Horror and metal. Metal and horror. One couldn't quit the other even if it wanted to. Which, as anyone who has attended either a horror con or metal show recently can attest, neither does. Except maybe those djent dudes whose non-role-playing-game media consumption is limited mostly to scouring Nova physics + math specials for potential new riff patterns and humorlessly waiting to pounce on un-trve science jokes in episodes of The Big Bang Theory. Or at least that's what I've assumed, anyway.
Point is, each fanbase has dual citizenship in the other and as what is in effect a gigantic nation of gutter culture connoisseurs, recommendations for cool new shit can be hard to come by.
So to help Decibel readers celebrate today's holiday in style, we've brought together two of the brightest lights in horror/metal for a (virtual) roundtable discussion on which horror films best match the various and sundry subgenres of metal.
Our guests are Brian Izzi, the inventive guitarist/songwriter behind the sturm und drang of one of the single best extreme metal bands of the last decade, Trap Them, as well as the proprietor of the primo horror blog VideoCult. (Be sure to check out his sick Halloween 2014 mix...) And in the other corner we have Sam Zimmerman, the brilliant, endlessly incisive managing editor of Fangoria online, who also happens to sing for the great new metallic hardcore band Dead Ringers and plays catch-me-if-you-can all day on Twitter.
Oh, and by the way, copies of our April 2012 zombie issue are still available!
Now, without further ado...
Swedish Death Metal
Izzi: Entombed covered the Phantasm theme on Left Hand Path. Phantasm has a Tall Man. Sweden has Tall Men. I think that's all we need to know here.
Zimmerman: A band like Entombed always sounded primal to me. Visceral and melancholic. Something like a ferocious being who accepts its nature, but is appropriately brooding about it. I’m using this space then to point to a new film I think everyone should see: Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook -- out in November -- is viscerally frightening. It’s about monsters, but also the darkness we harbor inside ourselves and ultimately keeping such for a healthy balance, not eradicating it.
Zimmerman: Mired in occult imagery, Black Death could go either way, which seems integral to the pagan and satanic influenced subgenre: Confronting both the mystic, as well as the harsh realities of those that dabble in it. Also, HAXAN or ultra-blasphemous movies like Alucarda, Don’t Deliver Us From Evil, and School of the Holy Beast.
Izzi: City of the Living Dead. A priest is impaled, Ouija board misuse, someone throws up their own guts, a drill through the head, and so much more. Combine that with a haunting Fabio Frizzi score and there's nothing more evil.
Doom Zimmerman: A Field in England. Fuzzy, introspective, psychedelic, magick.
Izzi: Tombs of the Blind Dead. Blind, slow moving Knights Templar rise from the tombs and kill. All I hear are Electric Wizard riffs just from typing that sentence.
Izzi: Slime City/Street Trash. Set in the 80s? Involves sex, sleaze, drinking, and melting people? Yup. Pretty much sounds like a concept album by Toxic Holocaust. I'm in.
Zimmerman: Hobo With A Shotgun. Jason Eisener’s debut -- and sadly, still only -- feature is a colorful, manic piece of ultraviolence. It’s unstoppable in its depiction of stylish urban decay. It revels and repulses and has fun doing so.
Izzi: August Underground. Simply one of the most disgusting movies I've ever seen. Filthy, gory, and unapologetic...like any gore-grind band should be.
Zimmerman: Any of the transgressive German underground madness, like the work of Andreas Schnaas -- Violent Shit, Anthropophagous 2000 – and Jorg Buttgereit -- Nekromantik, The Death King.
Zimmerman: The Gate. The silly grandeur of a record opening up a hellhole always seemed indicative of the massive nature of the NWOBHM. That’s not to mention Terry and Sacrifyx’s whole vibe. Also, Black Roses.
Izzi: Demons/Phenomena/Opera. Argento really liked Heavy Metal in the 80s. Watch either of these films and head bang to tracks by Iron Maiden, Steel Grave, Motely Crue, Accept, & Saxon.
Izzi: Cronenberg was way ahead of his time with Videodrome and it is truly a masterpiece. The same can be said about Voivod with and their legacy. Blame Canada.
Zimmerman: Hardware. Visionary, progressive and so fucking cool.
Izzi: Maniac Cop. ACAB right? From the filthy streets, corrupt politicians, and the cop that loves to kill, there is none more punk.
Zimmerman: Is anything crustier than The Road Warrior?
Zimmerman: We Are What We Are. It isn’t southern-set, but this mountainous piece of ritual American Gothic shares a sensibility. It’s deliberate, atmospheric and ultimately ghoulish in its cannibalistic ways. Also, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Izzi: Like the best sludge, The Beyond was also made in New Orleans. This Lucio fulci Classic delivers the goods with slow burn gory horror
Zimmerman: Alone in the Dark. A bunch of elderly nuts escape a favorite metal locale -- an asylum -- to give a doctor and his family some shock treatment. A delirious film that ultimately finds solace at a DIY suburban punk show.