Vampire frontman ‘Hand of Doom’ reveals his top 5 influential horror classics
Pretty much any mediocre shock-rock act can douse themselves in stage blood, slip on a ‘scary’ mask or strap on a prosthetic claw or two in some vague and half-baked attempt at passing themselves off as a 'dark' or (worse still) 'edgy' musical collective. Indeed, the horror genre and its assorted wealth of sinister, richly atmospheric trappings has long served many a lacklustre band pretty well as far as masquerading a distinct lack of musical talent goes. But what of those rare artists for whom a love of horror is as ingrained and instinctive a part of their being as the very lifeblood coursing through their veins? With their own raggedly visceral trademark cacophony of classic death and thrash metal sourcing inspiration from an equally illustrious legacy of classic and contemporary horror cinema, Vampire frontman and genre buff Lars ‘Hand of Doom’ Willfors reveals five cult movies that proved instrumental in inspiring the Swedes’ delectably sinister sound.
THE MASK OF SATAN (1960)
The first one is an Italian film from 1960 called The Mask of Satan. It's not the original, which I believe was originally called The Demon Mask, or something like that. It's essentially a film in black and white about a woman who was burned at the stake and she has come back from beyond the grave to wreak havoc and execute vengeance on basically anyone in sight. It's one of those films that somehow feels more modern and it's actually surprisingly fresh despite being made in 1960. It's a bit a bit like when you watch Psycho and it's amazing that that film was made just a year after or basically at the same time as all those ridiculous movies from the 1950s, and Mask of Satan is a bit like that. I mean, the 50s were so kooky and ridiculous and then The Mask of Satan is pretty dark and also looks and feels really compelling. One song on our previous album, called ‘Midnight Trial’ is basically inspired by this film. It's one of many Vampire songs that deal with some kind of female, dark entity or some kind of feminine negative force. So that's basically why I decided to bring that up. It's like certain films are so well made that they sort of transcend the context that they were produced in and it just becomes this kind of instant classic. The lead actress’s name was Barbara Steele and I think most of the stuff she’s been in wasn't that great, but this is probably one of the best films she ever made.
JU-ON: THE GRUDGE
The next one on my list is a modern classic, much more well known, and it's Ju-On: The Grudge from 2002. I suppose that you must have seen at least one film in that series. So Ju-On was originally two films made for TV: Ju-On: The Curse, part 1 and Ju-On: The Curse, part 2. And then Ju-On: The Grudge is the first one made for the cinema. And then there are all sorts of sequels and remakes and whatnot coming after that one, but the one from 2002 I think is the best one. And the way it's structured is pretty interesting because the timeline doesn't just simply go from A to B to C. There are episodes that don't really make sense because they appear in a somewhat confusing order. It’s only when you see a couple of films that you start to see the greater pattern, or you can see what that scene at the beginning of that film really meant and who was she and who was he and how did they know each other and stuff like that. And that's pretty interesting. I mean, apart from that film also inspiring one song on our demo called ‘Under The Grudge’, the way those films work together is pretty interesting and inspiring. And that irregular sequencing can really alter the impact of a story in quite a major way. Because first there is confusion and then there's this sense of control and with control comes safety, but then you're lost all over again. So it's a bit of an on-and-off feeling of control when you watch those films, which is a pretty cool and sophisticated way of scaring the audience, to sort of have them lost in this labyrinth that is that story.
Another pretty interesting thing about those films is that they all revolve around this haunted house, essen