Heavy metal and horror pair together as well as peanut butter and jelly. It makes sense that the two would find and complement each other, both outcasts of their mediums. They’re a match made in hell. At least according to Satanic Panic, where many fearfully connected heavy metal to Satanism. Heavy metal horror feels natural, with a high-energy spirit and showmanship.
This week’s streaming picks belong to heavy metal horror movies that bring the fun, demonic attitude, and mayhem. Throw up some devil horns, and headbang your way through.
Here’s where you can stream them…
We Summon the Darkness – Netflix
Sometimes all you need to make a film worthwhile is one no-holds-barred performance by a lead. We Summon the Darkness has two with Alexandra Daddario and Maddie Hasson. As for the plot, this irreverent, ’80s-set horror comedy sees a trio of friends invite a trio of guys they met at a heavy metal concert to their country home for an after-party. With the area plagued by Satanically inspired murders, the after-party turns into a fight for survival. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does offer a highly entertaining horror-comedy in large part due to Daddario and Hasson having a ball with their characters. Heavy metal here is used as a deadly lure.
Vicious Lips – Epix, Prime Video, Tubi
Vicious Lips, more new wave rock in sound than heavy metal, is a pure schlockfest set in outer space. When the lead singer for an intergalactic hair band dies, their sleazy manager plucks new frontwoman Judy Jetson (Dru-Anne Perry) from a talent show. The remaining band members barely have time to vocalize their distaste when they’re jetting across the galaxy to reach a breakout gig in time. Their intergalactic road trip gets derailed, marooning them on a desert island with a stowaway beast. It’s a campy and narrative mess of a movie produced by Charles Band. But it does offer some genuinely catchy earworm tunes and some cool creature effects by notable talents like John Carl Buechler, Everett Burrell, and Greg Cannom. Sometimes the most charming cult movies are incoherent messes with heart.
Lords of Chaos – Hulu, Kanopy
Jonas Akerlund’s Lords of Chaos is based on the true story of a Norwegian black metal band that fully embraced the Satanic Panic era by creating publicity stunts to put them on the map. The lines between showmanship and reality blur, leading to devastating consequences. That means that this heavy metal feature is more biopic and true crime than outright horror, but the horror permeates throughout- especially when it comes to the gore and bloodletting. Lords of Chaos gets dark and features one of the most brutally intense suicides ever committed to celluloid. While the music takes a bit of a back seat to the tragedy, it doesn’t get much more metal than a heavy metal feature directed by a former drummer of Bathory.
The Gate – Plex, Roku, Tubi, Vudu
For the burgeoning metalhead, this is the best intro horror movie. Two twelve-year-old friends accidentally open a gate to hell in their backyard, unleashing demons, when they play a cursed LP by the band Sacrifix backward. Young metalhead Terry (Louis Tripp) and hero Glen (Stephen Dorff) are excellent leads, and the practical effects are great. Intense sequences and some light gore, including a character getting stabbed in the eye and hand, means that it might be a bit too scary for the very young. Still, it’s a solid gateway for many thanks to its horror variety and creatures. There’s a reason this remains a favorite in the genre.
The Devil’s Candy – AMC+, Hulu
Often, metal is synonymous with Satanism in horror. Sean Byrne’s long-awaited follow-up to The Loved Ones refreshingly makes metal the vital tool against the demonic forces threatening to tear the Hellman family apart. The rural country home at the center of the film also happens to be home to a Satanic presence. The opening scene sees Ray Smilie (Pruitt Taylor Vince) playing his Flying V in front of a crucifix, trying to block out the voice of “Him.” That same voice seeks to possess and control Hellman patriarch Jesse (Ethan Embry) after the family moves to the same house years later. It’s his love of his family and his bond with his daughter over their shared passion for metal that might keep “Him” at bay. With a banging soundtrack that includes bands like Ghost, Slayer, Machine Head, and metal references throughout, this one is a can’t miss for metalheads.