Bands Named After Movies, Characters & Other Film Stuff

Ever wonder which of your favorite bands are named after movies? So have we. So we went out and did a little bit of research.


My Bloody Valentine: The seminal shoegaze act took their name from a low-budget 1981 horror movie about a guy who really, really hates Valentine's Day, so instead of just sitting around moping, he throws on a gas mask, grabs a butcher knife, and does something about it. The film was remade in 2009, coinciding with the band's reunion, and received surprisingly decent reviews for a 3-D slasher flick.

Say Anything: Mediocre emo band named after a John Cusack film that outclasses them by miles and miles. We still think Grosse Pointe Blank's Martin Blank is supposed to be an alternate-dimension future version of Lloyd Dobler.

White Zombie: Rob Zombie chose a 1932 B-horror film starring Bela Lugosi to emulate, both by his band's name and by their general aesthetic. The film is a pulpy comedy of errors wherein a young man turns to a witch doctor (Lugosi) to make the object of his desire fall in love with him. The witch doctor fucks it up and turns her into his zombie slave instead. Whoops! Guess that's why they don't give out degrees for witch doctoring.

They Might Be Giants: Named after a bizarre little 1971 film that puts Sherlock Holmes in modern-day New York City as a Don Quixote-like crazy person, and casts Dr. Watson as his female psychiatrist. The film questions just how much difference the concept of reality makes, which lines up with the band's philosophy perfectly. "They might be windmills... but they might also be giants." Yup.

Black Sabbath: The first true heavy metal band was named Earth before they went to see the 1963 Boris Karloff horror film at a movie theater near their rehearsal space. Afterward, they decided since horror movies were doing so well, a horror-themed band would probably be a good idea, too. A name change and several down-tuned guitars later, Black Sabbath were scaring parents all over the country, all in tribute to a Karloff anthology flick even horror buffs barely remember.

The Mission UK: Robert De Niro was a favorite actor of this United Kingdom post-punk band, so they took their name from a film of his that had just been released and, despite having gotten decent reviews, has since fallen by the wayside, possibly because De Niro does not play an Italian gangster stereotype.

Instead, he plays the leader of a band of mercenary Jesuits who protects a tribe of South American Indians from Portugese slave traders. The Mission had to tack on the UK to their name later when they discovered an American band had beaten them to the name.

Mudhoney, Faster Pussycat, Vixen, Motorpsycho: All bands named after films by notorious early exploitation filmmaker Russ Meyer.


Duran Duran: Named after Dr. Durand Durand from the classic sci-fi cocktease Barbarella, in which Jane Fonda comes so close to getting completely naked - but never quite does - so many times, any man watching this camp classic will be punching himself in the groin in frustration.

Remember young Jane Fonda? Man, that was one sexy-ass traitor.

Wu-Tang Clan: After watching a 1981 kung-fu film called Shao Lin and Wu Tang, RZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard and the rest took their name from one of the clans making up a joint revenge expedition, seeking payback for the murders of various clan masters and relatives. Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, but Wu-Tang Clan turned out to be anything but, easily one of the most influential rap acts of all time.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: The Beatles once said that they took their name from one of the rival biker gangs in the Marlon Brando film The Wild Ones, The Beetles. Well, BMRC took their somewhat wordier name from the other gang. As far as we know, they don't have any beef with the Beatles, but if they do, we expect it to be settled by the remaining members via chains and switchblades.

Mogwai: This trippy post-rock act is named after the type of creature young Billy Peltzer is given as an early Christmas present, a cute, furry little critter you're not supposed to get wet or feed after midnight. Yes, Gizmo was a mogwai, and so were the others, before they tricked Billy into turning them into Gremlins.


The Dismemberment Plan: The underrated indie act - recently reunited! - took their name from a type of insurance plan Ned Ryerson offers Phil Connors in the film Groundhog Day. Yep, the alternative-rock weirdoes are named after a minor character in an offbeat romantic comedy directly preceding Bill Murray's string of dismal movies before he was adopted as the go-to sad-sack of Wes Anderson. Oddly appropriate.

Nerf Herder: Named after something Princess Leia calls Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. So maybe he did herd nerf, so what? Kids in the Star Wars universe gotta have pretend gunfights, too.

A Wilhelm Scream: Named after that high-pitched shriek you hear in one out of about every five action movies.

The Weakerthans: Named after a quote from a character in the film The Lover, who challenges a bully by taunting "I'm weaker than you can possibly imagine." Awesome.

Iron Maiden: Named after an actual torture device used in medieval times, but got the idea from seeing said device in the film The Man In the Iron Mask. No, not the shitty version starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Dream Theater: Named after an actual movie theater in Monterey, Calif.

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