By: Kristof G.
We all know that heavy metal and horror go well together. This release basically sums up Anthrax main man Scott Ian’s everlasting homage to Stephen King. It all started with the Among the Living album, from which both the title track and cover art were inspired by the novel The Stand. Last year, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of what is arguably their best album, the band did a special tour, where they played two killer sets: a first one with hits and new songs (including Breathing Lightning, written after The Dark Tower novel series), followed by the whole aforementioned album, along with their famous Trust cover Antisocial for dessert.
The 2-disc set includes an ‘oidivnikufesin’ – nice fuckin’ video in Anthrax gibberish – recording of the Scotland concert (a big stage show in a beautiful venue: Barrowland in Glasgow), a 35-minute-long documentary, as well as a gear-oriented one. The former is essentially a nice, clean behind the scenes look at the 2017 European Among the Kings tour (don’t expect too much partying, they are not kids anymore, they bring their own along now!), while the latter is mostly for the musicians out there. The cherry on top? The fantastic embossed packaging, which riffs on KISS’ Rock and Roll Over. It comes with a sticker of the cover art too. Essential for any Anthrax fan (Buy that shit or die! Among! Among! Among!).
It is common knowledge that, in the early-eighties, Anthrax started the thrash metal sub-genre with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. Scott Ian is not only the band’s rhythm guitarist and back vocalist, he is also its founder (he started both Anthrax and crossover project S.O.D. with high school friend Dan Lilker eons ago) and main lyricist. And he is one of us, a monster kid who grew up as a NYC rocker, to become the comics über-fan and hardcore horror hound he is today.
You may also know the Stephen King disciple (Among the Living, anyone?) played a zombie in The Walking Dead, helped the mighty John Carpenter score a film (Ghosts of Mars, along with Anthrax, Steve Vai and Buckethead), hosted his own horror SFX web series (Blood and Guts and Bloodworks, where he got graphically killed many times and transformed in all sorts of creatures) and even composed a S.O.D. song called Freddy Krueger, fer crissake.
Last May, during Slayer’s farewell tour (that included Anthrax, Testament, Lamb of God and Behemoth), Rue Morgue got to sit down with Ian for a little horror fan chat and to torture him with the ‘favourites’ game… in Slayer’s rehearsal room from all places.
Favourite slashers killer?
It’s hard… it’s either Michael Myers, from the first Halloween, and Freddy Krueger, from the first A Nightmare on Elm Street. Those are my two favourites, for two different reasons. Micheal Myers is this malevolent, physical creature that you don’t even really know anything about other than he’s just fuckin’ killing people. And you can’t stop him, you don’t know why, and, obviously, he has some supernatural powers. So, as a kid [he was 14 when it came out], seeing that movie, it was very intense, and I fuckin’ loved it. And then, Freddy Krueger, in a similar way, is also an unstoppable kind of force, with supernatural abilities. But, add in a very sarcastic and wry sense of humour to what is essentially a zombie pedophile: a guy who was raping kids in a boiler room and [who] is now back murdering kids in their dreams. Yet, Wes Craven was able to make you love the character, which was somebody you should really, really hate. So they did an amazing job – I have to say – writing that movie and creating that character. Much like Halloween, I felt the same way when it came out; it changed horror again, it kind of reinvented the genre a little bit. You’ve never seen a guy like Freddy Krueger before. That’s why, for me, those two would be my favourites. They are kind of at the opposite ends of the slashers spectrum in attitude, but they have the same feeling for me (laughs).
Favourite A Nightmare on Elm Street sequel?
They’re all kind of shitty. I’ll say number 3, just because we got to meet Patricia Arquette. She was an Anthrax fan, and she came to a bunch of shows in Los Angeles back in 1986 and 1987, and actually we became friends. So I’ll say Dream Warriors.
Favourite Stephen King movie adaptation?
For the sake of Rue Morgue being a horror mag, I’m gonna go with It, the new one. I thought it was fuckin’ brilliant. They captured his writing, which is something I find lacking in even some of the best King horror adaptations. They did a great job with Pennywise, the kids were amazing. But I think Shawshank [Redemption], overall, and probably Stand by Me, are the best movies ever made [from King’s works]. You know what still holds up? I’ve just watched again recently Salem’s Lot. It is still good, I mean the special effects are cheesy, because it was a TV movie back in, I think, 1979, but it’s still pretty good.
Favourite Stephen King book?
You’re killing me (laughs). Well, if I could pick the whole Dark Tower series as one thing, I would choose that. Next to that would be The Stand.
Favourite horror comic book?
Mmmmm… when I was a kid, the first ones that I read were probably the Marvel monster books, like Where Monsters Dwell, and Tales to Astonish. Things like that. But favourite horror comics? I guess I’m gonna go with The Walking Dead. When that first came out, it definitely changed that whole genre, for sure. It reinvented the zombie story. I can’t say that I stayed with it, I probably dropped off somewhere in the seventies [monthly issues]. But I’ll go with The Walking Dead. And the show, they just announced that Andrew Lincoln is leaving, which I think is really weird, why are they making this public knowledge, now everyone knows! It’s probably a leak. I’m gonna ask Greg [Nicotero, KNB EFX, whom Ian has been friends with for decades] about it. It would have been so much better if it remained a surprise… Although, I guess for the ratings of the show, it could be a good thing, because people are gonna be talking about it so much, ‘how are they gonna kill Rick?’ So, maybe they leaked it themselves (laughs).
Favourite horror film soundtrack?
Halloween, the first one. John Carpenter’s theme is the greatest. I love the fact that he went on tour playing his music. He’s fuckin’ amazing.
Scariest horror film ever?
John Carpenter’s The Thing is my favourite horror film of all times. But the scariest? I used to say Blue Velvet [Anthrax used a sample from the film in the I’m the Man’91 song]. Horror movies don’t scare me, per se. I don’t jump in the theatres. Monsters don’t scare me, slashers don’t scare me, torture porn movies don’t scare me. None of that scares me, because it’s not real. So, I love them, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t get scare. I get scare reading books. Horror books scare me. Movies don’t scare me. There is something about the translation from my brains to someone else creation. Blue Velvet to me… it was based in reality, it was so dark and dirty and creepy. Yeah, that was a scary movie, it felt so real to me. But then, even that, I watched it again recently and I wasn’t scared. I guess the world has gone so much darker in the last thirty years. But now, I had a child seven years ago. So, having a child changed a lot of things for me when I see movies now. Like I couldn’t go rewatch Pet Sematary now. And I know they’re remaking it, but I don’t know if I can see it. ☠