Metal music and horror movies go together like hockey masks and machetes, proms and pig blood, twins and hallways. There're countless examples in heavy-music history of songs that are directly inspired by fright flicks, but for this list, we wanted to go the other direction and pick 10 songs with fright-flick-ready lyrical concepts that could totally be adapted for the screen.
From gruesome sketches of gory violence to chilling portrayals of inner demons, here are 10 metal songs that could be made into awesome horror movies.
"A Little Piece of Heaven" is Avenged Sevenfold's deranged rock opera, and while it already has a beloved music video, this eight-minute tale could easily be fleshed out into a full-length motion picture. In a nutshell, it's about a guy who kills his girlfriend when she refuses his hand in marriage, eats her heart and preserves her cadaver to serve as his undead wife (bedroom canoodling and all). But wait! A second act. The woman becomes a zombie, kills the psycho beau, and then, in the pits of hell, the two make amends and go on a murderous rampage, living happily ever after as zombie life-suckers. D'awh.
Most Cannibal Corpse songs could never become movies because there isn't an actor on earth who'd be willing to commit to portraying their stomach-churning scenes of pornographic violence. "Split Wide Open" is somehow the least offensive song on Tomb of the Mutilated, and its storyline is actually pretty clever — in the most odious way possible, of course. Rather than depicting one gory act, this song imagines a horrifying couple who repeatedly rear children just so the mother can kill them and the father can experiment on their infant corpses. The imagery of their kitchen becoming a slaughterhouse lined with jars of baby parts is ... well, there's gotta be some director out there with the stomach to run with this idea.
A creative breakthrough for the Deftones, on which they definitively diverged from the nu-metal sound of their first two albums, White Pony's "Digital Bath" is beautiful, romantic and sexy. Until you know what it's actually about: electrocuting a woman in the bath, then taking her out, drying her off and putting her clothes back on. Between the eroticism of the song and the ritualistic method of killing, this could be the source material for a sleek, Eighties-style psychosexual horror movie about a seductive, fetishistic serial killer.
In 2010, the Devil Wears Prada released Zombie EP, a five-song concept project about a zombie apocalypse. Each track is an individual vignette that chronicles a different stage in the undeads' takeover of civilization, but closing song, "Survivor," has the emotional depth to be built out into a feature-length story of its own. It focuses on a lone survivor who's stranded in the middle of Kansas, but rather than glorifying his intermittent zombie battles, it pinpoints the debilitating depression and survivor's guilt that've consumed his new life of solitude. It's an existentialist zombie movie ripe for the picking.
Iron Maiden are storytellers. Several of the British metallers' biggest songs, "Run to the Hills" and "The Trooper," for instance, are poetic criticisms of war and conquest that are written with engrossing narrative depth, and on "Killers," they use their skills to paint the picture of a barbaric serial killer who stalks the streets at night. It's more than a surface-level depiction of violence, but a dive into the mind of the murderer, who rationalizes his killings as a sort of holy act in service to his chosen deity: bloodlust. It would make for a thoroughly creepy slasher flick set in a dank, dark urban wasteland.
Originally released as a bonus track on the 2004 album Terrifyer (not to be confused with the Art the Clown movies) and then later as a separate EP, "Natasha" is a 40-minute sludge-doom epic from the usually hyper-speed grindcore outfit Pig Destroyer. Vocalist J.R. Hayes' twisted poetry tells the fractured, hallucinogenic story of how the titular character became the "Terrifyer," tracing her descent from innocent teenage love into murder and madness. The movie adaptation would be a droning, hypnotic fever dream like Mandy. In fact, we'd nominate that film's Panos Cosmatos to direct.
When they're not singing explicitly about kinky sex or tearing into conservative social norms, Rammstein are fond of penning twisted horror tales — many of them way too gory, disturbing or downright heinous to ever be adapted into Hollywood productions. "Stein um Stein" could work, though. It's a macabre fairy tale about a possessive maniac who cements his victim to the foundation of a house he's building, lining their body with nails and assuring no one will hear their screams. There's potential here for a Brothers Grimm-style fable about the theme of captivity, both physically and as a metaphor for emotional abuse.
Several of Rob Zombie's songs are literally about — or have already inspired — actual horror movies, and the vast majority of his catalog is spliced with random sound bits from throughout horror's cinematic history. Since the musician and movie director knows how to make it happen, we're petitioning Zombie to turn "Jesus Frankenstein" into his next flick. The 2010 song builds a vivid picture of a blasphemous beast with the "body of a prophet" and a "mind of a devil" that wanders through the mountains redeeming witches. C'mon, we need to know more about this creepy creature — and we wanna see the motherfucker on screen.
The topic of necrophilia has been regurgitated by so many brutal death-metal bands over the years that it almost feels played-out at this point. Slayer's version still holds up, though, and this song's lyrics read like a screenplay. The main character is a fiendish man who develops an insatiable lust to copulate a deceased woman. Little does he know, the filthy act ends up spawning an unholy offspring who's "hungry for the smell of death" and "rules forbidden evil." Oh shit, we've got a demon baby on our hands, and we need a filmmaker to pick up where Slayer left off so we can know what happens.