The Gateway Horror series is all about what horrors people in horror. Whether it’s an English class, cable TV, your older brother or whatever. Today, this gateway is the musical genre known as heavy metal. We’ve written a lot here at THS about metal and Halloween songs (three lists to be exact). The focus today is on how these two genres can intertwine and appeal to people who might not be interested. After all in horror, it only takes one movie to start a lifelong love story.
My horror journey began with absolute fear. I watched The Exorcist at 8 years old and I gave up cinema for good. Somewhere along the line the hate cooled and I watched some of my first horror classics. The Universal Monster movies certainly helped with this. But it really took off when I started listening to heavy metal in college. Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Black Sabbath, etc. They all have lyrics that combine real life horrors with incredibly fast or brutal riffs. Discover the cover of the first album of Black sabbath.
This album cover is an entire horror movie in one frame. It’s scary, it’s thrilling, it’s inviting, in the most terrifying way possible. Why is this lady in black standing in front of this creepy house in the vegetation? What is happening here? The mind can run wild with the possibilities. If you listen to the title song, “Black Sabbath”, you can hear the birth of Heavy Metal. It’s birth was with horror imagery and the occult. So naturally, horror movies would come into play.
Everyone in metal apparently loves horror
To verify Kirk hammett ‘collection of guitars. It has guitars modeled to look like classic horror movie posters. King Diamond? Alicee Cooper? The name Iron Maiden is all about horror. Horror movies and Heavy Metal are closely related and you can’t separate them. Listening to Metal is a bit like watching a horror movie. You get the same emotional responses, especially in a live performance. It’s a lot of scare, but nice emotions after the fact, knowing you’re safe, and it was just a performance. Songs like “Black Sabbath”, “Sleepless Nights”, “Halloween” (take your pick on artist), and many more tell stories like horror movies would.
Rob zombie may divide with his movies among horror fans, but the guy loves his horror. It is the mixture of the two genres. He’s a showman on stage and he’s stylized on screen. I might not be the biggest fan of him Halloween films, but his love of the genre shines through in his directing.
Do you know how I discovered Dario Argento?
Dario Argento uses Iron Maiden’s “Flash of the Blade” in a dream sequence in his movie Phenomena. It’s as awesome as it sounds.
How did I find this out? Being an obsessed Iron Maiden fan during my high school days, I scoured the internet trying to find everything I could about the band. Now the title of this song may sound like a scene from a horror movie, but it’s really about playing like a kid. From there I thought, “Well, any guy who’s going to use Iron Maiden in any of his movies, must be sick, right?”. We then find the entire filmography of this legendary director.
They both had peaks in the 80s
The last thing I’m going to talk about is nostalgia. I wasn’t alive to see the Heavy Metal and Horror boom in the 80’s. Today we still have the old guard of metal bands and new bands like Ghost and others trying to take over. the torch. With Horror, we have a similar feeling. There are these old characters that people still want to see like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and more. But we have an influx of young and talented filmmakers creating new icons, new horror franchises. The best happens when you mix these two things and get a movie like Candy Where Halloween (2018). You have the old one to put your butt in the seat, and then the filmmakers can show what they can do.
If you ask me, heavy metal and rock can do the same. Ghost may be disparaged by some in the metal community, but they are the crusaders of the future of metal. They do the perfect thing and combine that old school sound with a new perspective. Dokken and Freddy Krueger have teamed up with “Dream Warriors”. The result was one of the best music videos of the 80s. Alice Cooper gave us “(He’s Back) The Man Behind The Mask”.
If you are a fan of Halloween kills, you could go see the movie knowing that Ghost has a song on the soundtrack. “Hunter’s Moon” is delicious.
Charity please (1986) could be the culmination of this pairing
You had Ozzy Osbourne, Gene Simmons, and more in a heavy metal movie. Charity please might not be the pinnacle of movies, but it had an awesome Fastway soundtrack. The plot of the movie wasn’t exactly that great, but by today’s horror standards, it’s a bit hokey. The film has effects of Kevin Yagher, who is an industry legend who made Freddy Krueger and the Crypt Keeper of Tales from the Crypt. If anything, this movie shows how both genres were on top of the world in the ’80s. It’s overkill, it’s forgiving, but the movie is fun.
Horror and heavy metal go hand in hand. Without heavy metal, I might not be in horror movies as much as I am. Is that also how your story unfolds?
Horror is entering a new golden age, Heavy Metal has arguably never been better from a musical point of view with releases like Hello and Senjutsu This year. These two things go together thematically.
Just remember where you came from.
For more on horror, check out THS Fright-A-Thon, October’s horror content marathon, or stay tuned to That Hashtag Show.