The Modern Public Execution
So I’ve tallied and done some math. So far out of all the movies I’ve watched in October I’ve witnessed a body count of about 45, and that got me thinking. Music about horror is just a small part of the big picture. Bands that make horror a theme to their music often carry the theme to the stage with them where blood, violence, and anything all around demented are typical to follow.
For this gallery we’re presenting a collection of stills from concerts where horror was the guideline for the stage show.
The Horrors of Live Performances
Every band that has their own style, that’s a given. But I’ve got to start this off by going back to Gwar again. No band can rake up a body count like Gwar does. They’ve made mass murder a huge part of their stage show. Because the stage isn’t overly crowded enough with the giant suit-clad behemoths lumbering around and the “dancers” frolicking about they cart several dummies modeled after various political figures, actors, musicians, or anyone else that’s acquired enough public attention out onto the stage where they give a fancy speech and are promptly executed on the spot unleashing a firehose of blood all over the audience in a Gallagher type fashion… only cooler. Sometimes if the stage is big enough they’ll bring out Gor Gor the giant dinosaur to devour people and sometimes even the band.
In the case of King Diamond his live shows often follow the theme of the songs they’re playing or if they’re out promoting an album at the time. Often he’ll decorate the stage with set pieces depicting the setting from various albums from the common graveyard setting to sacrilegious mansions. Whilst Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead are shredding away with their guitar solos King Diamond is either using his bone-cross decorated microphone and/or fidgeting with plot devices mentioned in the stories like dolls or tea pots or even scooting around the stage in a wheelchair. Plus the use of makeup always does well to make people resemble the undead or some occult conjuration.
Rob Zombie’s stage shows are as blatantly influenced by the archaic horror sci-fi movies of the 50s through the 80s as it gets. When your stage performers include the Phantom Creeps robot that’s as blatantly influenced as it gets and arguably a much more entertaining use of the robot. With a frotnman who is an established horror buff and horror movie maker it’s a given that the stage show is going to share those same traits, and that’s gives Zombie’s live shows nightmare inducing.
Van Helsing’s Curse takes more of a light approach to King Diamond’s style. They’re decorated accordingly to the story of the music, but without the elaborate set designs. The musicians are all dressed to look like formal corpses that play musical instruments while Dee Snider and the choir singers all linger around in formation with a cultist presence.
Alice Cooper set the bar for horror in a live show. The use of makeup to resemble an undead appearance frequently is rooted back to him. He’s known for wearing straight jackets and hanging out in nooses to pass the time through shows. Oh and there’s his history of bringing snakes out on stage with him and he’s been known to impale a few people on stage with a bicycle like he had done during his cameo appearance in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.