Negativ and Slayer.
The metal scene of the 2000’s saw the last favourites of the late 90’s from the industrial and/or nu metal scene, while they represented a subgroup of metalcore and created a more emotional lyricism with the music genre. As in the 1990s, the design brought a whole new set of soundtracks with metal controls to non-metal horror films, including Queen of the Damned (with Deftones, Orgy, Disturbed, Linkin Park) ; Dracula 2000 (Butcher, Pantera, Static X); Resident Evil (Slipknot, Rammstein); and a remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Lamb of God, Meshuggah, Hatebreed). At the same time, Dani Mud ‘s cradle was filmed in his own cradle, aptly titled Cradle of Fear, while the forgotten sauce contained the Cameo Henry Rollins and Alice Cooper. The year 2001 brought us turbulence 3:. Heavy Metalthat makes musician Marilyn Manson a hero after rescuing the aircraft and its passengers from a terrorist attack. In the years 2000, was also split: Rob ZombieSplit attack, horror oriented with House of 1000 corpses, Devil rejects, Halloween, and Halloween II.
The Loved Ones , the beloved film of 2009, is one of the few films of the decade that contains (at least, but still counts) a popular band from the core metal scene of the time, because the main character hears a lot about Parkway Drive as a way to escape the death of a family member.
It is interesting to note that we now see a slight expansion of modern heavy metal horror films, even though they are not as obvious as the films that exploded 40 years ago. And while contemporary metal music has become more sensitive, emancipatory and social than ever, bands like Gojira have been recognized for integrating ecology into their lyrics, while others like Killswitch Engage, Slipknot and Mastodon live on lyrical themes of hardship, grief and trauma, and recent metal horror films reflect this vulnerability. In 2014, undervalued Heavy Metal Horror, a sex worker is persecuted, not only by the pimp who controls her life, but also by an evil spirit who hides in her house just before she meets a life-changing metal band. The film subtly but surprisingly deals with the trauma and faith in the victims. In the famous The Devil’s Candy, father and daughter combine their love of metal to prevent their family from being torn apart in their new home, while Pyewacket sees a young teenager listening to death metal to come to terms with his father’s death. The latest version Sadistic Intentions integrates romance into the subgenre of metal horror, because the metal musician falls in love with a woman trapped in a lonely mansion.
Even Mandy 2018 is a success because her vengeful attitude combines with the painful and tragic vision of lost love. (And Johann Johannsson’s Doom Metal score won’t hurt either.) The picture black of Lords of Chaosof the band Mayhem Metal, released last year in the eighties, may well have all the negative stereotypes of the band – debauchery, selfishness, metallic elitism, but at its core it’s a painful journey to depression, betrayal and tragedy within Mayhem.
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But also the horror of modern metal has not lost its relevance. Horror comedy 2015 death gasm courage snores with its extreme niche, in a joke that makes a nod to the metal scene, with maudlin allusions to the decapitation of cattle, Trivium and King Diamond. But throughout the film he combines intimidation, friendship, relationships and a quote that sums up exactly what the scene means to every metal lover: When life sucks and you feel lonely and empty, just hold on to a piece of metal and life will get better because someone else knows the pain and anger you feel.
And yes, the beginning of Verotika from Gdansk, also released this year, if you want to believe that a horror film of metal, although it is not really a film, then we have to be realistic.
Who knows if heavy metal horror fans will find We Summon the Darkness this week in a memorable or forgotten category of this precious subgenre, but we’ll take what we can get. The horror of Heavy Metal may not be for everyone, but this kind of horror is so special to the fans that even all the horror movies of the Metal world will never be enough.
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