The 10 greatest Hollywood cameos in metal videos

Separate photographs of Arnold Schwarzenegger as The terminator, Pinhead from Hellraiser and actor Danny Trejo
(Image credit: Murray Close/Estevan Oriol/Getty Images Lifestyle pictures/Alamy Stock Photo)

As much as metal likes to think it’s a genre for outsiders, pretty much every band out there will bite the hand off any Hollywood A-lister who offers to appear in one of their videos. It’s a two-way transaction – actors get a bit of rock’n’roll cred from hanging around with the likes of Slayer or Guns N’ Roses, while the musicians get to bathe in some proper big screen star wattage. From Jesse Pinkman to The Terminator, these are the 10 greatest Hollywood cameos in metal videos.

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Keanu Reeves in Anthrax’s Safe Home

How the hell did the future John Wick end up in the video for Anthrax’s  2003 single Safe Home? Simple: guitarist Scott Ian asked him. “I was introduced to the righteous, beautiful Scott Ian,” Keanu Reeves explained. “We were talking, and he said, ‘Hey man, we’re doing this video.’ And I was, like, ‘Cool, what do you wanna do?’” The end result was simple but effective, with Reeves – still basking in the mega success of the original Matrix trilogy – walking down the side of a freeway in Burbank, his face unseen until he howls “You have always been my safe home!” in time with John Bush. And Keanu‘s verdict on the song? “It’s epic!”

Malcolm McDowell in Slipknot’s Snuff

Malcolm McDowell’s portrayal of an unhinged adolescent in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange made him a movie icon – not least to Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan. When the Slipknot percussionist directed Snuff’s video, he made the British actor connoisseur a hotel receptionist. It’s a small role, where he admits Corey Taylor and a woman (also Corey Taylor) to their rooms, but one that that cult movie connoisseurs will love.

Aaron Paul in Korn’s Thoughtless

Six years before his breakout role in Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul starred as a tortured teen in the video for Korn’s US Top 10 hit Thoughtless. His character is an archetypical high school outcast, picked on by bullies, every slight making his body convulse with early 2000s CGI. The payoff is that he attends the senior prom and proceeds to projectile vomit over his tormentors. It’s like Carrie, except with the remnants of last night’s pizza. Jesse Pinkman would have been proud.

Ben Stiller in Limp Bizkit’s Rollin’

Love them or loathe them, Limp Bizkit were as big as it got around the turn of the millennium, and they had the pulling power to prove it. If enlisting A-list rappers Eminem and Snoop Dogg for 1999’s Break Stuff video wasn’t enough, Fred Durst managed to rope in Meet The Parents star Ben Stiller for the following year’s Rollin’. Stller’s short-but-sweet cameo finds him rocking up at the start of the clip to hurl abuse at Fred, who retaliates by nicking Stiller’s car and never returning it. Suck it up, Zoolander!

Thora Birch and Bill Paxton in Limp Bizkit’s Eat You Alive

More Hollywood Limp Bizkit cameos, this time for the lead single from 2003’s Results May Vary. This time its American Beauty star Thora Birch and Aliens/Titanic actor Bill Paxton who Fred D has pulled out of his contact book. The clip involves Birch being kidnapped by the singer, who rants at her through a megaphone and soaks her with a hose and dries her off until she develops something approaching Stockholm Syndrome, leaving Paxton to hunt down our antagonist (Follow-up single Behind Blue Eyes featured Halle Berry. Frankly, we could just fill this list with Limp Bizkit videos and be done with it…)

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Guns ’N’ Roses’ You Could Be Mine

How does the biggest rock’n’roll band on the planet introduce its upcoming sprawling twin double album set Use Your Illusion I and II? By getting The Terminator himself to gatecrash a gig while Axl and co are playing their latest single You Could Be Mine. Sure, there was a cross-promotional tie in here – the song itself featured in James Cameron’s gazillion dollar blockbuster Terminator II: Judgment Day, though there’s something kind of bizarre at seeing Cyborg Arnie stalking the crowd at a GN’R gig as he hunts down the World’s Most Dangerous Rock’N’Roll Band before ultimately deciding that they‘re a “waste of ammo”. Ouch!

Danny Trejo in Slayer’s Repentless/Pride In Prejudice

Machete star and real-life ex-convict-made-good Danny Trejo is the embodiment of luxuriously mustachioed machismo, which is presumably why Slayer roped him to appear as a rioting prisoner in the video for Repentless. He returned for the sequel, Pride In Prejudice (sadly not based on a Jane Austen book), where he’s kidnapped by and subsequently saved from neo-Nazis. Naturally, there are buckets of blood along the way.

Graham Chapman in Iron Maiden’s Can I Play With Madness

Former Monty Python member Graham Chapman made an unlikely cameo in the video for Iron Maiden‘s 1988 single Can I Play With Madness. The comic legend is a stuffy teacher who stumbles upon Maiden playing on TV, and is so transfixed that he stands still long enough to gather dust. Then Eddie shows up and yanks him into a fridge, as you do. Sadly, it would be one of Chapman’s final screen appearances – he died the following year

Finn Wolfhard in Pup’s Guilt Trip/Sleep In The Heat

You know Finn Wolfhard from It and Stranger Things, but he was unknown when punk rockers Pup put him in Guilt Trip’s 2014 music video. The kid who’d become Mike Wheeler plays a younger incarnation of Pup’s vocalist and rhythm guitarist Stefan Babcock: a role he reprises in the 2016 Sleep In The Heat clip. Eddie Munson still has more rock ’n’ roll cred though. Sorry.

Doug ‘Pinhead’ Bradley in Motörhead’s Hellraiser

Horror movie Big Bads don’t come any cooler than pasty-faced, nailed-studded demon Pinhead from cult 1988 classic Hellraiser (and approximately nine million sequels). Motörhead knew this when they roped in actor Doug Bradley for the video for their 1992 single – wait for it – Hellraiser, despite the fact that the song and the movie had absolutely nothing in common except a shared title. Still, the sight of Bradley, in full Hell Priest regalia, playing poker with Lemmy is glorious. And the last card Pinhead gets? The Ace Of Spades, naturally.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.