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Also known as headbanger, thrasher, or hesher, the metalhead is a character that started showing up in movies and television shows in the 1980s as Heavy Metal became popular. As the title implies, he is a very passionate fan of hard rock and Heavy Metal music and is not shy about expressing it. Unfornuatly, some express their opinions too much to the point of coming off as an elitist Jerkass.
The metalhead can usually be identified by any combination of the following: long hair, tattoos, piercings, a black t-shirt baring the logo of his favorite band, a black leather motorcycle jacket, tattered denim jeans, or a denim vest adorned with pins and patches. They are also known for using the "heavy metal horns" hand gesture as a way of showing their approval for something. Most metalhead characters are male, though female examples exist.
He usually has a menial job and dreams of one day being in a successful band. He likes to say "dude" and "awesome" a lot. Although he doesn't have a lot of book smarts, his knowledge of heavy metal is staggering and he can debate for hours what bands should and should not be considered "metal." Other stereotypical things that the metalhead loves are muscle cars, motorcycles, beer, Horror Films, violent Video Games, and (depending on the portrayal) marijuana.
- Many minor characters in Detroit Metal City, given that the story centers around a metal band. (The main character is often disturbed by just how metalhead his fans are.)
- In Airheads, a trio of metalheads/struggling musicians end up taking a radio station hostage while trying to get their demo played.
- Wayne and Garth from the Wayne's World films and SNL skits are a pair of sardonic, but likable metalheads.
- The Stoned Age follows a pair of stereotypical metalheads who are trying to get laid during a night in the late 1970s.
- The drama film Hesher is about a metalhead who helps a young boy overcome the death of his mother.
- Rockstar (which was originally titled "Metal God") is a film about a 1980s metalhead who suddenly becomes the lead singer of his favorite band after the original vocalist is fired.
- The titular characters of Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure.
- Little Nicky's only human friends are a pair of metal heads and an Ambiguously Gay man.
- Pretty much everybody in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
- Virtually everyone in Heavy Metal Parking Lot.
- In 30 Minutes or Less, Dwayne spends most of the movie clad in a Metallica Master of Puppets t-shirt. Also, the ringtone for his mobile phone is Raining Blood by Slayer.
- The teenage version of Lou from Hot Tub Time Machine has long hair, a leather jacket, and an Iron Maiden t-shirt. Making him a pretty typical 1980s metalhead.
- Kenny from Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead.
- Strange Frequency has many metal heads in it.
- That 70s Show has Hyde, your resident '70s era metalhead. Donna could also count to a lesser extent.
Donna: Where are my Led Zeppelin Posters?!
Jackie: Oh, those? I removed them. They were ugly anyhow. It's time for a change.
Donna: Captain and Tenille?
Jackie: Yeah! Aren't they great?
Donna gives Jackie a death glare.
- Beavis and Butthead is about a pair of extremely stupid and socially inept teenage metalheads.
- The character of Otto Mann from The Simpsons. In one episode he was forced to choose between his bride-to-be and metal. Guess what he chose?
- In Metalocalypse, Dethklok fans are portrayed as being sterotypical metalheads.
- Most of the good guys in the game Brutal Legend are metalheads. The main character is the world's greatest roadie, and there are even thick-skulled headbangers who overcome their foes by head-butting them to death.
- And their combo attack is the Mosh Pit.
- The character of Axel Steel from Guitar Hero is a stereotypical metalhead.
- The character of Casey Lynch also seems to be an example of a female metalhead, in addition to being a bit of a Grunge fan.
- Lars Umlaut is another metalhead character, albeit one who is mainly interested in Norwegian black metal.
- Averted in Power Gig as the most metalhead looking character is actually a poet with a Dark and Troubled Past.
- The metalhead stereotype is lampooned in this article from The Onion.
- Similarly, Cracked pokes fun at it when referring to Def Leppard fans in the eighties:
In the band's heyday, fans of Def Leppard spanned all colors, genders, and hairstyles (or at least hairstyles typical of the late eighties). The vast majority of Heavy Metal fans, meanwhile, are widely known to be white males, either rail-thin or over 250 pounds, with so much hair they could supply a Locks of Love chapter in perpetuity.
- The "menial jobs and not book smart" description is averted in real life: a French sociologist studied the metal crowd, taking for basis the fans who attended the Hellfest Summer Open Air festival of 2011. His conclusion: higher diplomas and less unemployment among metalheads than other youth groups.