Six horror movies behind Death’s Scream Bloody Gore album

12/09/2021 Articles Share

Scream Bloody Gore was a defining album for the death metal genre. It was released 34 years ago and it still sounds as dirty and rotten as when the thing was released. With this article we pay yet another tribute to the legendary Chuck Schuldiner of Death – the godfather of death metal (you can check out our exclusive tribute to Evil Chuck here!). Scream Bloody Gore was released on May 25th 1987 via Combat Records. The album contains 10 songs of pure death metal carnage. Death’s first album is actually the rawest and yet the most immature release of our beloved hero Chuck Schuldiner, both lyrics-wise and music-wise, which in turn has its ups and downs. But hell, at least it was done in a brutally honest way, no self-censorship or whatsoever.  Scream Bloody Gore is the actual testimony to the fact of how Chuck’s music and world view changed over the years (for the better). His partner in crime on this album was Chris Reifert of Autopsy on the drums. (You can check out our interview with Chris regarding Scream Bloody gore here!) And yes, Steve Di Giorgio was supposed to play bass on Scream Bloody Gore but that never happened since Steve didn’t want to leave Sadus in order to join Death. (Check out our interview with Steve Di Giorgio here!)

 Anyway, it is quite obvious that horror movies were an essential part of metal music and death metal in general. From Boris Carloff’s Black Sabbath, to The Exorcist (with Possessed’s song of the same name), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (later to be immortalized in Sodom’s The Saw is the Law), Deicide’s Dead by Dawn (influenced by the infamous movie The Evil Dead)…you name it. Horror movie blood, guts & skulls of the innocent left their mark all over heavy metal again and again. But there is really something about Death’s Scream Bloody Gore. There are at least 6 songs that we surely know were influenced by horror movies. 5 of 6 of these tracks are zombie movies. In one of the later interviews, Chuck stated that “Basically every song on that album was a gore flick”. But we would stick to the 6 songs that we know for a fact were influences for Scream Bloody Gore album.

 It is clear as day that young Chuck at the time was obsessed with blood & gore (hence the name Scream Bloody Gore) and with the sickest, nastiest stuff one may find in the world of B-horror. In 1986 Chuck said the following:

"Lyrics come to me from watching cool gore flicks or just from my mind. Especially when I'm fucked up! That's when I write good music also." (Metal Warriors 1986)

He also talked about the horror influence back in a 1987 interview:

“My lyrics are based more on the subject of death and real-life gore. I get a lot of ideas from seeing gore flicks. For example, "Torn To Pieces" is about the movie "Make Them Die Slowly", and "Scream Bloody Gore" is about "Re-animator" (Metal Forces 1987)

 In a 1993 interview for Holland’s Watt magazine, Chuck stated:

"Businessmen decide about your future, and they expect you to be a rock star 24 hours a day. Horrible. I love to keep as far away from that circus as possible and I believe in my life at home: movies, taking a walk, swimming and hanging in the marina. Wonderful!" (Watt 1993)

When asked about the song “Misanthrope” and his interest in extraterrestrials, Chuck answered:

“As a child I liked watching movies on this or similar themes“. He also mentioned some of his favorite movies : “From movies my favorite one is "The Wizard of Oz", and then animated movies, Scooby Doo.“ (Spark Magazine 1995) A godfather of death metal, Wizard of Oz and  Scooby Doo in one sentence? Who would have guessed!?

In one of the later interviews, the journalist asked Chuck Schuldiner whether he is still into horror movies. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the late 90s big budget horror films:

"A: The song "Regurgitated Guts" off the first album, was it inspired by the movie The Gates Of Hell?

C: Totally. Basically, every song on that album was a gore flick.

A: Are you still into horror and gore?

C: Ahh yeah, but there just isn't a lot of good movies coming out these days. I'm into the more traditional horror movies, like The Exorcist. Stuff like from that era. Stuff that came out in the 80's was killer. These days, I've kinda lost hope as far as bigger scary movies and all that. Everything is Hollywood now. Too computerized, I like traditional effects.

A: I saw The Gates Of Hell when I was extremely young and I got the first Death album when I was really young as well and hearing the lyrics to "Regurgitated Guts", the first line. My reaction to that scene in The Gates Of Hell was really bad when I was younger, and When I heard the lyrics I was really young and it kind of made my stomach queze, because I remember that scene of the people puking up the guts.

C: I guess we did something good then.

A: Yeah, the music has the effect.

C: There we go." (Unchain the Underground 1998)

Gene Hoglan also recalled Chuck’s love for horror movies:

"I know Chuck wrote super gory lyrics for 'Scream Bloody Gore.' He grew up on horror flicks, and that was considered heavy at the time. The new stuff, while being a bit more intelligent, is still scary to Chuck. He looks around and sees stuff that interest him or things in reality that scare him. After all, when you're 18, you say 'what can I say to shock people,' but now Chuck writes lyrics that make you think. Sometimes things in today's society are much scarier than horror”. (Vibrations of Doom 1995)

In an interview “How Evil is Chuck?” Schuldiner explained that he is getting away from horror movies on Leprosy album:

“Listening to the lyrics (as far as we can hear them) one could easy get the impression Chuck is a sick guy.....

CHUCK: "Hahahaha, I know there are people taking the lyrics way too seriously. On the first album I liked it because nobody was using this filthy stuff. The inspiration came from all the nasty horror movies: beautiful! But on "Leprosy" the lyrics are more serious and on the next they will get even more realistic. Now my ideas come from newspaper articles. The world is full of shit which is in our advantage." (Aardschok-Metal Hammer 1989)

The journalist also stated that Death’s horror approach influenced other metal bands, which is true to some extent.

Death’s Manager Eric Greif also mentioned Chuck Schuldiner’s love for horror movies:

“He started out striving for what everyone was striving for at the time – horror and gore and brutality,” says Eric. “He was a kid, he loved those kinds of things. But he eventually started to find the brutality in everyday life.” (Loudersound 2018)

Now that we got into the story behind Scream Bloody Gore, we will dissect 6 songs, PIECE BY PIECE! As Perry Greyson profoundly observes, Chuck’s lyrics on the debut album perfectly fit the surroundings of George Romero’s zombie saga or the horror movies of “Italian giallos" of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and Umberto Lenzi” (Perry Greyson 2002)

1) “Torn To Pieces”

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This song was inspired by 1981 Umberto Lenzi’s movie Make them Die Slowly (also known as Cannibal Ferox and Woman from the Deep) The movie deals with cannibalism. The film itself is full of nasty scenes of jungle animals killing each other and among the other things, people eating people. With one of the main protagonist’s goals was to get rich by taking Amazonian emeralds, he and his friends get in a sticky situation. Main protagonists are trying to find out whether cannibalism is a myth or not as they head toward the South American jungle.  Chuck also refers to this myth in a song:

Out to find the truth

Behind the myth of

Man eating man

Finding bodies tied

Up to a stake

This verse also depicts the torture of both Native and Western victims. Later the lyrics also depict a scene of boob cutting and forced castration(Mike was greedy bastard btw). The song also deals with native tribesmen munching human flesh. They even start eating Mike's brain. And as the last verse suggests, Westeners are trying to escape but only one of them gets alive as they all get TORN TO PIECES!

2) "Regurgitated Guts”

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This track was inspired by the 1980 Italian horror movie The Gates of Hell also known as City of the Living Dead, directed by Lucio Fulci. In this film, a priest who goes under the name of Father Thomas hangs himself in the Dunwitch cemetery. The village of Dunwitch was build upon the ruins of Salem. A girl called Mary ends up terrorized by zombies sent by the priest and then gets buried alive. She then talks about how according to her visions and the Book of Enoch, the world will be overrun by zombies. And for some reason, priest’s suicide opened the gates of hell and started the zombie apocalypse in the first place. Mary then gets a vision in which she sees the priest’s tomb. The first verse of “Regurgitated Guts” talks about priest who took his own life and outbreaks of maggots that can be seen in the movie: Suicidal preacher hangs himself

Unfaithful servant goes straight to hell

When he returns, your life will end

Down from the skies maggots descend

Priest’s ghost haunt its victims who then regurgitate their own guts:

Least expecting his horrible face

Your decayed guts you soon will taste

Unholy feeling grows deep inside

Choking on your guts you open wide

Then Chuck also refers how main protagonists are trying to lift the curse of the haunted priest and stop the zombie apocalypse.

3) "Beyond the Unholy Grave

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This one was inspired by 1981 Lucio Fulci’s movie called The Beyond. The plot is the following; In 1927, in a Louisiana hotel, one person was killed by a mob for practicing black magic. Then, a white eyed woman appears citing the pages of the Book of Eibon, foretelling that the seven gates of Hell will be opened. Then, the plot shifts to the 80s. One day a plumber comes to the hotel to fix the water shortage and then gets attacked by a zombie. A blind woman  warns that the hotel shouldn’t be reopened. Plot twist: hotel is built on one of the seven gates of hell. Then all the action revolves around the finding of the Book of Eibon and the zombie apocalypse.

4) "Zombie Ritual

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By far one of the best songs and one of the best movies in this article. That melodic riff is iconic to say the least! This song was inspired by the 1979 film Zombi 2 by Lucio Fulci. The plot is the following; a Carribean island is struck by misterious disease that kills people and turns them into (who would have thought!?) zombies. One doctor goes to the island to help the people. He assures them that voodoo magic is a superstition and that science will come to save the day. And oh boy, was he wrong. He tried all of his bacteriological, chemical and even radiological methods but he failed. Zombies start killing the islanders as you can hear voodoo drums and chants in the background. The people try to fight the zombies inside the hospital. The zombie plague even starts raging in the New York City. City’s bridges are overcome by zombies. The radio broadcast that closes the movie is just epic: I’ve just been informed that zombies have encountered the building. They are at the door! They’re coming in! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA“. Just priceless! "Zombie Ritual“ is actually the reference to the voodoo magic curse that turned people into zombies:

Stare into his eyes

Now in his spell

Kiss the rotting flesh

Now you're in hell

Drinking from the goblet of gore is actually in relation with the infamous Scream Bloody Gore artwork done by Ed Repka (which was beaten by Spiritual Healing at #2 on our list of Ed Repka’s Best 50 album covers!). However, zombies with goblets are nowhere to be found in the movie. To sum it up, "Zombie Ritual“ is simply one of the best Death songs of all time!

5) "Scream Bloody Gore“

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The eponymous song "Scream Bloody Gore“ was inspired by the 1985 movie Re-Animator –  directed by Stuart Gordon. The film itself was based on H.P. Lovecraft’s 1922 novel  "Herbert West – Reanimator“. This time, we are talking about a big budget horror comedy. The movie starts with this theme that is a total rip off of Hitchcock’s Psycho. It tells the story of a “brain researcher“ Herbert West who revived his professor but as the experiment goes wrong, he  leaves the University of Zurich and goes to USA for further studies. He then revives a his landowner's cat in a secret lab created in the basement of the apartment. The cat goes wild and starts attacking the guy and he kills it in response. After that, he gets expelled from the University and goes in the morgue in order to revive some humans. Doctor Halsey gets killed by revived corpses of zombies.  West revives him but the doctor alone becomes one. Zombiefied Doctor Halsey is then put under surveillance as the scientists try to figure out what happened to him. Then,  West’s mentor, Doctor Hill tries to blackmail West in order to get all of his data and credits for the revival experiment. West shows him the speciment under microscope and as the doctor Hill is laughing like a madman, West decapitates him and separates his head from body. He then reanimates the zombiefied doctor who is now in charge of controling other zombies. Megan then gets taken by the zombie doctor Halsey and gets put onto a surgical table to be sexually molested by Dr. Hill. The first verse of Scream Bloody Gore depicts this scene, even though in the movie, Megan gets away unharmed:

Decapitated head licking your c*nt

Sucking all the blood from your stump

Intestinal guts taking their hold

Leaving you dead, stiff and cold

Chuck then talks about “Controlling the minds of the bloodthirsty dead” and "Lobotomized corpse shredding your flesh", referring to the decapitated zombie, Dr. Hill. Chuck then depicts how Dr. Hill is creating an army of zombies.

Armies of the dead

Hail their leader's head

Hungry for the flesh

While it's warm and fresh

Needless to say, the self-titled track is also one of the best from the Scream Bloody Gore album.

6) “Evil Dead”

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And we get to the end. This track starts with an iconic melodic riff and is also one of the best songs from the album. The song is inspired by the 1981 cult horror spectacle The Evil Dead, directed by Sam Raimi. This is probably the only movie in which Bruce Campbell (playing Ash Williams) has his face straight. The story is the following; 5 students go on a trip. They end up in some cottage in the midst of nowhere. One of the girls gets haunted by the voices in her head that say JOIN US. This is exact the same chant that can be heard in at the beginning of Slayer’s masterful song "Hell Awaits“ (if you play the demonic message in reverse) Then, the students find Naturom Demonto, a Sumerian version of the Egyptian Book of the Dead i.e. Necronomicon as well as an archaeologist’s recordings about the book itself. While they are listening to the recordings, the archaeologist’s chants evoke the Candarian demon who then turns students into zombies (one by one). Ash then needs to confront his zombie friends, one by one. The sequel, Evil Dead 2 was released in march 1987 and was surely influential to Chuck as much as the first one. The 2nd movie also inspired Deicide, whose song "Dead by Dawn“ was inspired by the zombie chants from the film. Anyways, Death’s "Evil Dead” is one of the best songs Chuck Schuldiner ever wrote. 

Rest in peace Chuck Schuldiner! You will be missed. DEATH LIVES!

 Written by: Miloš Čabraja

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