The ’90s and early 2000s weren’t just an awesome time for nu-metal, but also for movies. From action to horror flicks, cinema was packed with thrills and cheese. In fact, a lot of movies capitalized on the popularity of nu-metal by including nu-metal songs on their soundtracks and in the films themselves.
That said, besides paying direct tribute to the music, a lot of movies from this era also embody a carefree and rebellious spirit that was in abundance throughout nu-metal. When considering all the movies that came out back during that time, what are the most nu-metal movies?
While there are a lot of films that came out throughout the ’90s and early aughts, there are specifically 10 movies we think perfectly capture the ethos of nu-metal.
Based on the iconic Todd McFarlane comic book character of the same name, Spawn is an awesome action flick that deserves a lot of credit for how far it goes with its vibe…even if not all of its CGI lands well. The story follows an assassin named Al Simmons who ends up becoming a warrior of Hell. Let alone that Spawn looks like he could be a member of Slipknot, the movie is jam-packed with exhilarating vibes thanks to its ridiculous gunplay. The film also has a stellar soundtrack, featuring the likes of Korn, Rage Against the Machine‘s Tom Morello, and even several members from Metallica.
While extreme sports are still popular today, their grip on cultural relevance in the early 00s was unshakeable – with skateboarding and BMX taking center stage in various media. When it comes to the latter, XXX is one of the most iconic films of the era, for the movie wove together extreme sports and espionage. While XXX‘s soundtrack includes bangers from Hatebreed and Rammstein, what gives this film its nu-metal edge is its anti-authority. The aura surrounding Vin Diesel’s character feels lifted from Limp Bizkit‘s Fred Durst, and that sort of carefree, not giving a shit mood rides throughout the film. Also doesn’t hurt that there’s an incredible scene where Diesel flies out of a car, parachuting to Drowning Pool‘s “Bodies.”
Freddy vs. Jason
Two of horror’s greatest bad guys go head to head, unleashing mayhem upon anyone who gets in their way. For those fans looking for a nu-metal movie that comes across like a theatrical Mushroomhead video, this is the film for you. Along with all the gore and violence that Freddy vs. Jason has to offer, the film’s soundtrack is also absolutely fantastic. You got Spineshank, Ill Niño, Powerman 5000, and Slipknot (and that’s only to name a few). Not only is Freddy vs. Jason an awesome horror-action flick, but it also has one of the most metal soundtracks in all of cinema history.
Queen of the Damned
Arguably, one could say that Queen of the Damned is the MOST nu-metal movie on this list. Why? Well, for starters, the film’s story revolves around an ancient vampire who is in a nu-metal band. The film also features a cameo from Korn singer Jonathan Davis. Oh, and Davis wrote the music for the film. Oh and also, whenever the main character sings – like when he performs Disturbed‘s “Down With The Sickness” – Davis does the dubbing for the character’s voice. Does anything more need to be said about why Queen of the Damned is so damn nu-metal?
Judgment Night is an interesting film, for while its tone and plot are so removed from the horror and action flicks that make up this list, its soundtrack is out of this world. From Helmet to Slayer, Biohazard, Living Colour, and Faith No More, the Judgment Night soundtrack is an absolute banger from start to finish (with said music helping to elevate the film’s more dramatic moments). Many have argued this soundtrack helped launch rap metal to the next level, and for good reason.
Religious thrillers can sometimes be very melodramatic, and Stigmata dives hard into that such vibes. The film revolves around an atheist who ends up being cursed and suffers stigmata-related wounds. The film involves a lot of sound design and cinematography aesthetics that were common in ’90s thrillers, and such aesthetics remind us of several nu-metal music videos (like Linkin Park‘s “Crawling” and Coal Chamber‘s “Loco”).
Based on the legendary video game of the same name, Resident Evil makes for a thrilling and badass zombie action flick. While there are some awesome moments of tense dread, this film really shines when it comes to its action scenes. Resident Evil has always had a sci-fi edge to it, with this movie, in particular, portraying a very industrial-esque setting. So of course, the perfect pairing for Resident Evil in this case is to throw on some Fear Factory and Static-X.
A modern-day Dracula story with all the cheese and thrills that made up so much of early aughts action cinema? Sign us the hell up. Alongside the film’s use of action and melodrama, there also comes an amazing soundtrack, which features songs from Saliva, Static-X, Powerman 5000, Linkin Park, and several other nu-metal bands. Let alone the edgy attitude the film gives off, its soundtrack alone cements it as a perfect nu-metal movie.
Ghosts of Mars
Coming from the amazingly talented horror director John Carpenter, Ghosts of Mars features a lot of nu-metal-like instrumentation, which works to heighten the intensity behind the film’s many shootouts. As far as the plot is concerned, there are ghosts on mars that turn people into mutant freaks; oh, and those ghosts can infect people like zombies. It’s a goofy movie, but it’s also kind of brilliant. Major props to Carpenter for getting down with the sickness.
Among the horror movies in this list, Strangeland is by far one of the eeriest. It has moments of cheese for sure, but it also features a really unnerving antagonist in the form of Captain Howdy (who is played by Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider). When the film is not depicting graphic body horror, it mostly spends its time talking about how new and dangerous the internet is. This movie came out in 1998, so there is a lot of hand-holding adults through how Instant Messaging works. Throughout all of this though, there’s lots of nu-metal instrumentation being played, which works to both discomfort and thrill audiences.