Cinema Fix: Metalhead (2013) is A Tale Of Heavy Metal Catharsis
We love our metal here at Metal Injection… but we dig movies too! Welcome to Cinema Fix, a movie guide tailored for the metal faithful. Sit back and relax after a long week of work and/or blast beats and enjoy one of our prestigious film selections. This week's pick is:
A grim and dramatic coming of age / black metal origin story
In rural, 1980’s Iceland, a young girl named Hera has her idealistic youth torn from her when her older brother dies in a tragic accident. His loss is a crippling blow to their family, consuming Hera and her parents with grief and misery. While mourning, Hera decides to keep her brother’s spirit alive by picking up his guitar and immersing herself in his love of the burgeoning heavy metal underworld. Years pass and Hera has grown into a troubled adult. She’s headstrong, antisocial and completely alienated from her family and community…she’s a metalhead. Hera turns to metal to help cope with her anguish, be it classic NWOBHM tunes for guidance or her own, darker original music; a potent DIY form of black metal, that eventually helps this tortured young woman through the darkest period of her life.
Why it’s metal:
Despite the title [and corpse paint adorned poster], Metalhead is actually a film about people dealing with loss and overcoming grief. That being said, it's still a movie that revolves around a metalhead central character, crafted by metalheads. Director Ragnar Bragason has been in the game since he was eleven and snagged his first copy of The Number of The Beast, just as the film’s music director Pétur Ben, paid his dues slogging it out in early 90’s death metal bands before making the jump to composing. That leaves us with Miss Hera herself. Played by newcomer Thora Bjorg Helga, Bragason required his leading lady learn guitar and actually sing in the film, adding another layer of authenticity to what is surely the most legit cinematic take of the genre ever brought to screen. There’s also the rocking soundtrack, featuring bangers from Judas Priest, Savatage, Megadeth and more; plus Hera’s own DIY, Icelandic take on True Norwegian Black Metal. She also drinks, is prone to violence, and has sex with Dave Mustaine crooning in the background…plus there's this whole church burning thing she’s involved in. You know, metal stuff.
"Svarthamar"- Pétur Ben
Hera's original tune from the film. It's hypnotic and beautiful and totally metal. Her demo version is pretty raw and barnyard kvlt for those who favor a heavier approach.