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Director Mike Schiff Talks New Documentary ‘The History of Metal and Horror’

Director Mike Schiff Talks New Documentary ‘The History of Metal and Horror’: filmmaker discusses upcoming doc featuring interviews with genre heavyweights.

If you’re into heavy metal and horror music, odds are you’re aware of the upcoming documentary The History of Metal and Horror…and for those who aren’t, listen up: the film will cover why heavy music and horror imagery cross-pollinate so well.


Director Mike Schiff has amassed an amazing array of interviews from horror and metal luminaries, including the likes of Alice Cooper, John Carpenter, Kirk Hammett, Kane Hodder, Dave Mustaine, Bill Moseley, Corey Taylor, Sid Haig, Phil Anselmo and Richard Christie to name but a few.

While we patiently await what looks to be an amazing film, I recently spoke to Schiff regarding the status update of the film, what supporters can do to help, and what fans can expect from the finished product in the Q&A below.

SLIS: So I just checked out your latest trailer–and I’m super pumped to watch this film. Tell me about when you had the initial inspiration to make this movie and why the subject appeals to you so much?

MS: I’ve been a huge fan of both metal and horror for many years. I’ve wanted to make horror films since I was 15 years old. I’ve had the privilege of helping out Kirk Hammett with his Fear Fest Evil conventions these past few years, and that’s when the real inspiration for this documentary happened. These conventions were all about bringing metal and horror together so I felt it was the right time to make a documentary that explores why the two genres go hand in hand.

SLIS: I noticed you interviewed Phil Anselmo–I had a chance to speak to him around the début of his Housecore Horror fest and I asked him about why metal and horror work so well together–he said that he thought a lot of metal vocalists were inspired by films about possession and the imagery of horror films really influenced metal fashion. Why do you think the two go hand in hand so well?

MS: I think there’s a common fascination with all things dark and aggressive. There is a certain rush that we get when we watch horror and listen to metal. By indulging in them, many of us are able to release stress and let out our own inner demons.

SLIS: You have done a TON of interviews for this film–how long has the doc been in production and do you have any personal favorite interviewees? And do you have any more in mind before the film gets released?

MS: The doc has been in production for two years now. The long production time mostly has to do with budgetary restraints and scheduling challenges with the subjects. I have a few more artists in mind and we’re still working on them. It’s hard to say which ones are my favorites. Every single person we interviewed was awesome. Alice Cooper gave us all the time we needed, Dave Mustaine welcomed us into his home like friends, Corey Taylor pushed back other interviews to sit down with us, and so on and so on. They’re all truly amazing people.

SLIS: My favorite director is John Carpenter. I love how down to earth and outspoken he is in interviews. What was it like meeting him in person?

MS: I was a camera operator and editor for two of his latest music videos, Distant Dream and Escape From New York. He was very easy to work with and was open to all kinds of ideas. It was pretty incredible being directed by a horror legend. He’s very much to-the-point and wastes no time. He later granted us an interview which will be a great addition to the doc.

SLIS: When I spoke to Charred Walls of the Damned’s Richard Christy he was very excited about your film–you mentioned you both worked on the Howard Stern show together. Was he integral to the creative process at all, or did you just approach him after the fact?

MS: Richard has been one of my closest friends for years. We had worked on various Halloween programs and I made two videos for his band, Charred Walls of the Damned. I knew he’d be a great addition to the doc as well, but I did approach him after the doc was in production.

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SLIS: So where are you at this point in the crowdfunding campaign–and do you have an idea of a general release date yet?

MS: I don’t have a release date set at the moment. We still have a few interviews to get and I have a ton of editing to do. Since this is a passion project of mine, I’m working with the time and resources that I have available. The crowdfunding campaigns have definitely helped keep things moving.

SLIS: Anything else you’d like to add for those looking to donate or get more info on the project?

MS: Most people just wanna know when the doc will be available to see and don’t think about all that goes into the making of it. Over 3,000 people like us on Facebook, so if every one just gave $10, the doc would be fully funded and be made available much sooner. It’s tough getting people to donate, but every dollar helps. Anyone interested in the doc and making it happen should go to for more info and the link to the donation page.

SLIS: Thanks to Mike for taking the time out for this interview. To keep track on the status of The History of Metal and Horror click here for the film’s official website, and click here for Indiegogo crowdfunding info.

About SLIS

Middle Aged Gen-Exer obsessed with Alternative rock, metal, cult movies, comic books and cable TV.

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