Metal In Movies
Band: Metal In Movies
Author: Thousand Sons - 2012-08-01
Let's face it, metal music will never be a synonym of the movie industry. The music itself results very hard to adapt to the scenes in almost any movie, it's fast and relatively aggressive and the metal ballads remain rather unknown to the public. And movie producers prefer to result to custom made soundtracks by composers such as Hans Zimmer[Gladiator/Angles And Deamons/ The Davinci Code] John Williams [Star Wars/ Jurassic Park/E.T] and Ennio Morricone [ The Good, The Bad And The Ugly/ Fistfull Of Dollars/ Once Upon A Time In The West] for an on-size result when the budget allows.
The most obvious ,and main, reason is the following: When you hum the Imperial March you think ,exclusively, about the Star Wars saga but when you hum The Flash Of The Blade by Iron Maiden or As Fast As A Shark by Accept you don't think about Phenomena or Demons ( Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava). Metal songs would make any scene seem over the top, so and unless it is a tongue-in-cheek movie one could stop hoping to hear a metal tune unless it is incidental. And the metal songs recall the band more , much more, than the movie they are in, so apart their adaptability to the scenes it's them being trademarks of the bands that have composed them and not the movie is what actually limits their use on celluloid epics.
Getting that out of the way, I would like to render tribute to the movies that have actually had enough courage/too low of a budget in order to include metal songs in their score. And as a bonus, I am putting a rating and a review of each one of the movies that I am going to consider. I could have included more movies, like Rock Star (But I couldn't bring myself to consider Bon Jovi to be metal) and I haven't considered sequels to any movie. Anyway!, in chronological order we have:
Phenomena - 1985 (Dario Argento): 3/5 A slasher/thriller movie with the unique Dario Argento style (love it or hate it) and centers around a series of murders by a necrophile and an girl with telepathic powers that enable her to communicate with insects, in short this is the monument to weirdness. As stated above this movie features Flash Of The Blade (Iron Maiden) and No. 9 Locomotive (Motorhead).
Demons - 1985 (Lamberto Bava): 2/5 A Survival/Horror as a zombie... ahem … “demon” outbreak ,originating from an ancient evil mask, takes over a theater then spreads out to consume the entire city and other seven sequels made till 1989. An overall over the top zombie survivor movie. Cheesy as hell. The international release featured: Fast As A Shark by Accept, White Wedding by Billy Idol, and Everybody Up by Saxon. However the Italian version featured only soundtracks created by Claudio Simonetti (Goblin's keyboardist).
Maximum Overdrive -1986 (Stephen King): 3/5 is a Survival/Action movie (for which Stephen King was nominated as “worst director” by the Golden Raspberry Awards) taking place somewhere in the redneck part of the US as an alien entity takes control of human technology and uses it to annihilate humanity (bears similarities to the 1999 movie -Virus) with twists of black humor this movie is fun and quite watchable. But here comes the bomb as the soundtrack to this movie is 100 percent AC/DC with songs like: Who Made Who, D.T, Chase The Ace, Hells Bells, For Those About To Rock, You Shook Me All Night, Ride On, Shake Your Foundations and Sink The Pink. Although this might sound redundant and repetitive, but I can't think of a better band to fit the redneck ambient in a movie than AC/DC.
The Shocker (Wes Craven) -1989: 4/5 Horror this movie has it's own cult following. A serial killer rides the lightning (gets the electric chair) which then turns him into pure electricity getting revenge upon the cop that got him arrested. This movie is fun and pretty much a classical Wes Craven. You won't rue watching it. The soundtrack features: No More Mr. Nice Guy a Megadeth cover of Alice Cooper, Sword & Stone by Bonfire and Demon Bell by Dangerous Toys.
Last Action Hero – 1993 (John McTiernan) 4/5: Action/Fantasy/Comedy. It's Arnie time! As a movie-buff kid travels to the imaginary world of movies (right into the movie) through a magic ticket given to the aging cinema operator by Houdini himself. The metal music in this movie was used on purpose as a spoof of the other action movies of that era and that is made clear in the dialogue (Strange! Writing this article it was extremely hard for me to remember even one action movie which had metal in it's score. If that were true this article would have been much easier to write). This is a kid's action movie, but it does get dark versus the second half of it overall its just fun. Anyway the soundtrack features: Megadeth's Angry Again, Anthrax's Poison My Eyes, Tesla's Last Action Hero and Real World by Queensryche.
Ace Ventura Pet Detective -1994 (Tom Shadyac) 4/5: Comedy. Starring Jim Carrey as an awkward, delusional and obsessive animal lover who investigates on a missing Dolphin. This movie doesn't have anything metal in it's soundtrack, but it has something better: cameo of the death metal mega band Cannibal Corpse playing Hammer Smashed Faces on stage in the movie and Jim Carrey sharing the stage with them and getting his freak on. This, and Cannibal Corpse still get censorship issues in some countries like Germany and Australia for the contents of their lyrics that are sung in the unintelligible growl which even Alex Webster (band's bassist) admitted not to comprehend. Bravo to the human intellect of the censorship agencies! Bravo!
The End Of Days – 1999 (Peter Hyams) 3/5: Thriller/Action. Riding the coming-millennium fad came the superfluous action/thriller movie entitled The End Of Days. The acting and the plot fall apart half of the time and I honestly would prefer seeing the original version of the script where Arnie just blasts the fuck out of Satan instead of casting him back to hell using Arnie's new-found, five minute faith in God which leads him to take his own life in order to stop Satan (contradiction?). But it's a fun shoot 'em up and the action scenes are o.k. The most amazing thing about this movie is the score and how well it is strung into the movie's structure. In my honest opinion this is one of the best movies when it comes to unoriginal soundtracks, we have: Camel Song by Korn, Curshed by Limp Bizkit, Superbeast by Rob Zombie, Wrong Way by Creed, Nobody's Real Powerman 5000 and Oh My God by Guns & Roses.
Matrix – 1999 (The Wachowski borthers) 5/5 and out of scale: Action/Sci-fi The trama is well known with it's Descartes-ian approaches towards existance and has an excellent twist. I have pondered a lot over the inclusion of this movie, it has very little metal music in it and the score composed by Don Davis is amazing. But I have included it for one simple reason which refers to something I have written above, this movie includes Rob Zombie's Dragula and Marylin Manson's Rock Is Dead. And here is the reason I have included this: When I sing Rock Is Dead I remember the scene where Keano Reeves dressed in the black overcoat and the shades takes flight from the ground and “does the superman thing”.
Cradel Of Fear -2001 (Alex Chandon): 1/5, a Horror movie that is almost the worst you could ever come across and can be beaten only by movies of the caliber of Redneck Zombies although the scene of the cat sacrifice and the subsequent devouring of the cat's entrails does merit some credit. It talks about a serial killer that takes vengeance upon the people who have gotten him into jail through his son “The Man” played by non else but Dani Filth, in fact many scenes in the movie were featured in COF video clips. The soundtrack includes Lord Abortion and a remixed version of Dance Macabre by COF.
Resident Evil -2002 (Paul W.S Anderson): 2/5 a Horror/Sci-fi/action movie that started the aids-like proliferation of the cash machine tagged Resident Evil and which lead to the total whoring of the game itself. The movie's trama is well know: a commando of special ops enter into an Umbrella research facility only to find – surprise!– a horde of zombies. The sound track features: Slipknot's My Plauge, Something Told Me by Coal Chamber, Static-X's Anything But This, Mudvayne's Dig, Rammstein's Halleluja, Fear Factory's Invisible Wounds and Marylin Manson's Fight Song along with many score songs composed by Marylin Manson.
Although the Resident Evil sequels featured many other metal bands in their soundtrack, like: Lacuna Coil, Rob Zombie, Killswitch Engage and Cradle Of Filth (R.E: Apocalypse) and Overkill, Shadows Fall, The Bled, Chimaria and Nightwish (R.E: Extinction). But I chose not to dig into the sequels in this article and I stuck to that.
In conclusion, one might understand that metal in the soundtrack is usually a synonym of a crap movie. And one might be right to assume that, since it seems to be the most economical way of getting together a soundtrack for any movie, which in turn reflects the low budget basis of the movie. However, one can only be glad that metal isn't the movie makers' best friend... I wouldn't be able to digest Gladiator with Rhapsody Of Fire in the background (or digest Rhapsody Of Fire alone), 300 with Disturbed or Forest Gump with Metallica's Nothing Else Matters. So without deepening in on the obvious, metal music just doesn't fit in a movie unless it is incidental (pops out of a teenager's stereo or is in the background of some run-down pub) and above are all the proof that one would ever need, with the exception of The End Of Days and Maximum Overdrive.