There is no lack of good movies in 2021—between theaters and streaming services, it often feels like there’s too much media to choose what to watch. The last few years alone have brought a number of high-profile heavy metal-themed films to the public eye, Lords of Chaos and The Sound of Metal to name just two.
Sometimes, though, you don’t want a”historical” reenactment of the Norwegian black metal scene or a serious examination of what deafness means to a musician. Sometimes you want the film equivalent to Obituary’s first two albums: brutal, bloody and insane. This (far from comprehensive) list, the product of wading through an ocean of low-budget trailers and Shudder originals, is for those sick horror freaks.
Mandy is the second film from director Panos Cosmatos and it is one of the more nonsensical movies in recent memory. Nicholas Cage plays one of his most-unhinged roles to date, plowing through an evil acid cult in an attempt to extract revenge for the murder of his girlfriend, Mandy. Cage wields an ax inspired by the “F” in the Celtic Frost logo and uses it to fight off undead bikers from Hell.
A struggling artist seeking inspiration, or a way out, ends up on a drug-fueled bender with a very metal soundtrack. Main character Dezzy finds her creativity in killing, which she does while swathed in bright colors and nightmarish psychedelia. More than any other movie on this list, Bliss is excessive just for the sake of being excessive, but that’s not a bad thing; it’s an exciting and quick watch.
Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
The oldest movie on this list, Slumber Party Massacre II takes the danger of heavy metal literally. It’s a pretty by-the-numbers slasher movie—complete with horny teenagers who disappear one by one—except that the killer wields a guitar that’s also a drill, which leads to some of the most ridiculous slasher movie murders.
Satanic Panic (2019)
A brilliant mix of violence and humor, Satanic Panic is a must-watch hidden gem. Pizza girl Sam delivers to a rich part of town, where she is stiffed on a large order. In an attempt to get a tip from the large gathering, she inadvertently becomes the virgin sacrifice for a satanic cult summoning Baphomet. What follows is her attempt to escape.
VFW keeps things pretty simple: a group of leather-clad punks/drug dealers chases an innocent bystander into a VFW hall, where the regulars are ready to go to war in retaliation. The movie is exactly what the trailer promises, so queue up a powerviolence album or seven and go to town.