Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Halloween, horror and heavy metal


So do all metal fans enjoy horror movies and Halloween? Perhaps not, but some do and a number of bands have had horror mixed in with their lyrics, themes and stage shows over the years. Halloween always lent itself well to metal as well with a number of bands playing show on Halloween or recording songs about it. A whole book could possibly be written about this topic, but I don't really have time for that so here is a really brief overview of part of the topic at least.
Horror in metal has been around almost as long as metal itself. Black Sabbath have horror elements in their lyrics and album covers since they began in the early 70's. Alice Cooper was using horror elements in early songs like "The Ballad of Dwight Frye and "I love the dead". Of course he incorporated even more horrific elements into stage show as the 70's went on. Blood, pythons and the guillotine became fixtures of his stage show.
KISS were a bit more glitter and glam, but hey Gene Simmons spit blood and he sure tried to look scary. Plus dressing as KISS soon became a Halloween costume favorite.

The 1980's saw more horror elements in lyrics here and there. Iron Maiden of course had a monster as their mascot. They had some horror lyrics here and there too. Other acts like Grim Reaper, Hallow's Eve, Halloween, Impaler and lots of others drew on horror influences as well to varying degrees. WASP started out very much relying on stage theatrics like skulls, blood and the rack. Blackie Lawless wearing chaps and letting his butt hang out was terrifying as well, but I guess that wasn't his original intention.


Mercyful Fate were using some stage theatrics and talking about some dark topics. They soon split and King Diamond went solo. He also begin churning more horror tinged lyrics often in the concept album format. Okay, some of his albums came across as having the same themes as some cheesey horror movies. He also took to increasing the use of props and stage theatrics as well. Many of these bands broke up, dropped or decreased the use of horror elements.


Horror movies were huge throughout much of the 80's and metal musicians such as Ozzy, Alice Cooper and Gene Simmons even found their way into parts in horror films.

Of course many other bands grew up seeing and hearing the above bands so they drew some influence from them as well. So it's no surprise that some metal fans like myself and other get very excited when Halloween rolls around because there is something about the holiday that lends itself to metal.

***What are some of your favorite metal albums to listen to around Halloween?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice write-up. personally i never got into halloween although i adore horror movies and of course metal. as a kid i only went trick or treating a few times by choice. the whole going door to door and asking for candy thing just never registered. the few times i did go, however, i went as someone from KISS (never Peter!) or alice cooper. otherwise i just stayed home and watched tv or listened to music.

in my adult years i've only dressed up a few times. i do enjoy seeing the creativity in people's costuming, just as long as i'm not wearing it.

5:28 PM  
Blogger DPTH International said...

I have never been really into horror movies, but I do enjoy Halloween. For last several years, I've been helping my buddie set-up a Halloween Haunt on his lawn and scare kids.

(My profile picture is actually a midget butler animatronic that holds a candy bowl.)

I do love horror themed metal, with Deceased's "Supernatural Addiction" as one of my favourites.

Nice post, Mark.

10:07 AM  

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