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Photos/Review: Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Brings Horror Movie Legends to Life at Royal Ontario Museum

By: Curtis Sindrey –

TORONTO, ON – Kirk Hammett’s “It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection” exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. (Photo: Courtesy of the ROM)

Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum got a little more spooky recently as Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett introduced his new “It’s Alive!” exhibition.

The exhibition, which is set to run until January 5th, 2020, features a vast array of classic horror and sci-fi movie posters and memorabilia that is sure to satisfy any and all genre fans. Curated by Hammett himself, the exhibition displays more than 100 pieces from 20th-century cinema ranging from 1921’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, to 1931’s Dracula, and all the way to 1979’s Alien. 

The connection between music and horror/sci-fi might not be an instantly obvious thing, but upon closer inspection, you realize that the connective tissue belongs to the relationship between art and emotion. Movies, much like music, allows us to explore and come to terms with some of our deepest fears and anxieties and horror and sci-fi is no different. “It’s Alive” has been curated in such a beautiful way that it acts as a time capsule to what the underlying collective fear was at the time. Whether it was the breakthrough scientific discoveries in the 20th century, the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union post-WWII, or the rise of women’s and civil rights in 1960s, the horror and sci-fi genres shined a spotlight on society itself, but instead of politicians, you had monsters, goblins, and ghouls.

“I got into the business of collecting horror, which is really not a business at all, a long time ago. I think it’s become my midnight calling or maybe my lifetime obsession. I guess some would say obsession, some may say occupation and others would say it’s just plain insanity,” says Kirk Hammett in a statement. “It is very exciting for me to have Toronto be the second stop on our quest to bring my collection to everyone who is genuinely interested in these horror movie posters, props, and memorabilia.”

But beyond the rich cultural legacy that many of the films featured in the exhibitonhave, one of the major highlights is that of the collection of Hammett’s horror-inspired guitars on display. From 1932’s White Zombie, to Boris Karloff as Frankenstein, to 1931’s Dracula, 1932’s The Mummy, and 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein, fans have an inside look at some of Hammett’s most iconic axes that he has played on stage with Metallica around the world. This alone is worth the price of admission.

Overall, Kirk Hammett’s “It’s Alive” exhibition is a can’t miss experience for any horror/sci-fi/Metallica fan. It’s an expertly curated, endlessly fascinating, and devilishly delightful look into the mind of one of rock’s most celebrated figures. Buy tickets here.


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