Tales from the Jugular

A Quick Look At Heavy Metal Movies

By: Frank Hill
Published: Saturday, July 24, 2004
We've covered some ground in metal movies from the grand fantasies of Zeppelin, to the hard reality of life in Metallica. Help kill your weekend by checking out your local video store or theater for these 12 metal movies.

  • Led Zeppelin - "Song Remains the Same" (1976)
  • KISS - "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park" (1978)
  • Spinal Tap - "This Is Spinal Tap" (1984)
  • "Monster Dog" (1984)
  • Judas Priest - "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" (1986)
  • "Trick or Treat" (1986)
  • "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years" (1988)
  • "Airheads" - (1994)
  • KISS - "Detroit Rock City" (1999)
  • "Rock Star" (2001)
  • "We Sold Our Souls for Rock n` Roll" (2001)
  • Metallica - "Some Kind of Monster" (2004)

  • Led Zeppelin - "Song Remains the Same" (1976)
    Band member dream vignettes are interlaced with 1973 Madison Square Garden live show. Sequences include: Robert Plant's escapist warrior fantasy and pastoral family scenes, Jimmy Page's trippy mountain journey, John Paul Jones midnight highwayman ride, Bonzo drag racing and farm life and the band management as machine gun toting mobsters.

    KISS - "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park" (1978)
    The tale of rock band KISS and their efforts to stop a mad scientist's plan to clone humans into robots in his laboratory at an amusement park. It just so happens that he plans to uses the KISS concert as a platform to unleash his plan on the world. KISS must use their special powers to stop him. Comic book plot and acting--yep; maybe the worst ever. What else would you expect?

    Spinal Tap - "This Is Spinal Tap" (1984)
    Parody "rockumentary" covering cliched 70's hard rock bands and their peccadillos. "Tap" works outside of being a genre-based look at the metal world as a great comedic lampoon that targets everything from the central characters to the entire musical industry. Despite the mockery, its tone is reverential toward excessive heavy metalisms and as good-natured as those who can laugh at themselves. Strong characters and one of the funniest movies of all time. Recently, it was added to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry in 2002.

    "Monster Dog" (1984)
    Alice Cooper plays a metal superstar who takes his band and tour unit on the road, where they wander onto a weird, isolated farmhouse where a strange wolf creature lives. There is plenty of Cooper tunes throughout, including a music video mid-way through. EXCLUSIVE Alice music I might add, not being found anywhere other than this film.

    Judas Priest - "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" (1986)
    15 minute indy film tour of parking lot prior to Judas Priest concert. Features all the Cameros and mullets you could want--www.heavymetalparkinglot.com

    "Trick or Treat" (1986)
    Hollywood fright flick about dead metal star who comes back from the grave to wreak havoc on a young teenagers. Scare factor: if "The Exorcist" is a 10, this would be about a 3.

    Various Hair Metal - "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years" (1988)
    Metal documentary covering a lot of bands around the L.A. scence when it was rolling big. Aerosmith, Poison, Lemmy, Ozzy, Megadeth and Faster Pussycat are all featured. Scene to watch for: Chris Holmes from W.A.S.P. drinking vodka in a swimming pool as his mother watches from the side.

    "Airheads" (1994)
    Tired of being rejected by record labels and talent scouts, band takes over a rock radio station to play their demo for the masses. From what I recall the film was fairly mediocre.

    KISS - "Detroit Rock City" (1999)
    Hollywood film about four teenagers in the late 70's who try to scam their way into a KISS concert.

    "Rock Star" (2001)
    Hollywood film loosely, and I mean very loosely, based on Ripper Owens who was in a Judas Priest tribute band and eventually became their lead singer. Everything is covered with really broad strokes and the dialog is to writing like a microwave is to cooking. It's Ok for a cheap rental.

    "We Sold Our Souls for Rock n` Roll" (2001)
    Directed by Penelope Spheeris and produced by Sharon Osbourne, you're taken behind the scene and onto the stage in this documentary on Ozzfest. Starring/ music by Black Sabbath, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Godsmack, Slayer and others

    Metallica - "Some Kind of Monster" (2004)
    A look into the making of the album "St. Anger" with reality TV self-discovery of the band members. I haven't seen it yet, but the reviews have been decent.

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