METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett recently discussed his love of horror films with Neil Shukla, Paul Luis and Mark Hebert of the Toronto musical instrument superstore Cosmo Music. The five-part "Rockstars In Cars" interview can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow.
On the classic horror movies he'd most recommend:
Kirk: "The first 'Frankenstein' movie is incredible, and holds up even tho this day in terms of atmosphere and story and pure creepiness. The first 'Dracula' movie holds up in terms of story, and Bela Lugosi is the Count Dracula. His performance of Dracula, there's nothing that ever topped it. There's people who have played Dracula since Lugosi and do a really, really great job, but Bela Lugosi will always be the guy... I would also say 'The Mummy'. That movie, it's great. It has a subplot of reincarnation and another subplot of romance. I can do without the romance part... [Boris] Karloff's portrayal of Imhotep, the reincarnated version of the mummy, is so evil and so creepy. It's amazing."
On whether he'd ever want to direct or produce a horror film:
Kirk: "Absolutely. I've just got to get my shit together. I have to prioritize, and at this time, music means so much to me and is an obvious strength for me. But I think I could make a really incredible horror film. One, I need to find the time. Two, I need to find someone else's money. I already have the soundtrack, so part of the work is already done. [Scoring it] would be a huge pleasure for me. I've just got to get it together and find a script and start doing all the groundwork — and that's a lot of work. Ask Slash; ask Rob Zombie... If I decided to remake a film, I would not water it down like so many other people do these days. The new 'Pet Sematary' is so watered down; the 'Evil Dead' remake was so watered down."
On how horror influences his writing:
Kirk: "It's real general. I wish I could say that this movie is responsible for this song or this riff or whatever, but seeing these movies engulfed me in an overall emotion that's the same sort of emotion I get when I'm playing my guitar and I'm composing. I'm just a product of minor-scale darkness, so when I write music, some of it sounds like the stuff of nightmares. I write a lot of atmospheric stuff; I write a lot of stuff that could be in soundtracks and stored away just in case I need to use it for a soundtrack sometime. I have tons of music that I'm just setting aside for soundtracks. It is the thing of nightmares. It comes out of a really deep black hole in my soul, and I'm totally fine with it, because it gives me comfort. I like flatted fifths; I like minor scales, diminished scales, augmented scales; I like minor sevenths and sixths and ninths. I get tired of playing power chords and open chords. I'm all about suspensions. I think it's a better mirror of my life and how I am inside. I went on an experiment one time to try to write something happy without being obviously happy, and it just didn't happen. I listened to it, and even though it was in a major key, it still sounded somewhat sorrowful. There's still tension to it. I really, really tried to write something uplifting, like how Bach can uplift someone... I can't do that. It all sounds like the end of the world."
An exhibit of a number of Hammett's vintage horror film posters, "It's Alive!: Classic Horror And Sci-Fi Art From The Kirk Hammett Collection", is currently on display at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum.