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Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005)

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An examination of the heavy metal music subculture that tries to explain why, despite the longevity and popularity of the genre, fans are marginalized and ridiculed for their passion.
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Araya ... Himself
Gavin Baddeley Gavin Baddeley ... Himself
Blasphemer Blasphemer ... Himself
Randy Blythe ... Himself
Joe Bottiglieri Joe Bottiglieri ... Himself
Eric Bryan Eric Bryan ... Himself
Jackie Chambers Jackie Chambers ... Herself
Monte Conner Monte Conner ... Himself
Alice Cooper ... Himself
Denis 'Piggy' D'Amour Denis 'Piggy' D'Amour ... Himself
Pamela Des Barres ... Herself
Bruce Dickinson ... Himself
Ronnie James Dio ... Himself
Malcolm Dome Malcolm Dome ... Himself
Rose Dyson Rose Dyson ... Herself
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Storyline

Sam Dunn is a 30-year old anthropologist who wrote his graduate thesis on the plight of Guatemalan refugees. Recenly he has decided to study the plight of a different culture, one he has been a part of since he was a 12-year old: the culture of heavy metal. Sam sets out on a global journey to find out why this music has been consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned and yet is loved so passionately by its millions of fans. Along the way, Sam explores metals' obsession with some of life's most provacative subjects - sexuality, religion, violence and death - and discovers some things about the culture that even he can't defend. Shot on location in the UK, Germany, Norway, Canada and the US, this documentary is the first of its kind. It is both a defense of a long-misunderstood art form and a window for the outsider into the spectacle that is heavy metal. Written by Scot McFadyen

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Film That Will Take You Into the Heart of the Beast.

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, violent images, some nudity and sexual content | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Metal - A Headbanger's Journey See more »

Filming Locations:

Canada

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 21 year sentence in Norway is called "life sentence", so the life sentence in Norway is 21 years. See more »

Goofs

Dunn also mentions the "Filthy 15", a list of artists with lyrics considered obscene in one of a number of ways. Sam mentions that, of the 15, 8 are metal bands- he has miscounted. Upon reviewing the list, Danish black metal band Mercyful Fate make the list but bump the count to 9 bands. They are also not highlighted like the other metal bands sharing spots on the list. See more »

Quotes

Dee Snider: I don't know how to explain it. I never questioned my sexuality at any point and I was up there in lingerie.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Microcosmic
Performed by Burn to Black
See more »

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User Reviews

 
a good subjective approach to the many strands and off-shoots of an under-looked genre of music
28 October 2006 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Actually, to say that heavy-metal music is just a genre of music is almost insulting in some circles. As someone who's too eclectic to really be solely a metal-head, but has been in the realm of the metal world to see how it goes, I can empathize with Sam Dunn's main intention with the documentary; this music should not be seen as just some goofy, crude, offensive, or dangerous off-shoot of old-time rock n roll (not that the last one doesn't apply in one or two cases). It's to show how personal this music, and how this 'way of life' can be for a person, and how it affects personality but not necessarily in the perceived negative light. Dunn, of course, has his head totally together, which is how he can go head-to-head with metal legends &/or notorious sorts like Tony Iommi, Bruce Dickinson, Lemmy, Alice Cooper, Dee Snider, Dio and Rob Zombie (Geddy Lee is also among the big known interviewees, though it's strange to see him here when he's not really 'metal', at least in league with these guys).

But through him and his collaborators, he is able to get inside not just the off-shoots and specifics of the world of heavy-metal. The look, the style, the attitude, the controversies both domestic (i.e. Dee Snider's battle with Tipper Gore) and foreign (a superlatively done look at the Norwegian black-metal scene, which is both tense and hilarious), the women bands in the world, and how it helps some people really get better on with life either to hear it or play it or, of course, both. Dunn's look is good if, by necessity perhaps too, too brief, as he at one point lists a kind of heavy-metal family tree of sorts- all too quickly to really see every single one- and barely scratches the surface in the 96 minute running time. Maybe there is only so much that can be covered in a feature-length film, but the subject matter serves to be even more looked into; VH1 had also done a heavy-metal documentary, and it lasted four hours. On the other hand, Dunn and his people actually do get some material here that is more precious, and more enlightening. The juxtaposition of the 'true believers' and horrors in Norways black-death-metal scene with a band like Slayer, who are bad to the bone and have fans who go toe limit, is interesting.

It's the kind of documentary that really does work for that it's worth, but not enough of a good thing is explored for fans. Non-fans may get just enough that they can handle, a mix of the basic facts and key points (i.e. the coining of the term 'metal', the roots in the blues, the devil horns, and a look at outrageous album covers). It's good subjective film-making, though edging a little much on trying to get enough history along with the personal history.


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