Ask writer/director/provocateur extraordinaire Adam Ahlbrandt for his job description and here is what he'll tell you: "I make audio/visual filth, gore, death and sleaze."
This is no idle boast as anyone who has seen either Ahlbrandt's uncompromising, viscera-festooned feature-length films -- Cross Bearer (2012); The Cemetery (2013) -- or his nightmarish music videos for band such as Today Is The Day, Burnt By The Sun, Circle Of Dead Children, and Agoraphobic Nosebleed can no doubt attest. (Last year we praised the death metal heavy soundtrack of The Cemetery here.)
Though Ahlbrandt is hard at work on his next splatter platter -- The Sadist, starring legit scream queen Linnea Quigley and featuring a score by Steve Austin of Today Is The Day -- the hardcore auteur was kind enough to help kick off our Halloween month coverage with this list of songs he'd most like to adapt for a horror film. Enjoy!
When I'm writing I usually put on music to help me escape reality and envision the story I'm working on. So when Decibel asked me to do this list, I had a million ideas already in mind. It was hard to leave things off. Bands like Gorguts, Exhumed, Deafhaven, Isis, Discordance Axis, Sun 0)))... All are constantly in my CD player. Below are a selection of songs that I'd love to put in a movie or do a music video for, out of an impossibly large reservoir. These thirteen songs are a few that I've found myself listening to and dreaming about getting to put during the most vile and violent scenes...
13. "43% Burnt," The Dillinger Escape Plan
This song is a sonic killing spree. It plays like a circus tent machine gun massacre. The unrelenting time changes and sheer speed would be perfect score to watch a wave of human bodies turn into distorted mounds of mangled flesh. I imagine that in the ensuing melee stampeding elephants trample through the packed tent, setting the bangle tigers free from their steel cage. The once sturdy bars crumple under the crushing weight of the hysteria stricken beast. With the lion tamer pinned under three thousand pounds of writhing elephant the tigers stalk among the panicked mass, picking off the young and weak. Rounds pump through the fleeing attendees as Bobo gets his rocks off on wholesale slaughter, shrieking with glee each time a .308 slug slams home into it's target...
12. "Sophistic Demise," Fleshgod Apocalypse
I am often asked about this band because of the heavy presence they have on my film The Cemetery's soundtrack. I love this band's style and precision. Completely tight and melodic yet devastating and violent -- they waste no time violating you from the moment you press play. The first time I saw the opening credit sequence of The Cemetery with their music playing as the decapitation and disembowelment rolled it was as exciting a moment I've had in filmmaking, right up there with shooting Dawn Vaughn in only a g-string and high heels run across a freezing warehouse over and over...
11. "Resumption," Cleric
Here is a band that more people are discovering that have been innovators for years. Currently getting set for a tour with the Secret Chiefs 3, Cleric are set to destroy people's minds. Having scored both The Cemetery and Cross Bearer as their alter ego Mr. 19, they are musicians that I admire and only see the brightest of futures for. From desolate ambient soundscapes to brutal tech grind, Cleric will musically beat your skull in.
10. "Weeding out the Thorns," Human Remains
Innovation, technique, brutality... You won't find many bands that can constantly reveal new things after years of listening but I'm constantly catching myself finding them in this bands limited material. I've always wanted to do a sex scene where a woman stabs her bound lover with a survival knife in his groin and uses it to pleasure herself, this song would be ideal to accompany that.
9. "Hammer Smashed Face," Cannibal Corpse
Because it makes me want to fuck your face with a hammer.
8. "Freezing Moon," Mayhem
I dream of getting to use this song over a church burning scene. Black Circle members dousing a majestic cathedral in gasoline and setting it aflame in the snow covered darkness. The flames illuminating their painted faces as they watch the structure become engulfed and screams rise from within. As flaming silhouettes rush from the inferno they are forced back towards the flames.
7. "Death Curse," Today Is The Day
Really anything from Today Is The Day is perfect for imagining brutality and murder. I've directed four videos for Steve and I can say without a doubt that they are one of the most innovative, consistent and heavy bands on the planet. If I'm thinking about killing someone, this is the music I put on.
6. "I Am Legend," White Zombie
This song is dying to be the opening to a film. Driving into town with a van full explosives, a crowd of people lining up outside on a busy city street....
5. "You Fail Me," Converge
A band that gets better with every release, and I don't mean to say they top what they've done each time. Each new release from Converge spawns the urge to revisit their prior releases, which only enhances my appreciation of them as musicians. This song has always been on my wish list. I'm also a huge fan of the side project Supermachiner and feel like that music would make great soundtrack.
4. "In Love With An Apparition," Pg. 99
A group of friends pile into an old station wagon and make the short trek to see the local punk show on a brisk Saturday night. Jake had watched them the entire day at school... Little fuckers had cut down part of his crop the night before and were planning to enjoy it themselves. That sweet sticky bud might be a good time to them, but to man like him it meant much more. It would cost him his life when the cartel found out... Because the little bastards hadn't just taken a few pounds... They'd accidentally started a fire that torched the entire crop in it's wake. He followed them into the club, making a joke at the door man about the water pistols he discovered in his coat pocket. If only he would have known one was filled with a mixture of LSD and PCP and the other lighter fluid... The loud music only fueled the crowds paranoia as Jake continued to spray them... The fire killed almost every one, Jake took care of himself later that evening... Sometimes you'd rather kill than live.
3. "Trojan Whore," Pig Destroyer
A doctor at an AIDS clinic gives up on humanity after seeing one too many dying patients and the lack of empathy shown to them... It seems as if people would rather drive nice cars and wear fancy clothes than find a cure... Vile's of blood go missing from the lab along with syringes... The opera is visited on opening night... It feels like a bee sting but it's really one persons solution to making the world care... Nothing matters more to anyone than the thing that's about to kill you.
2. "This Horrifying Force," Skeletonwitch
Marty is a drifter. He eats his meals out of gas stations and shit diners. He fucks tramps on sheets stained with the half aborted seed of a thousand vile unions. No woman will keep his company unless he's paying, no man calls him a friend. Marty used to be a traveling hunter on the circuit who excelled in a great number of competitions... Before the drinking took that away. Now he feeds crack to whores so he can incapacitate them and enlist their services in a different way... Marty likes their teeth... And their fingers and toes... And their tongue which he removes with a soldering iron... All of this is only a prelude to the real fun... The fun Marty has out on the outskirts of town with his mutilated prey and finely oiled rifle... His favorite shot is the spine just below the small of the back... It usually provides a beautiful explosive disemboweling and completely immobilizes the victim... With plenty of time before they perish to enjoy muffling their toothless mouths with his affections.
1. "Crossbearer," Cave In
Credit where it's due, I did get the idea for the title for my film from this song.