Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Books: HEAVY METAL MOVIES ""

Monday, June 30, 2014


Mike "McBeardo" McPadden is a kindred spirit to me. Like myself, he is a longtime fan and admirer of the great Danny Peary. He even went as far as dedicating his new book HEAVY METAL MOVIES to Mr. Peary. Mike's goal with this book is to identify and talk about movies that are directly and even tangentially related to heavy metal. He proposes that it's a "know it when you see it" kinda thing, but he also has lots of specific examples of why certain films are in the book. There are something like 850 entries here and it covers a wide range of flicks. It includes films that have heavy metal themes (heavy metal horror cinema like BLACK ROSES, ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE and SHOCK EM DEAD), movies that feature heavy metal bands in their soundtracks (or as actors in the films) and also films that have an iconographic place in the world of heavy metal music (CONAN THE BARBARIAN and the MAD MAX films for example). There's so much movie goodness packed into the book's 560 pages though that I can't possibly summarize it. This excerpt from the back cover gives some idea of what to expect:
"Exploding with way over 666 true headbanger classics-raging with disturbing documentaries, bulging barbarians, satanic shockers, spluttery slashers, post-nuke dystopias, carnivorous chunk-blowers, undead gut-munchers, midnight mind-benders, concert films, killer cameos-plus witches, werewolves, bikers, aliens, lesbian vampires, and vengeful vikings galore..."

Mike has mentioned being partially influenced to write this book by Zack Carlson & Bryan Connoly's amazing tome DESTROY ALL MOVIES from late 2010. The two books go quite well together. McPadden is clearly also taking cues from Danny Peary's GUIDE FOR THE FILM FANATIC a bit as far as structure and layout goes. Being that GUIDE is basically my favorite book of all-time, it's hard for me not to admire what he's doing. One neat thing thing that Mike does is to put a little star and a key word above each film entry. Things like *ALIEN, *ZOMBIES, *SATANIC PANIC, *DEMONIC POSSESSION, *MUTANT, *SWORDS & SORCERY and many others stand as qualifiers for what each of the movies has going on in it. Mike also makes some interesting choices in that he lists some very popular films in HMM. Things like WAYNE'S WORLD and some of Peter Jackson's more recent Tolkien adaptations find their way in here among tons of interesting and obscure oddities to boot. As I was reading through the book I've found myself constantly jotting down titles. GHOUL SCHOOL (1990), BAD NEWS TOUR (1983), CAPTAIN CLEGG (1962), HARD ROCK NIGHTMARE (1988), EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 (1988), DEAD GIRLS (1990) and DEATH RIDERS (1976) to name just a few. As I mentioned though, the book is a fun mix of these kind of oddballs as well as some tried and true cult favorites like OVER THE EDGE, THE GATE, THE OMEGA MAN and RIVER'S EDGE. It's really a mix of genre's too. Comedies, horror films, documentaries, and action movies intermingle freely with each other. I'd say the book leans with a slight majority to horror which is OK with me. I just respect the heck outta the fact that McPadden wrote all 85o entries himself. For better or for worse the book is in his voice, much the same way his Peary approached his books. Gotta love that. It's like this cool mashup of Psychotronic movies, Cult movies filtered through the sensibilities of Mike McPadden to create this glorious new thing that is uniquely its own hybrid testament to one man's maniacal movie mania.
There are a few extra things in the book besides the main section of film listings. The front of course features and introduction by McPadden and also a really fantastic interview with Alice Cooper recollecting his experiences on pretty much all of the films he's been in. Great stuff. At the back of the book, there are three appendicies. There are as follows: "The 66.6 Most Metal Moments in Movie History", "The Unfit Fifteen, Metal Moments in Non-Metal Movies" and " TV Casualties, Notable Headbanging on the Small Screen".
HEAVY METAL MOVIES really is a new film reference guide for the ages. One of those books that you'll want to keep handy and return to often. I just love that there's a new cool film reference book for folks to get excited about and put up on their bookshelf next to their Psychotronic Guides and Danny Peary books. It's very much a loving throwback to that kind of movie writing and I couldn't be more pleased that it's out there for folks to dig into and enjoy. In this day and age of digital media and ebooks, I still love the sensation of holding a hefty book in my hands and just flipping through it. Digital is great, but it doesn't allow for the same "what was that title that just caught my eye" kind of discovery process that comes from being able to flip the pages of a book. It's also neat because I'm hoping that it may turn some younger film viewers onto some awesome older films (which, after all, is what this here blog is all about).  I am sincerely hoping that it will ignite some passion for cinema in a new generation of film fans out there. In a time where the amount of films at our disposal at any given moment is growing at an ridiculous rate, it's always comforting to have guides like this to give folks ideas about what to check out.
Mike's affectionate dedication to Danny Peary.

Mike has done a few podcasts wherein he discusses the book and some of the movies in it. 
Here he is on the CinemaJaw podcast talking about the book and some of his favorite comedy sequels:
And here he is on The Projection Booth talking BLACK ROSES:

Mike also has a HEAVY METAL MOVIES Facebook page:
 and can be found on twitter @McBeardo.

HEAVY METAL MOVIES can be purchased here:

HEAVY METAL MOVIES on my bookshelf amidst some of my favorite film reference books.

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