Some Kind of Monster (film)

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Some Kind of Monster
Some kind of minster (film).jpg
Directed by Joe Berlinger
Bruce Sinofsky
Produced byJoe Berlinger
Bruce Sinofsky
Starring Metallica
Music byMetallica
CinematographyRobert Richman
Distributed by IFC Films
Release date
  • January 24, 2004 (2004-01-24)(Sundance Film Festival)
  • January 25, 2005 (2005-01-25)(Re-release) [1]
  • November 28, 2014 (2014-11-28)
Running time
141 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,009,087 [2]

Some Kind of Monster is a 2004 American documentary film featuring the American thrash metal band Metallica. It shares its name with the song "Some Kind of Monster" from Metallica's 2003 album St. Anger. The film shows many studio rehearsals and fragments of concert footage. It won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature. The DVD release was handled by Paramount Home Entertainment. Metallica re-released the film, including a bonus documentary, in 2014 to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

Some Kind of Monster (song) 2004 extended play by Metallica

"Some Kind of Monster" is the fourth single from the American heavy metal band Metallica's eighth studio album St. Anger. The song appeared in 2003 along with the album, but it was released as a single on July 13, 2004. "Some Kind of Monster" was Nominated for Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2005 but lost to Velvet Revolver for the song "Slither".


Origins and production

Directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky filmed a 1994 documentary called Paradise Lost on the West Memphis Three, about three teenagers convicted of murder. Metallica allowed their music to be used in the movie, which was the first time Metallica let any film use their music and the band drew attention to the cases. [3] Following success, the directors eventually were interested in a no-holds-barred look at Metallica, which the band later agreed to and became Some Kind of Monster. [4]

Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky were a team of American documentary filmmakers that have won cult fame and critical acclaim. The duo are probably best known for their trilogy of Paradise Lost films, about the so-called West Memphis Three, and 2004 Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster. Though they often worked together, Berlinger and Sinofsky have also separately directed their own projects.

<i>Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills</i> 1996 film by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is a 1996 American documentary film directed, produced and edited by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky about the trials of the West Memphis Three, three teenage boys accused of the May 1993 murders and sexual mutilation of three prepubescent boys as a part of an alleged satanic ritual in West Memphis, Arkansas.

West Memphis Three three men convicted of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas

The West Memphis Three are three men who – while teenagers – were tried and convicted, in 1994, of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment. During the trial, the prosecution asserted that the children were killed as part of a Satanic ritual.


Metallica is forced to examine their nature and their very existence as bassist Jason Newsted quits the band and frontman James Hetfield abruptly leaves the group to enter a rehabilitation facility due to alcohol abuse. Metallica's management Q-Prime hires "performance-enhancing coach" Phil Towle to help the group better understand one another as friends, bandmates, and human beings. When the members of Metallica eventually decide that Towle's services are no longer required, Towle attempts to convince them that they still need him, saying "We've still got some trust issues that I think we need to sort out." [5]

Jason Newsted American musician

Jason Curtis Newsted is an American metal musician, known for being the third bass guitarist with the band Metallica from October 1986 until his sudden departure in January 2001.

James Hetfield American musician, songwriter and record producer

James Alan Hetfield is an American musician, singer, and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica. Hetfield is mainly known for his intricate rhythm playing, but occasionally performs lead guitar duties and solos, both live and in the studio. Hetfield co-founded Metallica in October 1981 after answering a classified advertisement by drummer Lars Ulrich in the Los Angeles newspaper The Recycler. Metallica has won nine Grammy Awards and released ten studio albums, three live albums, four extended plays and 24 singles.

Drug rehabilitation is the process of medical or psychotherapeutic treatment for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and street drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin or amphetamines. The general intent is to enable the patient to confront substance dependence, if present, and cease substance abuse to avoid the psychological, legal, financial, social, and physical consequences that can be caused, especially by extreme abuse. Treatment includes medication for depression or other disorders, counseling by experts and sharing of experience with other addicts.

Former Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine also appears briefly in a scene in which, as part of Lars Ulrich's therapy, he confronts the guitarist on September 13, 2001, regarding the decision to fire him early in the band's career for his excessive drinking. On top of the core relationship issues discussed during this meeting are two considerations specific to the date that it took place that will help aware viewers understand the tension and frustration in the room. First, the scene with Mustaine and Ulrich was filmed precisely two days after the September 11 attacks: a day when the entire United States was in a severe state of melancholy. Secondly, this coincidentally also just happened to be Dave Mustaine's 40th birthday. For many years, until the burying of the hatchet between him and Metallica, Mustaine would grouse that he would much rather have spent his 40th birthday in Arizona with his wife and kids rather than on a couch in the Bay Area talking to Lars, even though the two had not had any serious personal contact for many years. In the meeting, Mustaine speaks frankly about his resentment stemming from his dismissal without the opportunity to redeem himself with an alcoholism treatment program; a point of view that Ulrich concedes he had never considered before. Mustaine also speaks of how, despite achieving success with his own group Megadeth, he still endures ridicule from Metallica fans, which has diminished the enjoyment of his own success.

Dave Mustaine American musician

David Scott Mustaine is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, actor and author. He is best known as the co-founder, lead vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter of the American heavy metal band Megadeth, as well as the original lead guitarist of the American band Metallica.

Lars Ulrich Danish musician

Lars Ulrich is a Danish musician, songwriter, actor, and record producer. He is best known as the drummer and co-founder of the American heavy metal band Metallica. The son of tennis player Torben Ulrich and grandson of tennis player Einer Ulrich, he also played tennis in his youth and moved to Los Angeles at age 16 to train professionally. However, rather than playing tennis, Ulrich began playing the drums. After publishing an advertisement in The Recycler, Ulrich met vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and formed Metallica.

September 11 attacks Attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001

The September 11 attacks were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. Additional people died of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases in the months and years following the attacks.

Of particular note is the perceived "power struggle" between Hetfield and drummer Ulrich – best friends for more than two decades who are finally beginning to understand one another. Ulrich confesses that he resents Hetfield's need to control everything, even when Hetfield is not present; a stipulation of Hetfield's rehab release required him to work only four hours per day from noon to 4 p.m. so he could spend time with his family. Hetfield subsequently objected to the rest of the band working on or even listening to recorded material when he was not present. The scene ends with Ulrich starting to curse under his breath, before finally getting nose-to-nose with Hetfield and roaring "Fuck!"

In a scene where Hetfield, Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and several others are discussing titles for the album, Hetfield suggests to use the name of the song "St. Anger." Many of the other people in the scene agree that it is a good title; however, Ulrich prefers "Frantic," which would become the first track on the album. Ulrich is eventually convinced that "Frantic," as an album title, would suggest a perceived lack of focus by the band.

Kirk Hammett American musician

Kirk Lee Hammett is an American musician who has been lead guitarist and a contributing songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus. In 2003, Hammett was ranked 11th on Rolling Stone's list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 2009, Hammett was ranked number 15 in Joel McIver's book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.

St. Anger (song) song by Metallica

"St. Anger" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released in June 2003 as the lead single from their eighth studio album of the same name. It won Best Metal Performance at the 46th Grammy Awards and was also nominated for Best Rock Video at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, but lost to "Somewhere I Belong" by Linkin Park.

Frantic (song) 2003 single by Metallica

"Frantic" is the second single and opening track from American heavy metal band Metallica's 2003 album St. Anger.

The film contains many excerpts from the studio of unreleased tracks, such as "Shadows of the Cross", "Dead Kennedy Rolls", "Riff" and "More Than This (Whipping Boy)". The only unreleased song that can be heard fully is "Temptation".

The movie also addresses the early 2001 departure of longtime member Jason Newsted. He is interviewed, and both rehearsal and concert footage of his own group, Echobrain, is shown. In one scene, an apparently impressed Ulrich states that "Jason is the future" after he and Hammett watch the band perform live. Footage is shown from public auditions the band held to find a replacement bass player. In a scene after Robert Trujillo's audition, guitarist Hammett notes that he uses his fingers to play, rather than a pick and mentions that it "hadn't been played that way since Cliff", Metallica's bassist before Newsted. The band members later concur not only that Trujillo was the only bassist who didn't appear to be struggling with Metallica's material, but that playing with him forced the other three to tighten up their own parts. In a sense, Trujillo "made us play better."

Echobrain was an American rock/metal musical group, who came to prominence as the first offering from former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted since leaving that band. Echobrain was formed in 2000 by Newsted, Brian Sagrafena and Dylan Donkin who had close contact with one another throughout the late-1990s after they met at a Super Bowl party at Newsted's home in 1995. On a road trip to Baja, Mexico, Sagrafena and Donkin recorded some rough demos that, when they came home, eventually caught Newsted's attention, who then offered to help out on bass guitar and assist the songwriting. In May 2000, they entered a studio to record the demos more professionally, with help from several musicians including Newsted's then-colleague and Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, and former Faith No More guitarist Jim Martin.

Robert Trujillo American bassist known for his role as the current bassist of Metallica

Roberto Agustín Miguel Santiago Samuel Perez de la Santa Concepción Trujillo Veracruz Bautista better known as Robert Trujillo, is an American musician and songwriter. He has been the bassist of the American heavy metal band Metallica since 2003. He was also a member of crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies, funk metal supergroup Infectious Grooves, heavy metal band Black Label Society, and has worked with Jerry Cantrell and Ozzy Osbourne.

Cliff Burton American musician, member of Metallica

Clifford Lee Burton was an American musician and songwriter, best known as the bass guitarist for the American band Metallica from December 1982 until his death in September 1986.


The film holds an 89% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus that the film is a "Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how Metallica survives one of their more turbulent periods." [6] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 74 out of 100, based on 32 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". A fragment of the summary says "...this documentary provides a fascinating, in-depth portrait of the most successful heavy metal band of all time...".

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave it an "A", writing that it is "one of the most revelatory rock portraits ever made." [7]

Band reactions

Lars Ulrich reflected on the production, saying: “We were at a crossroads. We had been really good at being able to compartmentalize a lot of this stuff. Suppress it with drinking or other extravagances. This was the first time we had to talk to each other, get to know each other and work stuff out. The cameras were there catching all of it.” [8]

The producers requested Dave Mustaine's approval to include footage of his 2001 meeting with Ulrich. Although Mustaine denied the request, he had earlier signed a release form giving the band and the producers the right to use the footage. Mustaine later claimed that this marked "the final betrayal" and that he has now given up hope of ever fully reconciling with his former bandmates. [9] Although he received a measure of satisfaction at being included and acknowledged in the film as Metallica's original guitarist, Mustaine felt his interview footage was edited to portray him in a "less than flattering" manner. [10] Responding to Mustaine's criticism, Ulrich said, "So put these three facts down, he was in our band for a year. He never played on a Metallica record [official release], and it was 22 years ago. It's pretty absurd that it still can be that big a deal." [11]

Mustaine eventually reconciled with Metallica. On June 16, 2010, Megadeth and Metallica played the first of what would end up being several shows with Slayer and Anthrax as the "big four of thrash metal", their first concert being in front of over 80,000 fans in Warsaw, Poland. The night before, the band members had a collective dinner described as "laid-back" and "enjoyable" by Mustaine, which began with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo hugging Mustaine.

The "Big Four" collective played their last concert on September 14, 2011 in New York City's Yankee Stadium. In February 2016, Mustaine reiterated that he felt open to more concerts and had no opposition to working with Metallica and others again, only issues of timing and scheduling being in the way. [12]

Cameo appearances

All appear while auditioning for Metallica's vacant bassist position. Robert Trujillo was eventually selected.


Chart (2005)Peak
Belgian (Flanders) Music DVDs Chart [13] 1
Belgian (Wallonia) Music DVDs Chart [14] 1
Finnish Music DVDs Chart [15] 4
Irish Music DVDs Chart [16] 1
Italian Music DVDs Chart [17] 5
New Zealand Music DVDs Chart [18] 1
Norwegian Music DVDs Chart [19] 1
Swedish Music DVDs Chart [20] 1


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  2. "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  3. "Metallica May Give Music To 'Paradise Lost' Sequel". MTV. May 28, 1998. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  4. "'Paradise Lost' Team Plans Two More West Memphis Three Documentaries". MTV. February 23, 2010. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  5. "All That Glitters: Bringing Back Metallica". Clinical Psychiatry News. December 2004. Retrieved May 2, 2016 via
  6. "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  7. Gleiberman, Owen (2004-07-08). "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster; Genre: Documentary; Director: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky..." (movie review). Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  8. Reilly, Travis (December 23, 2014). "Metallica's Lars Ulrich on How Rock Doc 'Some Kind of Monster' Kept Band From 'Derailing'". Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  9. "Dave Mustaine slams Metallica over 'Some Kind of Monster' movie". June 4, 2004. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2007.
  10. Doe, Bernard (February 11, 2005). "Life after 'Deth – The outspoken Dave Mustaine looks ahead to a solo career as he calls time on Megadeth". Archived from the original on December 9, 2007. Retrieved December 5, 2007.
  11. "Lars Ulrich slams Dave Mustaine for his 'Pathetic' Metallica-bashing". January 10, 2006. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2007.
  12. "Megadeth's Dave Mustaine: What It Would Take For Another 'Big Four' Concert To Happen". February 28, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  13. "Ultratop 10 Muziek-DVD". Ultratop (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  14. "Ultratop 10 DVD Musicaux". Ultratop (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  15. "Suomen Virallinen Lista – Musiikki DVD:t 13/2005". Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland (in Finnish). Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  16. "Irish Charts – Singles, Albums & Compilations". IRMA . Archived from the original on February 4, 2005. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  17. "Classifiche: Archivio – DVD Musicali". FIMI (in Italian). Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  18. "Top 10 Music DVDs". RIANZ . Archived from the original on May 24, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  19. "DVD Audio Uke 5,2005". VG-lista (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  20. "Sveriges Officiella Topplista". Sverigetopplistan (in Swedish). Retrieved March 5, 2013.Search for Metallica Some Kind of Monster and click Sök.