Heavy metal music's influence on our modern culture can't be denied. This time, instead of focusing on songs, albums, or the bands themselves, we decided to change the perspective a bit, and instead delve into world of cinema. There are tons of documentaries about heavy metal music and culture, from the late '70s, to today. With this in mind, we wanted to look at films that were not documentaries; fiction based movies that had a plot line, characters, and or a soundtrack that somehow involved heavy metal, and/or hard rock music. We now present our list of the 10 Best Heavy Metal Movies.
See also: Top 10 Power Metal Bands10.Hesher (2010)
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levit and Natalie Portman, this is a story about a teenage boy who is depressed over the recent death of his mother, who died in a car accident. By fate, the boy and his middle aged, pill popping, strung out father come to meet a long haired, tattooed, chain smoking, drunken stoner known as Hesher. This heavy metal loving, miscreant adds violence, profanity, sex, arson, and vandalism and thrashes metal to this unabashed dark comedy, which has a connection to the world's biggest metal band, Metallica. According to interviews with Levit, the character in the Hesher was based on the late, great Cliff Burton, Metallica's original bass player, who died tragically when the band's tour bus crashed in Sweden in 1986. Levit told Guitar Magazine in 2011, that when the members of Metallica saw the film, the band approved of the performance. "They dug the movie," Levit told Ultimate Guitar. "When the band saw it, they were like, 'you know what, he reminds us of Cliff!' and we didn't even tell him what we were going for."9.Spun (2002)
At first glance, this might seem like a cliché-ridden flick about the wretched horrors of meth, and in many ways the acting does a stupendous job at highlighting this for viewers. This flick really shows the filthy, unstable and disgusting lifestyle of meth heads. Starring John Leguinzamo, the late Brittany Murphy, Mikey Rourke and Jason Schwartzman, this film revolves around a young meth user (Schwartzman) who is introduced to a small time dope dealer (Leguiizamo) and his supplier, the 'cook' (Rourke). Tons of disturbing sex with greasy tweakers with bad skin and worse teeth, guns, violence, threats, paranoia and profanity are what this movie is about. Well that, and smoking, snorting and injecting the poison known as crystal meth.
This, along with a sick sense of humor and rock star edge, ensure for a horrific, yet at the same time mildly funny and extremely tragic. Heavy metal fans will enjoy the cameo by the Metal God, Rob Halford, who plays a porno shop worker. Debra Harry form Blondie, Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins, and porn star Ron Jeremy also make cameos as well. Director Jonas Akerlund is an established video director and also played drums for the Swedish cult metal band Bathory, for a short period in 1983. The soundtrack to Spun contains original music written for the film by Billy Corgan and also songs by Bathory, Ozzy, Motley Crue, UFO, Iron Maiden and black metal band Satyricon, whose video, 'Mother North,' appears in the film.
See also: 13 Hottest Guys in Metal8.Gummo (1997)
Heavy metal fans will love this very disturbing cult film, which is not for the weak of heart. This movie is the directorial debut by director/writer Harmony Korine, and is one dark, disturbing glimpse into the life of a very fucked up midwestern town, full of weirdoes, psychos, sickos, dope fiends, tweakers and other freaks. The movie defies all preconceived notions of a film and lacks a linear timeline, instead offering an iconoclastic narrative of sequences that ramble yet offer pieces of a very twisted cast of characters. Filmed in Nashville, Tennessee, the film featured many locals in the cast, and only had five established actors. From bizarre scenes involving gay midgets, skinheads, chair wrestling, kids huffing glue to get high, shooting an elderly woman who is in a coma on the feet with a bb Rifle, drowning cats to sell to Chinese restaurants, sex with teenagers who have Down Syndrome or one of the most disgusting bath scenes you will ever see, anywhere (bad enough that you will need a shower after the movie is over).
One very infamous (scene, includes the iconic razor blade carving of the 'SLAYER' logo into one's arm, while Norwegian black metal plays in the background. This film's soundtrack is as bizarre a the film itself, from pop music like Madonna, to classics like Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly, and a healthy dose of heavy metal, including bands such as Brujeria, Eyehategod, Bathory, and Sleep, as well as other more extreme, underground bands like Absu, Burzum, Nifelheim, Mortician and Bethlehem.7.School of Rock (2003)
Staring Jack Black, this outrageous, yet heart warming comedy is not necessarily about heavy metal, but it does a great job celebrating and sharing the beauty of rock-n-roll music among kids, with a hilarious plot line that includes a struggling rock musician who manages to get a job a substitute teacher for a 5th grade music class, which he decides to mold into his own rock band. The movie is full of loud classic rock music, including the Doors, Led Zeppelin, Cream, AC/DC, KISS, Black Sabbath, Metallica and even The Clash and The Ramones. The film also stars Sara Silverman and John Cusack. Black was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in the film, which was a major success at the Box Office.
See also: The 10 Best Metalcore Bands6. Metallica Through The Never (2013)
This film is a merger of live concert footage from Metallica, and a mysterious, live action apocalyptic thriller centered around one of the band's roadies, sent on a mission across a city for a mission to retrieve a special bag. There are tons of long-haired heavy metal maniacs rioting in the streets, clashes with police, explosions and more fun, in this unique, exciting film, that was a much better movie than Metallica's previous documentary film,Some Kind of Monster
, which included personal interviews and band's therapy sessions.5. Rock Star (2001)
This movie was based loosely based on the true story of singer Tim 'Ripper Owens' who was in a Judas Priest cover band, then was recruited by the actually band to replace original singer Rob Halford for a brief period in the late '90s.
Mark Wahlberg stars in this musical drama, as a man who is an office worker by day, singer in a Steel Dragon cover band by night. When he is eventually fired from the band, his finds himself depressed but soon finds a change of luck, when his idols, Steel Dragon ask him to join the band. Jennifer Anniston plays Wahlberg's beautiful girlfriend who has to deal with the endless amounts of heavy metal concerts, groupies, drugs, booze and the arrogant rock star lifestyle she abhors. Because the story is based partially on true events, it makes it that much more interesting and riveting to watch.
See also: Top 10 Stoner Metal Bands4.Detroit Rock City (1999)
The plot revolves around a group of high school kids teens trying to get to a KISS concert staring Edward Furlong, Sam Huntington, James DeBello, and Guiseppe Andrews, in a coming-of-age tale from 1978, that involves angry religious mothers against KISS, priests eating psilocybin mushrooms, and rebellious teens smoking weed, playing Rock music, getting into fights, and losing their virginity. The film also paints a colorful picture of how times were in the late 1970s where there was a heated cultural battle between fans of Disco and fans of rock-n-roll. Cameos include all four original members of KISS and also porn star Ron Jeremy and Shannon Tweed. If you HATE KISS, you might not enjoy this film.
But even if you only mildly know of, or enjoy the band, or are a die-hard fan or are indifferent, you might enjoy this movie. The adventure begins when an angry, Catholic mother, who insists the band is an acronym for Knights In Satan's Service, destroys the KISS concert tickets. The teens decide to 'borrow' a parent's car and hit the road to see their musical idols live in downtown Detroit, which only ends up in chaotic misadventures, but eventually allows them to witness one of the Greatest, Loudest, Rock Bands on the planet, in 1978, KISS. Even though when it was released it made little profits at the box office, it is still worth checking out, and is even considered to be a cult film, even adored by many people that aren't fans of KISS.3.Airheads (1994)
This is a classic comedy about heavy metal and hard rock, starring Brendan Fraser, Steve Buschemi and Adam Sandler as trio of hard rocking rejects in an LA rock band known as the Lone Rangers, who hijack a radio station to play their demo on the air with realistic looking squirt guns full of hot pepper sauce. A hostage situation at the station involving the police only makes things worse, in this cheesy yet hilarious take on the LA hard rock/metal scene. Cameos include Michael Richards, Chris Farley, and 'Stuttering John' Melendez from the Howard Stern show, as well as the band White Zombie and Lemmy from Motorhead. This film is the origin of the 'Lemmy is God' reference, when main character Chazz (Fraser) is trying to find out if an alleged record executive is a cop or a real rock music fan, by asking 'Who would win in a fight between Lemmy and God?' TRICK QUESTION LEMMY IS GOD!!!"
The allusions to KNAC radio station slogans, and the Whisky A-Gogo on the Sunset Strip, as well a soundtrack that includes bands like Prong, Anthrax Aeoersmith, The Ramones, White Zombie and Primus, among others give this the authentic 90s vibe. The fictional band in the film, The Lone Rangers perform a song in prison, called Degenerate, which was originally written by the hardcore punk band Reagan Youth. Overall, one hell of a gut busting laughter inducing hard rock/heavy metal farce.
See also: Top 10 Grindcore Bands2.This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Known world wide for its status as a cult film, this 'mockumentary' is a parody of rock documentaries of the time, and follows the fictional hard rock/heavy metal band Spinal Tap on a comeback tour of the US. Much of the dialogue for the film was ad libbed, and it was directed and written by Reiner, along with writers Michael McKean (of Saturday Night Live fame) and harry Shearer (The Simpsons). The band, Spinal Tap is interviewed throughout the film, which is considered to be a cult classic a among documentary musical comedies. Many real life musicians and rock band members such as Pearl Jam, Ozzy and many others have gone public in interviews offering praise for Spinal Tap, comparing other bands toSpinal Tap
, and expressing their content that the documentary was more fact than fiction. The legacy and influence of this film has made it become a top contender of top film lists of all time, including the NY Times, Entertainment Weekly and Empire Magazine.1.Wayne's World (1992)
A no-brainer classic comedy about the pair of hopeful rockers/cable TV show hosts, from the '90s, this put SNL and stars Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey on the map as comedy film stars. Even in 2014, nothing beats the classic, iconic Queen Bohemian Rhapsody scene that everyone is familiar with. With a love for long hair, guitar solos, denim, jeans and pure rock-n-roll music; the duo had a passion for bands like KISS, Queen, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and other hard rock bands. The film includes cameos by Meatloaf and Alice Cooper, who performed the song, 'Feed My Frankenstein,' from his album
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, and took part in a hilarious conversation with Wayne and Garth backstage at a concert in Milwaukee.