Metallica’s Kirk Hammett talks ROM horror exhibit with Alan Cross

This Saturday, July 13, Kirk Hammett‘s exclusive exhibit, the It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection, makes its debut at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto.

For more than three decades, the 56-year-old Metallica lead guitarist has been amassing rare horror memorabilia dating back to between the early 1920s and late 1980s, including authentic movie props, costumes and his collection of personal guitars, which are each wrapped with artwork from various horror films.

The impressive collection is one of the biggest and most expansive horror collections in the world and features incredibly rare vintage cinema posters as well — one of which is the only remaining, intact original 1931 Frankenstein print.

#tbt to a little breather between signing books and shaking hands. @peabodyessex 2017 ??? And I’m gonna do it all again at @romtoronto next month!! #ROMItsAlive

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On Tuesday, July 23, the Enter Sandman rocker will also appear at the ROM between 8 — 9 p.m. ET for an intimate speaking event, with a reception to follow. Details can be found here.

(Note: Hammett will not be signing autographs, books, CDs, records or any other memorabilia.)

When speaking to the ROM, Hammett shared his excitement about bringing his cinema-art collection to Ontario.

“Canada is a great country, Toronto is an amazing city, and I’m honoured to be able to start crossing borders with my collection at the Royal Ontario Museum,” he said. “It’s very exciting for me to bring my collection to everyone who is genuinely interested in these horror movie posters, props, and memorabilia.”

A Kirk Hammett of Metallica figure at Kirk Von Hammett’s Fear FestEvil at the Grand Regency Ballroom on Feb. 7, 2014 in San Francisco, Calif.

Before debuting the exhibit, Hammett spoke to Corus Entertainment’s own Alan Cross about not only the exhibit, but his history and infatuation with the horror genre.

Cross questioned how Hammett first developed an interest in such a niche collectible.

“Horror movies and the genre itself is something I’ve been into ever since I was a child,” said Hammett. “I was maybe five or six years old. It was something I was attracted to initially because it was so different and had a different feel and atmosphere to a lot of the cultural stuff I was experiencing at the time — which was a lot of Disney movies and cartoons and whatnot. This was the late ’60s, early ’70s and so on.

My first horror movie, I thought, ‘Wow, this is a different kind of movie. A different kind of story.’ I really latched onto it and pursued more of those kinds of stories. It was through comic books, magazines, books and movies — just anything that had that horror affiliation. It never really died out.”

That first horror movie, Hammett said, was Day of the Triffids [1962], which is about man-eating plants that spew poison.

Before parting ways, Cross asked Hammett a particularly difficult question. “Regardless of value, what’s your favourite piece?”

Kirk Hammett of Metallica performs on stage at the Etihad Stadium on June 18, 2019 in Manchester, England.

After a little consideration, Hammett answered, “It would probably be the Mummy 3 sheet. I love that image; it’s on my guitar.”

“When I look at it,” he continued, “I just get lost in the colours and composition of it. The lushness, too. I just love it. I get lost in this kind of stuff. My mind just dives in totally and then I’m somewhere else. There’s an amazing effect that this stuff has on me.”

Hammett’s exhibit runs from July 13, 2019 to Jan. 5, 2020. Tickets can be found on the official ROM website.

Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and Q107, and a commentator for Global News. [This interview has been edited and condensed.]

Subscribe to Alan’s Ongoing History of New Music Podcast now on Apple Podcast or Google Play

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