The screenwriters have always cheerfully exploited social anxieties to raise the tension in horror films. The Zombie Apocalypse of 1968 by George A. Romero, night of the living dead, drew famous parallels with the racism and violent social unrest of the time, for example. But before and since, dozens of horror films have demonstrated that the greatest cultural fears of an era can inspire good bloody movies. Across the United States in the 80sthe talk show hosts, tabloids, televangelists, and self-proclaimed moralists of the day declared all-out war against what they perceived to be an imminent threat to American decency: heavy metal.

Metal certainly wasn’t the only bogeyman of the 80s, but it was by far the most engrossing, with an army of lustful, painted, and highly sexualized musicians pumped relentlessly into homes around the world (thanks, MTV !). groups like Motley CruePoison, WASP, skidrow and others did little to downplay the condemnations, elevating their “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” ethos to heroic new levels. Baseless rumors of Satanic cults committing human sacrifice and ritual sexual abuse have fueled the now debunked phenomenon known as Satanic Panic, with metalheads accused of being the Dark Lord’s most committed emissaries. In response, Senator Al Gore’s wife Tipper co-founded the Parental Music Resource Center (PMRC), which advocated aggressive censorship of metal and hip hop. Their efforts primarily included the arbitrary inclusion of parental warning labels on albums they deemed morally offensive.