Metal has a special relationship with the movies. If you consider heavy metal with a sense of extreme and obscene nature, there are numerous movies that capture the energy of this genre.
Horror may be the go-to category for metalheads but there are plenty of other movies to discover what it means to be “metal”.
With Netflix financing films like The Dirt and the Mötley Crüe biopic, metal is back under the spotlight again, even if the glory days are in the past.
Here are the most metal movies of all time.
Heavy Metal (1981)
Métal hurlant (Howling Metal) was a pioneering avant-garde comic, but was licensed under the title Heavy Metal for release in the US (cannily taking on the title of the actual genre).
The adaptation of this movie, featuring short stories and new material from screenwriters like Dan O’Bannon, was promoted using one of the 80’s most striking posters. Designed by Chris Achilleos, it featured a female warrior flying on a bird-like beast over a rocky landscape full of black smoke and phallic-shaped buildings, while simultaneously holding a sword aloft in the air. It doesn’t get much more metal than that.
While the French version would go on to influence sci-fi for future generations, the animated anthology is recognized as art specific to an era to fantasy and juvenilia. In reality, though, it’s more of a metalhead’s dream, featuring full-on fetishism, scenes of extreme gore and splashes of casual sexism.
Heavy Metal In Baghdad (2007)
The sound of bombs exploding may be one of the only things that can drown out a raging heavy metal concert, but Heavy Metal In Baghdad certainly gave it a good run for its money,
As mentioned by Moshville Times, the movie is about Iraqi band Acrassicauda who was born during Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. As such they were faced with all kinds of pressures and had to cope with many burdens. For example, the room in which they practiced was blown to pieces by US forces and they received multiple death threats for paying homage to western-style music and for not having Muslim facial hair.
The band faced frequent power outages lived with the fear of being shot by an Al-Qaeda sniper or suicide bombers.
It’s one of the most metal movies of all time but focuses less on the music and more on how the genre serves as a way to express yourself away from the social norm. Considering it’s set in Baghdad, there are not many other places that serve as the perfect setting to promote this message.
Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008)
Anvil’s Metal on Metal is considered as one of the best and most influential thrash metal albums ever written. It’s highly thought of by the likes of Metallica, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Anthrax and Slayer. Nevertheless, Anvil reached the heights that they may have deserved.
While their peers fill stadiums with fans, Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow (axe and frontman) and Robb Reiner (drums) play at local sports bars and only get paid if they’re lucky.
There’s one interesting scene where the band threatens to beat up a nightclub owner over 100 euros. Spoiler alert: they received the money months later.
Anvil! The Story of Anvil may not be your run of the mill story about rock’n’roll. It focuses on the long-standing friendship between Kudlow and Reiner, who refuse to give up playing despite the odds against them.
Evil Dead (2013)
Selected to reboot and revise Sam Raimi’s iconic video nasty for a new generation, after impressing with his homemade internet short Ataque de pánico! (2009), Uruguayan Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead proves imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism, as he lifted Slayer’s stage gimmick of performing ‘Raining Blood’ live in a squall of fake blood for his remake’s gory finale.
According to Kate Huber at NJGamblingFun, “Fans will certainly get a kick out of recognizing the homage, as Jane Levy’s drug-addicted Final Girl faces off against the Abomination outside the cabin in the woods, under a torrential downpour of the red stuff. The redesigned Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (the franchise’s ‘Book of the Dead’) is further metal-flavored in its use of gothic fonts and illustrations of demons that look like Iron Maiden’s Eddie mascot.”
Metallica: Through the Never (2013)
Who remembers Some Kind of Monster? It hardly covered this legendary band in much glory, with band members leaving, all the hissy fits, the rehab dramas, the creative struggles and all those therapy sessions with a shrink who spurs on and revels in what drummer Lars Ulrich labels “soap opera bullshit”.
In all honesty, the less that’s said about it, the better.
Fast forward to 2013 Metallica: Through the Never, directed by Nimród Antal, and you can start to forget all the negativity caused nearly a decade earlier. It’s quite the spectacle that will have you riveted to your seats,
The movie is powered by the band’s greatest hits. The live footage is blended with the story of a young roadie running an errand to retrieve a mysterious leather bag. As the film goes on, Metallica’s songs start to control the young roadie’s surreal experiences.
It’s certainly one of the most metal movies of all time and a must-watch for anyone that claims to be a fan of the band and/or genre. If your friends haven’t seen it yet, as mentioned by Gift Wits, you could buy it as a gift – they’re going to love it!
To round off this list, we have Deathgasm, the horror-comedy centred on a lonely kid who doesn’t fit exactly in. He joins up with a band called DEATHGASM – all in capitals since, in their own words, “lowercase is for pussies” – and they go from making lame music videos in the nearby woods to saving their entire town from an apocalypse.
Funnily enough, they actually brought this on themselves after finding some Satanic sheet music and playing it.
The whole film is made with some tongue in cheek and proves that there is no one in the world that can make a splatter flick quite like a Kiwi. If you’re in the mood for poking some fun at sexist attitudes and unexpected homoerotic undertones, you can’t afford to skip over this movie.