Those of us out there who love movies know how important music can be to the cinematic experience. A good soundtrack is often as essential as the script and cinematography, providing enough ambiance and emotional depth to push a scene over the edge.
These are the best heavy metal soundtracks.
Grunge was dominating the airwaves by 1994, signaling the death throes of more traditional heavy metal in the years to come. However the power struggle would play out, the headbangers were not about to leave without a fight. Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi star as The Lone Rangers, a band who take a radio station hostage with fake weapons in order to get their music played. Featuring tracks from White Zombie (who also make a killer cameo in the film), Anthrax, and a collaboration between Motörhead, Ice-T and Ugly Kid Joe’s Whitfield Crane, the anthemic soundtrack fits perfectly with the high-spirited movie.
Tales From The Crypt Presents: Demon Knight
Critics and audiences weren’t kind to this feature length Tales From The Crypt spin-off upon its 1995 release. Critics and audiences can be fucking idiots sometimes, because this occultist zombie/possession romp is a total blast (despite not making one iota of sense). The soundtrack features certified classic bangers and exclusive tracks from Pantera, Machine Head, Sepultura, Melvins, and Biohazard.
Although almost nobody remembers this 1993 urban can-and-mouse movie starring Emilio Estevez and Dennis Leary, the soundtrack has become a thing of legend. Hip-hop and metal collaborations might have existed before, but this record put the whole exercise front and center courtesy of collaborative tracks between the likes of Mudhoney and Sir Mix A Lot, Helmet and House of Pain, and Slayer and Ice T. It’s arguably the primordial ooze from which nü-metal came, for better or worse.
Depending on where you lived in the mid 1990s, you could not walk down the street without seeing a gaggle of teenagers with black hair, oversized jeans, and t-shirts emblazoned with the logo for this movie. Tragically remembered for the on-screen death of star Brandon Lee, this pathos-driven avenging angel tale is far from a morbid object of curiosity. The film is bolstered by a superb soundtrack that includes songs by Pantera, Helmet, The Cure, Rage Against The Machine, Stone Temple Pilots, and Rollins Band.
Last Action Hero
It might not be remembered as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s crowning achievement (that honor goes to Twins, hands down), but there are some highly redeeming qualities to 1993’s big budget action/comedy spoof Last Action Hero. Lukewarm reception to the film aside, the soundtrack features some prime cuts courtesy of Alice In Chains, Megadeth, AC/DC, Def Leppard and Anthrax.
Harmony Korine helped usher in a new age of transgressive cinema with his script for the movie Kids. The terrible behavior of teenage skaters amidst the AIDS crisis in New York is one thing, but when Harmony focused his gaze on life in tornado-ravaged Xenia, Ohio he created a surrealist portrait of American hell. Korine’s directorial debut stars Nick Sutton and Jacob Sewell as spiritual scavengers in a Rust-Belt wasteland is given an extra-strength backbone courtesy of it’s savage soundtrack which features tracks from Eyehategod, Bathory, Bethlehem, Spazz, Mystifier, Absu and countless others. The scene in the movie where the two protagonists appear on bikes as Sleep’s “Dragonaut” creeps in the background will burn itself into your brain forever.
With a script that reads like Albert Camus’ take on kids who go to thrash shows, River’s Edge follows events in the lives of a group of North Californian high school heshers right after one of them commits a murder. This might be an early Keanu Reeves starring vehicle (and he is great in it), but the main attractions are scenery-chewing Crispin Glover and an absolutely psychotic Dennis Hopper. Featuring four Slayer songs as well as tracks from Fates Warning, Hallow’s Eve, Wipers and Burning Spear, it is an existentialist nightmare of the highest caliber.
The cinematic adaptation of the revolutionary survival-horror video game, Resident Evil follows Milla Jovovich as she and a group of commandos from the Umbrella Corporation try to contain a zombie outbreak. Helping to propel the movie at a lightning-fast pace is a soundtrack featuring songs by Slipknot, Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, and DevilDriver. A treat for those who like their films frantic and their metal nü.
The Doom Generation
Sex, drugs, whatever. The tagline for Gregg Araki’s 1997 masterwork The Doom Generation personifies the alienation and frank ridiculousness of teenagers towards the end of the 90s. Araki clearly also has some of the best taste in music of any director, the film opening with Nine Inch Nail’s “Heresy” to set the mood and idealogy of the movie. Elsewhere Araki throws in some more excellent picks with The Jesus and Mary Chain, Curve, Slowdive, Lush and more also appearing. It’s a hell of a ride.
Queen Of The Damned
In December of 2002, a Scottish man obsessed with Queen Of The Damned killed his friend and drank his blood. Having seen the movie more than a hundred times since its release ten months prior, Allan Menzies claimed that Aaliyah’s Queen Akasha character commanded him to do the deed. The movie is fine, but it certainly isn’t good enough to kill your buddy over. Maybe the Jonathan Davis produced soundtrack featuring Deftones, Disturbed, Papa Roach and Marilyn Manson had something to do with it? Probably not.