4 Scintillating Uses of Rock Music in Movies

If you once had a large poster of Jon Bon Jovi or Courtney Love stuck on your bedroom wall, there’s a huge chance we would have a lot to talk about.

The era of 90’s grunge rock ushered charismatic artistes like Kurt Cobain (rest his soul), Third Eye Blind, 4 Non-blondes and Oasis just to mention a few.

Their music was as ground-breaking as it was amalgamating. The era still has its nostalgic appeal, and thanks to YouTube I can spend a few minutes time-travelling to those awesome performances.

But rock music was/is more than just its melody. Its application transcends the glitzy frenzied walls of a concert hall or a vinyl record. It has been used severally (and fittingly) on the silver screen.

What’s a good movie without a hard rock soundtrack to spike its scenes? The following examples show how rock music was used to enhance certain parts of my favourite movies.

Car chase scenes

Ever since the iconic car chase scenes from movies like Bullit (1968) or Gone in 60 Seconds (the 1974 original), movie directors have enjoyed spiking up their high-octane pursuits with metallic sounds.

One of my favourites is the chase scene in Deathproof where Zoe Bell and Tracie Thom’s characters turn the tables on Kurt Russell and give him a taste of his own medicine. It is high-pitched, with a hint of jazz. More importantly, it fits the sound of vengeance. Few car chase scenes get it perfectly like this one.


When someone is losing their mind

In one of my favourite films of all time, Fight Club, David Fincher take us through the crumbling mess that is the lead character’s life (played by Edward Norton). This directorial masterpiece is a must see if you haven’t, so I won’t leave any spoilers. But in a scene where Norton appears to be losing his mind, the Pixies’ hit song “Where is My Mind” makes an appropriate entry.

Rock Expert Tony Raye from Rock My World admits to the wizardry of the song’s timing. “At that moment, you are stuck on what’s happening, then the song filters into the scene, clearing any initial doubts you might have had,” he says.


Sex, and more sex

Sometimes, during a movie, the slow romantic tune in some sex scenes weakens the pace of the film. Enter something more upbeat and gyratory, and you have a winner on your hands. Rock music ups the tempo and gives you something to remember.

In Stanley Kubrick’s awkwardly sexy film Eyes Wide Shut, Chris Isaak’s “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” does an amazing job at setting the mood for some hanky-panky. See video here for more details.


A comedic horror scene

Jesse Eisenberg stars in Columbia Pictures’ ZOMBIELAND.

One of the best uses of rock music I’ve seen in a movie is in the intro soundtrack of Zombieland. “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Mettalica, takes us through a slow-mo spectacle of zombie pursuits and panic-stricken victims trying to flee.

If you are not a zombie movie fan, give this a try, it might change your perception. Actors Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Woodie Harrelson don’t disappoint. Plus, you are guaranteed several laugh moments!


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