The world of heavy metal can be an intimidating place to enter into if you’re not prepared. Those heavy guitar riffs can make you feel uncomfortable, for instance. Plus, all that hair. But, with a little bit of patience, even the most casual headbangers out there can be well on their way to being full-on metalheads thanks to these five heavy metal movies. Enjoy, and don’t hurt yourself.
A good comedy can make even the most alienating subcultures seem appealing – and when that comedy is of the goes-down-smooth variety that SNL alum Mike Myers specialized in in the early 90s, pretty much everyone can get on board. The gags are fast and sharp, and there’s plenty of genuine affection for the hard rock / heavy metal world that Wayne Campbell occupies (or wishes he occupied, anyway).
“Last Days Here”
Bobby Liebling isn’t a household name. He could have been, though – his career as the lead singer of the heavy metal band Pentagram showed tons of potential, but due to Liebling’s difficult personality and bad luck, the band became a small favorite of a cult of followers rather than a global phenomenon. This documentary begins with Liebling living in his parents’ basement so strung out on drugs and paranoia it’s amazing he’s able to get up and walk around. Will he stage a comeback and reclaim his life? (Yes, he will)
The opening credits alone of “Zombie Nightmare,” made famous by its being featured on “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” make it a great heavy metal movie. Set to Motörhead’s metal classic “Ace of Spades,” the sequence sets the tone for this bizarre horror film, also featuring the band Pantera. Even the film’s star, Jon Mikl Thor, is something of a heavy metal artist, doing the music for the movie as well.
The definitive documentary about a rock band isn’t a real documentary and the band isn’t a real band. But it still captures the heavy metal lifestyle as well as (or better than) any documentary ever could. Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer are the dimwitted, self-important, yet completely loveable members of Spinal Tap, and the “rockumentary” following their fall from grace is one of the funniest movies ever made. And the music is pretty good, too.
Heavy metal music isn’t known for subtlety, so it’s fitting that this heavy metal movie on a list of heavy metal movies is actually called “Heavy Metal.” Based on the science fiction/fantasy magazine of the same name, the movie features songs from metal and proto-metal acts like Black Sabbath, Nazareth, Cheap Trick, and DEVO (???). Well, three out of four ain’t bad.