Heavy Metal at the Movies

deadline for submissions: 
August 31, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Gerd Bayer
contact email: 

Research on heavy metal has seen an impressive growth over the past decade. While the disciplinary background of metal scholars and the methods they employ testify to ever more diversity, few publications have focused specifically on the role played by film. This collection of essays sets out to bring together research on heavy metal and visual culture. In recent years, the number of films on metal has increased sub­stantially, indicating that this musical genre might be viewed in new ways by the non-fan public. The chapters in the pre­sent book will fall into two major sections: one group of essays will discuss fiction films (like Wayne’s World) that draw substan­tially on metal culture; the other will look at documentary films (like Some Kind of Monster) about metal music, bands, or individual musicians, a genre that has bene­fitted substantially from the economics of the digital turn in film production. Fur­ther chapters may address how transmedial band material makes use of concert videos, band interviews, or other footage that relates moving images to metal music and its culture.

The volume will contribute to a visual turn in metal studies by adding to the ex­isting re­search on sociological background, musicological analyses, and critical interpretation of band lyrics. Building on the tradition of band videos, metal film frequently also draws on a range of cinematic forms, ranging from mocku­mentary film (This Is Spinal Tap) to social documentaries (Death Metal Angola). Contributors will study the role of visual media in creating, perpetrating and even undermining popular perceptions of metal music and its culture. Seeing metal as a global phenomenon, this collection of essays will hopefully address filmic material not merely from Europe and North America but from a wider range of cultural backgrounds.

Possible topics for chapters could include (but are not limited to)

  • detailed and critical evaluations of key films
  • discussions of historical developments of metal cinema
  • formal analyses of cinematic strategies in particular sub-genres
  • evaluations of how metal cinema relates to fan culture
  • investigations of films by musicians and/or metal scholars
  • interpretations of the ethics and/or clichés involved in including metal in fiction films

Please submit a 400-word proposal and a short biographical sketch to Gerd Bayer (gerd.bayerATfau.de) by 31 August 2016. Full-length (ca. 6,000 words) chapters will be due by 31 January 2017.

Informal inquiries about potential films/topics are welcome!