Black Metal Veins unflinchingly documents the dark realities of despair and morbid self annihilation surrounding the lives of five heroin junkies. The addicts’ intertwining stories of pain, loss, sadness, and abandonment lead the viewer down the agonizing and hideous path of horrifying psychological and spiritual destruction as the grim disease of heroin addiction infects and decays the bodies and minds of five young people.
“Black Metal Veins” is one of the more disturbing films on the market, but not for the usual reasons that include “fictional horror” exploitative content. “Black Metal Veins” is a documentary created by controversial filmmaker Lucifer Valentine in 2012. In fact, the title is “slightly” misleading in that it doesn’t have much to do with black metal at all. It’s aim is to film and document the decline and demise of 5 heroin junkies living in an apartment. A “few” of them are band members in a local death metal act. They are in fact asked a few times about what and why (death metal), which only seems secondary to the real attraction here…..shooting up.
While the music genre of “black metal” is confessed to being about allegiance to Satan and his agenda, never do we actually take “those” being filmed “too” seriously, in that regard, with them being “cracked up” out of their minds thru most of the film. We do see a few cutaways to the band in performance, but only as a break between junkie-talk.
“Black Metal Veins” does state in its beginning title card that it does not condone the actions of drug taking or abuse. What follows are various conversations with those being filmed about why they shoot up, why they are addicted and what occurred during their lives to bring them to this point. Absurdly it is stated a few times that the past has nothing to do with it, only their own choices in life. This aspect is presented in a mocking way that eludes to junkies just coming into drugs, “just because”. In fact, Raven the star of this documentary states that her childhood was actually quite great. We learn later that their were in fact reasons or issues that led them astray for one reason or the other.
“Black Metal Veins” is never beyond the factor of being highly depressing, especially with just about every shot being one or the other holding a needle and engaging in another hit. The characters “do” change slightly during the filming with one of them being killed early on in a drug deal gone wrong.
Raven, who is staying with friends while her boyfriend is away in the military, in fact becomes a camera focal point who strikingly is seen deteriorating as the film progresses. Raven delivers her monolog to the camera never taking her addiction “that” serious with the statement of realization that she’ll probably die someday.
In the interim, Raven is seen as attractive, charismatic, and witty (and at the early stages of her addiction). As the film reaches a halfway point, the starkness of her addiction become very apparent as her body becomes grossly thin sporting sores and boils across her face.
The film is shot without actors focusing on the reality of the individuals and their lives (who go by names such as Chris, Brad Allen, Raven, Doom, and Autumn Misery).
Brad Allen, the other focal individual of “Black Metal Veins” is a death metal guitar player who is documented in a constant state of being high or in the process of shooting up. To add to the miser, Valentine visits his parents to get “their” perspective. “Autumn Misery” who comes into the picture later, confesses her sorrid past of prostitution and drug use. The film takes things literal with the 2 female participants seen stripping, having sex or getting taking advantage of without concern for dignity or how they are perceived (even on camera). Everything in this film though comes 2nd to the high that they constantly seek.
What is most controversial about this release is that we actually see one of the participants overdose and die during the film. I won’t go into too much detail but its safe to say that everyone of the participants is on a quick road to death and at the same time them freely admit it without seeking help to cure their addictions. The other element here is that while Lucifer Valentine is determined to film the individuals and their daily habits over the course of several months, there is never any attempt to deter, stop or alert the authorities that these kids are only a heartbeat away from death. Instead we watch them shoot themselves up into oblivion resulting in a very jarring on-screen death
“Black Metal Veins” is often gruesome in its stark realism and decent into despair. The film stays away from fiction by keeping things real and progressively dire over several months of shooting. While the movie “could” serve as a great deterrent to drug use, we are never quite sure if Lucifer Valentine’s intent was more exploitative than anything. Certainly the attitudes of these kids is presented in a light hearted way (from their statements) that they seem to enjoy every moment of their addictions. So the question arises if the film “celebrates” this fact or showcases the effects of this fact.
However, The entertaining (if you can call it that) aspects quickly die away with the demise and deaths of its filmed participants. It’s horror on a different level that should be viewed at least once for the message that is intentionally or unintentionally delivered.
Black Metal Veins (2012)