Amazon is getting pretty good at recommendations these days, isn’t it?
Browse for heavy metal music on there as often as I do, and eventually you’ll see the “Recommended For You” page becoming scarily accurate. In addition to a plethora of other heavy metal releases, it was also recommending classic cult horror movies like Jacob’s Ladder, The Shining, Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead and others.
That’s a smart move by them, because horror movies and heavy metal go hand in hand. If there was ever a holiday tailor-made for metalheads, it’s Halloween. Horror is the most common area of interest among metalheads, alongside the music itself and our love of drink. All three of these great passions come together in my favorite season, autumn, and my favorite holiday, Halloween.
Like metal, the horror genre has had its moments of big mainstream success, but is largely a cult/underground pastime these days. Like metal, it’s attracted controversy and been the subject of censorship campaigns and bans (like on the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” still banned in some countries even today).
And then of course, there’s booze. If there’s a drug of choice in heavy metal music it’s alcohol–usually beer, if shows are any indication.
To me, Halloween is the perfect time to partake of all 3 of these pastimes in unison.
Sure, metal is appropriate and beautiful in any season. Spring and summer evoke images of the carnival atmosphere of the great open-air festivals, with their gargantuan international crowds and honorable bands. Winter, of course, is considered prime time for black metal, caustic and cold, and long crushing epics and soundscapes. Fall though, tops the other seasons. The temperature dips into the 50s. It’s leather jacket weather. It’s Oktoberfest weather, for visits to biergartens and corn mazes, apple orchards and pumpkin patches. It’s weather for the first stouts and porters of the season, and the heavier IPAs with their double-digit, wine-strength ABVs.
It’s weather for hearing the rustle of dry leaves and “Fear of the Dark.”
A full moon, bare scraggly trees, and “On A Wicked Night.”
The smell of smoke, ale, salt and “The Flames of the End.”
Taken together, it all gives you a sense of something beyond the physical and the material. And this sense stokes the inner spirit. Perhaps it’s because our fears are part of what makes us human. The targets of our terror speak to who we are. We’d be missing out on this if we ignore these fears. And so, for one day out of the year at least, we choose to embrace them. We reach for the book of Lovecraft and Poe stories, dim the lights for a horror movie of our choice, or listen to a metal song about a serial killer.
Man has a noble, beautiful and selfless side, and man has a hateful and evil side. One side shouldn’t be ignored to the exclusion of the other. Being aware of our capacity for fear and terror on a personal level contributes to this self-knowledge and makes you a more complete person.
In metal, on Halloween, and on all the other days of the year, may you be complete as well. Happy Halloween from Head of Metal!
Written by Matt P