Tuesday, April 28, 2009


There is definitely no shortage of cinematic imagery in the genre of Heavy Metal. Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy are all present to some degree, and although Metal has borrowed liberally from the world of film, Hollywood has never really returned the favor. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of Metal concept albums out there, almost all of which are fertile ground for film adaptation.
Here are 5 of my suggestions for albums that would make AWESOME fucking movies. Each is paired with a director that would do the job right, along with some production tips and casting ideas. And to all you big Hollywood producers reading this, I'm not even asking for a cut of the profits. Lets just make it happen, OK?


Devin Townsend (right, pictured with Ziltoid puppet), visionary producer, guitarist, and driving force behind Strapping Young Lad and the aptly-named Devin Townsend Band, unleashed this magical tale of interplanetary warfare, time travel, and, uh, coffee on the insuspecting public back in June 2007. Sprinkled with heavy doses of corny humor throughout, Ziltoid tells the tale of an eponymously-named space tyrant scouring the universe in search of "the ultimate cup of coffee". It seems that coffee is the main element used in navigation of space and time, and when the citizens of Earth fail to provide a decent cup Ziltoid flies into a rage and attacks.
Luckily, the people of Earth have the heroic protagonist Captain Spectacular on their side, who leads them to safety in the vast reaches of space with Ziltoid hot on their heels.

This comedy/sci-fi crossover epic is tailor-made for veteran weirdo director Terry Gilliam (above). Gilliam has always had a fondness for puppets and unconventional special effects since the Monty Python days, and Ziltoid's story would definitely be safe in his hands. Casting Casper Van Dien as Captain Spectacular would up the film's star power, while allowing Townsend to voice the animated and/or puppet characters would retain its 'street cred'. This one has "Summer Blockbuster" written all over it.


On their third album, At War With Satan, Venom took a big chance. Rather than sticking to their tried-and-true method of pumping out highly-distorted, 3-minute songs about partying and Satan, Venom opened up the album with an epic, 20-minute long opus (titled "At War With Satan") detailing an assault on Heaven by the minions of Lucifer. The rest of the album more or less stays in line with the theme, with the remaining songs sticking to a basic "Venom rules and so does Satan" sort of concept. But the title track is the the one that deserves film treatment. Lucifer attacking the gates of Heaven, striking down Gabriel and the archangels in a literal orgy of blasphemous combat? Heck yeah, I'd watch that!

Due to his previous experience with Satanic/Hellish subject matter (see Rosemary's Baby or The Ninth Gate), I nominate Roman Polanski to direct At War With Satan. We'll cast Tim Curry as Lucifer (to save costs, he could even reuse his costume from Legend!) and use the cast of The Hills as the Heavenly denizens being slaughtered by his hand.
Hell, it could even be a musical! Dress up a bunch of dancers in demon costumes and have them perform choreographed routines to Venom songs! GOLD!

Added bonus: Check out the lyrics to the album's closing track, "Aaaarrrgggh!", here. Then, let your mind's eye run wild on the cinematic possibilities.


Helloween established themselves as Germany's finest Power Metal unit with the release of The Keeper of the Seven Keys in 1987. Telling a vague story of good vs. evil and of some sort of mystical quest to hide a bunch of keys from Satan to save mankind, it was followed up by Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 2 a year later. Part 2 presented more of the "Good is right, Evil is wrong" storyline, and Helloween even had the balls to round out the trilogy with a completely unneccessary Part 3 (entitled The Legacy) in 2005. Though it is sometimes bagged on for its psuedo-Christian imagery and values, the Seven Keys trilogy IS pretty goddamn epic, and a great candidate for Hollywood adaptation.

We'll put Peter Jackson (left) behind the camera on this one. Pete is no stranger to the "Fantasy-film-with-thinly-veiled-Christian-undertones" genre, and Helloween's powerful tale would find a strong proponent in both his vision and technical skill. Imagine it: An underdog hero on a quest to destroy an evil, talismanic ring -- I mean, set of keys, by casting it into a volcano -- I mean ocean. Completely unprecedented. Helloween has crafted a truly unique storyline here, the likes of which Hollywood has NEVER seen. Epic.


Although it wasn't technically a concept album, Mercyful Fate's 1983 album Melissa introduced us to the character of the same name, a witch who was burned at the stake by a Catholic priest. She pops up again on the 1984 album Don't Break The Oath on the song "Come To The Sabbath", in which a Satanic coven is performing a ritual to place a hex on said priest. Another character, named "Missy" but presumed to be the very same Melissa, plays a large part in King Diamond's solo album Them, while the actual Melissa returns on the 1993 Fate album In The Shadows, in a song titled "Is That You, Melissa?" (Melissa can be seen, above right, on the cover of the album).
So what's the deal?
King Diamond writes the "Melissa" story arc from a first-person point of view, implying that she is, indeed, his lost love, and that he is the one seeking to exact revenge on the priest who murdered her. He hints that he is still haunted by her spirit, and that her ghost is present whenever his Satanic coven convenes. Heavy shit.

Let's see... Witches? Catholic priests? Revenge fantasies and Satanic incantations?
Yeah, this one has Dario Argento written all over it. As he has proved in the past with Suspiria, Tenebre, Deep Red, and, well, just about every film he's ever been involved with, Argento is a master of the religious/occult Horror film, and should have no problem directing a flick like Melissa. King Diamond can star as himself, of course, opposite Blade-era Parker Posey as the title character.
Money in the bank.


As you should all know by now, Nocturnus' 1990 classic The Key tells the tale of some (unnamed) astronaut dudes who use "the key" to travel back in time to kill baby Jesus.
I guess I don't really need to explain much more than that.


We'll put Guillermo del Toro (right, of Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy fame) at the helm on this one. An all-star cast of time-travelling astronauts, including Crispin Glover, Danny Trejo, and Bruce Campbell should do the trick, casting-wise, along with a cameo by Nocturnus' own Mike Browning as Jesus! Brilliant!
The only problem is that Mr. del Toro is booked until at least 2017, co-directing The Hobbit with Peter Jackson, then working on a remake of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, then adapting Dan Simmons' upcoming novel The Drood (FUCK YEAH), followed by an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness (DOUBLE FUCK YEAH). But that's okay. We can wait.


During the course of my research for this post, I came accross a band called Manticora that recorded a whole concept album based on Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos (the best book series ever). Even though their music is pretty lame, I was inspired to find yet another band raising the bar on geekdom so profoundly. Check out these Danish nerds on Myspace here.


Anonymous said...

So close. I'm going to have to go with David Spade as King Diamond though.

Shelby Cobras said...

Visually, i agree. but i don't think spade could pull off the danish accent convincingly.