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Book Review: HEAVY METAL MOVIES

Former head writer for the nudie site MR. SKIN, Mike “McBeardo” McPadden has stepped away from indexing every nude scene from every film ever made and dove head first into the high-speed, attitude driven world of Heavy Metal Cinema.  FROM THE BOOK’S WEBSITE: “Heavy metal and high-thrill cinema have been joined together like mutant twins since before Black Sabbath took the name of a chilling Italian horror film in 1970. The unadulterated journey of Heavy Metal Movies spans concert movies and trippy midnight flicks, inspirational depictions of ancient times and future apocalypses, and raw hand-held digital video obsessions. As brash, irreverent, and visceral as both the music and the movies themselves, Heavy Metal Movies is the ultimate guidebook to the complete molten musical cinema experience.”

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This book wasn’t written, it was forged…that’s how metal it is.  With over 666 movie recommendations ranging from the obvious choices like TRICK OR TREAT, THE ROAD WARRIOR, and HARD ROCK ZOMBIES, it covers movies you may not have realized were totally metal like GUMMO or SLEEPAWAY CAMP.  McBeardo did his homework with this book that I genuinely believe may have curb stomped anything that would have come close in order to take the title of “definitive” list.  The book opens with an introduction from the author only to be followed by personal stories from one of the masters of heavy metal movies, Alice Cooper, discussing his early film roles and experiences.  Once we’re out of the formalities and into the actual list, it’s like being dropped into a speed metal labyrinth and praying that you make it out alive.  McBeardo covers every single subgenre you could imagine from horror, sci-fi, animation, documentary, concert movies, dystopian action films, musicals, and everything in between.  While there were staples featured (like HEAVY METAL, duh) this is a book that was constantly challenging my cinema knowledge and delivering suggestions I never even knew existed.  It was refreshing to see something like Lucky McKee’s MAY featured only a few pages after THE LIVING DEAD GIRL.  McBeardo clearly knows that the world of Heavy Metal is far more than leather vests and grizzly men, which allows this book to be surprisingly inclusive.

Despite featuring films we’d assume to be rough and tumble, this book at times is side splitting while remaining incredibly informative.  McBeardo holds absolutely nothing back with this book and talks about some of cinema’s most well known gut busters, but digs up those dirty little VHS films we never publicly admit to have seen.  Perhaps what is most intriguing, is that McBeardo calls it like it is with all of these films, regardless of acclaim or distaste.  For example, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is featured even though the film sucks on ice.  McBeardo writes “the entire film is a punch line in search of a premise; a six-legged exercise in faux-outrageousness, utterly safe for consumption.”  Later on he goes on to describe the Satanic comedy LITTLE NICKY by saying, “The damnation of this situation is that Little Nicky sucks cock in hell.”  The brutal honestly that McBeardo expresses for some of these films is what skyrockets this book to the next level.  He’s not afraid to talk about the taboo subjects of satanism, rape, snuff, or the video nasties.  His dedication to every film that belongs in the heavy metal canon (quality be damned) is to be applauded, and I’ll always recommend a book that supports I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE but calls the remake worthless.  There times where McBeardo gushes about movies the way a pre-pubescant boy describes his first babysitter and there isn’t a single addition that isn’t written purely from the heart.  Luckily for us, McBeardo has a heart of gold, fire, and brimstone.  The only way this book could be any more hard hitting, is if I took it and slapped you in the face with it. This divine sacrifice is carved up for your enjoyment as tribute to the rock ‘n roll filmmakers that inspired it.  I cannot recommend it enough.

  • mikebourkefan

    I will look for the book. interested to see the list