6 Great Punk Rock Horror Movies

Of a devastating character piece Sid and Nancy to a revealing documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, the rebellious world of punk rock has invaded cinema for decades. After a notable peak in the mid-1980s, the subculture has woven itself into several film genres over the decades.


A punk genre has had an interesting relationship with horror. While metal often steals the show in horror due to its frequent use of satanic themes and a gothic aesthetic, the marriage of punk and horror on screen often results in something that no other film could not offer. The following movies are great examples of punks fighting for their lives, so they can start fighting the system again.

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‘Green Room’ (2015)

While on the road to the DIY music scene, a punk band is forced to perform at a sleazy bar run by even sleazy people. Before leaving when their set is over, the band witnesses a murder, setting the stage for an all-night standoff between them and the neo-Nazis running the place.

Jeremy SaulnierMidnight’s modern masterpiece is a throwback to ’80s punk horror, as well as a commentary on the risks bands are willing to take just to commit to their specific ideology and lifestyle. . After a suspenseful crescendo in the first two acts, viewers are treated to a crowd-pleasing finale that plays like a mosh-worthy punk rock encore.

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“Return of the Living Dead” (1985)

After three warehouse workers accidentally release poisonous gas as part of a government experiment, the gas begins to turn unsuspecting victims into zombies. Meanwhile, a group of punks are caught up in the fallout from the incident.

In many ways, Return of the Living Dead feels like two unrelated movies cut together. The punk subplot feels almost redundant, but the style, soundtrack, and gory gags used in these segments give the film an edge that sets it apart in the oversaturated zombie subgenre. Although he is far from reinventing the wheel, the director Dan O’Bannon and company know how to take the wheel for a ride in this cult classic worth revisiting.

‘Uncle Peckerhead’ (2020)

Up-and-coming punk band Duh quit their jobs to take their band on the road in hopes of becoming a scene legend. When circumstances leave them without a van, their search for a replacement leads them to a man named Peckerhead (David Littleton), who offers to drive them around in his van as an acting roadie. The tour starts off smooth, until “Peck” is revealed to have a bizarre secret that looms as the sun sets.

by Matthew John Lawrence Uncle Peckerhead employs the same rambling energy in its filmmaking that can be felt from a thunderous punk song, making good use of its modest budget and resources. Similar to green room, although taking a much more comedic approach, the film explores the tricky situations new bands must navigate to “make it big”. Crafted with a clear love for punk and horror, not to mention a killer soundtrack by one of its stars, Jeff Riddle, Uncle Peckerhead is a rare film that reaches out to the modern punk community, embracing them with open (and blood-soaked) arms.

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‘Wild Zero’ (1999)

On a fateful night, a meteorite lands in the Japanese city of Asahi, stalking it with the threat of zombies and alien spaceships. What these alien invaders don’t anticipate, however, is a power rock trio named Guitar Wolf, who possess the special abilities to stop them.

Released in the midst of one of the many waves of extreme Japanese cinema, wild zero is a gonzo ode to late ’90s horror, punk rock and CGI. Even the weaker elements work in perfect harmony with the rest of the film to forge an infectious B-movie energy, the film following its own logic and its own rules throughout. If magic guitar picks and exploding zombie heads sound like a good time, then wild zero is the punk/horror/alien epic for you.

“The Ranger” (2018)

The punk rocker Chelsea (Chloe Levine) runs away with her outlaw friends and takes refuge in a cabin as she runs from the law. The only thing standing in their way is an unhinged ranger (Jeremy Holm) who wants Chelsea to get caught, who will stop at nothing to accomplish his mission.

A no-frills storytelling exercise, the forest ranger is refreshingly simple in its plot flow, yet provides just enough substance before the breezy execution reaches its climax. Levine steals the show as the only sympathetic punk in the core group, a choice that seems entirely intentional, in order to show the line between a rebellious lifestyle and an outright destructive one. Set entirely in a stylized world that looks like it’s pulled straight from an 80s classic, the forest ranger embrace its influences, and work all the better for it.

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“Nomads” (1986)

Dr. Lin (Leslie Anne Down) brings back memories of the last week of French philanthropist Jean Charles Pommier (Pierce Brosnan) life when she treats him in the emergency room. She learns that Pommier and his wife were harassed by a group of street punks, whom he was going to investigate, eventually suspecting them of being evil spirits.

This bizarre, hallucinatory psychological thriller draws primarily on nothing but punk aesthetics, but it’s a look deftly armed to instill a sense of danger throughout the film. Unlike most punk horror movies, the punks in this movie are the bad guys, acting like a legion of hive-mind ghouls. Quirky French accents and thematic overload aside, Nomads remains a spooky and atmospheric gem for anyone looking for a subversion of the punk-horror mix.

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Diana J. Carleton