From Hell’s Heart:
Top 5 Metal Movie Soundtracks
To be considered for the list, entries should be for MOSTLY metal soundtracks for movies. Preference is given to “metal movies” but if the movie is just, for example, a horror movie and it has a metal soundtrack, then no problem! One metal song on a soundtrack filled with pop, or whatever, is not included.
There have been several movie soundtracks that are filled with metal. Unfortunately, the bulk of them are several years old. There haven’t been many metal soundtracks in recent years, at least ones that I either liked or heard! MY selections are not based on the “metalness” of the movies, but of the music on the soundtrack. Movies with a metal feeling (i.e. Conan the Barbarian, Terminator, etc.) do not usually have a metal soundtrack.
1. Rock Star (2001)
The music from this killer movie (that had a shit ending) is full of 80’s metal goodness. The fictitious band from the movie, Steel Dragon, is heavily featured, along with some other great songs from the era – most notably Motley Crue and Kiss). There’s a few other cool tracks throughout the movie that didn’t make it to the soundtrack. A Steel Dragon reunion is long overdue…not that it will happen, but the “band” was deadly. 🙂
2. The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)
While not technically a “movie”, this documentary has a great soundtrack with no real throw away tracks. The album cover with Mustaine thrashing out is how I always picture Dave. The film itself is also cool with many memorable scenes.
3. Last Action Hero (1993)
Anthrax, AC/DC, Megadeth, and Tesla top the highlights of this soundtrack. There are a few throw-away tracks on here sadly. But overall, it is one of the better offereings.
4. Trick or Treat (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – 1986)
Fastway is a band who I’ve only really listened to much of via this movie soundtrack. The movie is cheese, but at least it’s grade A cheese with cool 80’s metal.
5. Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)
Sacred Reich and Death Angel on a movie soundtrack? Hell yea.
1. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
Both Bill& Ted movies were a heck of a lot of fun. I love both soundtracks, I bought them both (on cassette) when they came out but I decided to go with BOGUS JOURNEY as it is a bit more ‘Metal’. The first soundtrack had some great bands, Shark Island, Extreme and more but Bogus Journey opens with that unparalleled 1-2-3 punch of Slaughter and Winger (both doing likely their heaviest tunes ever) and the glory and majesty of Kiss doing Russ Ballard’s hit, ‘God Gave Rock And Roll To You II, likely the most lyrically inspirational song I have ever heard. I still weep tears of joy whenever I hear that song. Add the thrash of Megadeth, the Prog of King’s X, the weirdness of Primus and the guitar heroics of Steve Vai and you have one of the most well-rounded Metal soundtracks ever.
2. Black Roses
I’m sure this cult classic 80’s horror move will make many of our contributors lists. I did not see the movie as much as others so the connection between the movie and the soundtrack are not as important, but when I bought the tape of the Black Roses OST (Official Soundtrack)all those years ago I was blown away. This soundtrack had some killer cuts and it was not just songs inserted into the movie. The movie was actually about Heavy Metal (unlike Bill & Ted’s movies for example). The Black Roses supergroup was a number of cool musicians including people from various bands like Masi but if you break it down, it was basically King Kobra who add four tracks. It was probably a contractual obligate nothing for King Kobra to record under another name. Speaking of King Kobra, the under-rated David Michael Phillips adds a song called ‘King Of Kool’ with it’s hilarious lyrics and infectious chorus. The soundtrack concludes with the heavy and somewhat out of place (but still awesome) song called D.I.E. (Death In Effect) by Metal Blade artist Hallow’s Eve. Speaking of Metal Blade, their fingerprints were all over this one with Lizzy Borden’s song ‘Me Against The World’ featured very heavily several times in the movie, a classic song if there ever was one.
I had the very great pleasure of seeing this horror film on the opening night in downtown Toronto. Not only is this soundtrack loaded with the elite, late 80′ early 90’s Metal bands of the time such as this OST has many fine features. For example, Saraya, Dangerous Toys, Bonfire and Megadeth all add new songs to the soundtrack, instead of just pulling one of an old album so this increases the appeal and street cred of this soundtrack immensely. The Megadeth version of Alice Cooper’s ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ was actually shot as a promo video with clips from the film and it aired heavily on Much Music and MTV. The Dangerous Toys tune was one of their heaviest songs and kept in the horror them of previous album songs like ‘Scared’. Bonfire were at the height of their popularity add added one of their best tunes ‘Sword And Stone’ which rolled loudly and proudly during the end credits. The Saraya ballad was super-sweet. Lastly there was supergroup called ‘The Dudes Of Wrath’ that contributed three songs to the soundtrack. This all-star, mega-super-group ‘band’ was loaded with big name musicians. Members (past and present) of Alice Cooper, Def Leppard, Kiss, Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake and Van Halen all jumped on board for the huge Desmond Child produced tracks.
I only just recently saw the Nightwish movie and I loved it. I reviewed it for MR a few months back. The only Movie soundtrack in the feature that has just one band, but it is superb. Based on the album of the same name the band reinterpreted the songs for the soundtrack add so man dimensions to this thrilling dark action/fantasy/horror film. Instead of just being a collection of songs the soundtrack weaves through the movie bringing each scene to life. Tumoas Holopainen is a master composer.
Perhaps one of the lesser known and newest Metal-type movies metalhead has a superb soundtrack of old-school metal. This Icelandic film made waves on the indie film circuit around the planet. From old Diamond Head, Riot (!) (the first ever soundtrack to feature Riot?) to Megadeth to Judas Priest, the soundtrack is sparse but the songs hit at just the right moment. One highlight for me was ‘Strange Wings’ by Savatage which suited the scene perfectly with the lyrics of “She flies strange wings, still tears she cries” coming at a crucial moment in the film. My hat is off to the music director who worked those simple lyrics of a relatively obscure Savatage song into a critical scene in the movie. This is second Metal movie (after Black Roses) to feature the iconic Lizzy Borden tune ‘Me Against The World’, a metallic teen-rebellion anthem par excellence. To have a song written in 1987 featured in an independent Icelandic movie from 2013 shows it’s universal appeal and staying power. Despite the film being (sort of) about Black Metal, the soundtrack is a good mix of old school tunes that demonstrate how the main actress grows into more and more extreme forms of music, as many of us did back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I believe this is the only film of my picks that has not released the soundtrack separately. Shame, I’d but it in a heart beat.
1. The Decline of The Western Civilization Part II – The Metal Years
Chris Holmes swimming in vodka, Ozzy sloppily making breakfast, a bevy of never gonna make it hair metal bands, and so many great tunes. As a movie, Decline Part 2 was a spot-on state of the union address for metal in the late 80’s, but the companion soundtrack had a near perfect mix of bands to reflect how broad the scene was. Never before or since then would you find the likes of Faster Pussycat, Armored Saint, Alice Cooper, and Rigor Mortis all on the same tracklisting; it still holds up incredibly well almost 30 years later.
Any movie with Steve Buscemi AND Lemmy is an automatic classic in my mind. For a goofy comedy about an aspiring metal band taking a radio station hostage, the filmmakers did their homework with the music. Their van is littered with stickers from legit bands (Obituary?!), the soundtrack features new-at-the-time rippers from Anthrax, Prong, and White Zombie, and is responsible for spawning the now infamous “Who’d win in a wrestling match between Lemmy and God” zinger. The best surprise on the whole soundtrack, though, is a ridiculously awesome cover of Van Halen’s “I’m the One” by none other than 4-Non-Blondes (yes, those 4-Non-Blondes). Goes to show that even the most seemingly mellow bands can have metal heart on the inside.
Though not on the same level as A Nightmare on Elm Street or Last House on the Left, Shocker was a still a fun and quirky horror flick from the late, great Wes Craven. Besides starring X-Files Deputy Director Skinner as a disembodied serial killer who can travel through electronic devices (huh?), Shocker’s biggest gift was Megadeth’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” video which featured a solo (and heavily medicated) Dave Mustaine shredding along to an unplugged guitar. But the film and soundtrack also featured some great tunes from likes of Bonfire, Dangerous Toys, and the Dudes of Wrath – a supergroup compiled for the soundtrack that listed Paul Stanley, Tommy Lee, Vivian Campbell, and Kane Roberts among its lineup. The soundtrack has been long out of print, but you can still find copies of this gem on Amazon and eBay.
4. Trick or Treat
In the late 80’s, there was a run of cheap slasher flicks aimed at capitalizing on the growing popularity of heavy metal, and of those, Trick or Treat was one of the best. Gene Simmons cameos as a Wolfman Jack inspired DJ, Ozzy cameos as a TV preacher, and Fastway (responsible for all of the music in the film) delivers arguably one of the best albums in their catalog. Songs like “After Midnight”, “Tear Down the Walls” and the title track are guaranteed to please. The full movie is available on YouTube, and the soundtrack is available on Spotify, both are highly recommended.
5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Remake)
As far as horror remakes go, this new take on Leatherface wasn’t terrible. Nor was a soundtrack featuring the likes of Lamb of God, Pantera, Morbid Angel, Meshuggah and Shadows Fall. I suppose the filmmakers wanted the soundtrack to match the brutality of the film?
1) This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
2) Rock Star (2001)
3) Hard Rock Zombies (1985)
4) Zombie Nightmare (1986)
5) Phenomena (1985)
“The Wrestler” (2008)
“The Matrix” (1999)
“Return of the Living Dead 2” (1988)
1) Last Action Hero
2) The Rivers Edge
3) House of 1000 crpses
4) Trick or Treat
5) Waynes World
Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure
Back in the 80s, often considered the golden age of metal, film directors and production companies quickly picked up on the surging popularity of metal music and how to market to and harness the consumption of niche films to metal fans. Academically speaking, Joseph Thompkins summarized the idea in Cinema Journal, 2009 the functions of film music and heavy metal, “Heavy metal music is deployed in horror films likeFreddy vs. Jason (Ronny Yu, 2003) to interpellate particular niche audiences and taste communities. Thus, soundtrack albums reveal a fundamental assumption within media firms that a manageable relationship between niche formats and consumer tastes exists to be exploited.” Yes, it was all about money, not surprisingly. But ignoring that fact, metal does lend itself particularly well to film.
Below are my favorite heavy metal soundtracks. I can recall certain scenes from movies just by hearing the song, and it is forever associated with the film that it appeared in.
1. River’s Edge (1986)
2. The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)
3. Trick Or Treat (1986)
4. Rock Star (2001)
5. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Black Roses (1988)
Alone In The Dark (2005)
1) Bill & Ted
2) Detroit Rock City
4) Ghost of Mars
5) Return of the Living Dead 2
1) The Crow
2) This Is Spinal Tap
3) Tales From The Crypt: Demon Night
4) Paranormal Activity
5) Night Of The Demons 2
2) Heavy Metal
3) Demon Knight
4) House 1000 Corpses
1) Rock Star (2001)
2) This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
3) Demons (1985)
4) Return of The Living Dead 2 (1988)
5) The Wrestler (2008)