20 bands named after films

4 October 2023, 19:00

Looking for a name for your new band? Then head down to the local multiplex for some inspiration, like these bands did...

By Martin O'Gorman

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  1. Siouxsie And The Banshees

    Punk scenesters Siouxsie Sioux and Steve Severin wangled their way onto the bill at the 100 Club's Punk Festival in September 1976, but didn't have a band and didn't have a name. Luckily, Thames TV in London broadcast the 1970 Vincent Price horror film Cry Of The Banshee on the evening of 31st August and Sioux and Severin were taking notes. In Irish folklore, the "banshee" heralds the death of a family member, as referenced in the 2022 film, The Banshees Of Inisherin.

    Siouxsie And The Banshees in 1979... and a poster for the film Cry Of The Banshee
    Siouxsie And The Banshees in 1979... and a poster for the film Cry Of The Banshee. Picture: Fin Costello/Redferns/Everett Collection, Inc/Alamy Stock Photo
  2. Black Sabbath

    The Birmingham pioneers of heavy rock noticed that the cinema opposite their rehearsal room was showing the 1963 Boris Karloff movie Black Sabbath and were inspired to write a doom-laden song with that title, which prompted the group to change their name. The film is an anthology of scary tales featuring the veteran horror star and directed by the great Italian cinematographer Mario Bava.

    Black Sabbath and their 1963 movie namesake
    Black Sabbath and their 1963 movie namesake. Picture: GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty
  3. Mudhoney

    The Seattle-based grunge act took their name from trash movie legend Russ Meyer's 1965 epic.

    Mudhoney: the Seattle grunge band and the 1965 Russ Meyer film
    Mudhoney: the Seattle grunge band and the 1965 Russ Meyer film. Picture: David Tonge/LMPC via Getty Images
  4. They Might Be Giants

    The quirky New York duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell are best known in the UK for their 1990 hit Birdhouse In Your Soul. They Might Be Giants is also the name of a play and its 1971 adaptation starring George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward, which takes its own name from a reference to the Spanish epic novel Don Quixote.

    They Might Be Giants: a play, a film and a quirky pop duo
    They Might Be Giants: a play, a film and a quirky pop duo. Picture: Ebet Roberts/Redferns/LMPC via Getty Images
  5. Fine Young Cannibals

    The Birmingham trio of ex-Beat members Andy Cox and David Steele, plus singer Roland Gift, took their name from the 1960 film All The Fine Young Cannibals, starring Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood.

    Fine Young Cannibals: starring Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood?
    Fine Young Cannibals: starring Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood? Picture: Silver Screen Collection/Graham Tucker/Redferns/Getty Images
  6. The Misfits

    Are we referring to the New Jersey-based horror punks, or the final film of Marilyn Monroe, released in 1961? Both!

    The Misfits: classic horror punk, and Marilyn's final film
    The Misfits: classic horror punk, and Marilyn's final film. Picture: Everett Collection, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
  7. Dirty Pretty Things

    Carl Barât named his post-Libertines band after a 2002 British film directed by Stephen Frears. Unfortunately, there was also another band called that, but they sorted it all out in the end.

    Dirty Pretty Things: exquisitely crafted Britfilm/Indie pop
    Dirty Pretty Things: exquisitely crafted Britfilm/Indie pop. Picture: Andy Willsher/Redferns/Getty Images/Entertainment Pictures/Alamy Stock Photo
  8. Them

    The Belfast r'n'b band that featured Van Morrison took their name from the 1954 giant-ants-in-the-desert horror.

    Them: Van Morrison and big ants - they have a lot in common
    Them: Van Morrison and big ants - they have a lot in common. Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Warner Bros/Getty Images
  9. The Searchers

    The Merseybeat act best known for their hits Needles And Pins and When You Walk In The Room, took their name from the 1958 John Ford western.

    The Searchers: Scouse beat and a classic western
    The Searchers: Scouse beat and a classic western. Picture: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo/Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images
  10. The Knack

    The Los Angeles band, best known for their 1979 hit My Sharona, share their name with the 1965 British comedy The Knack... And How to Get It, starring Ray Brooks and Rita Tushingham. Coincidence? Possibly.

    The Knack: named after this classic film?
    The Knack: named after this classic film? Picture: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo/LMPC via Getty Images
  11. 3 Colours Red

    The Brit rockers chose their name by randomly picking an advert in the London listings magazine Time Out, one of which was plugging a showing of the final instalment of Krzysztof Kieślowski's "Three Colours" trilogy.

    3 Colours Red: not "Trois Couleur Bleu"
    3 Colours Red: not "Trois Couleur Bleu". Picture: Ian Dickson/Redferns/Getty Images/Album/Alamy Stock Photo
  12. Godspeed You! Black Emperor

    The Canadian post-rockers named themselves after an obscure Japanese documentary about biker gangs from 1976.

    Godspeed You! Black Emperor trailer (1976)

  13. Goldfinger

    The LA punks take their name, of course, from the 1964 James Bond classic, starring Sean Connery.

    Goldfinger Official Trailer #1 - Sean Connery Movie (1964) HD

  14. All About Eve

    The 1980s gothic rock act named themselves after a 1950 drama starring Bette Davis.

    All About Eve: Bette Davis, Julianne Regan and Tim Bricheno
    All About Eve: Bette Davis, Julianne Regan and Tim Bricheno. Picture: LMPC/Graham Tucker/Redferns/Getty
  15. Babes In Toyland

    The Minneapolis alt rock band fronted by Kat Bjelland are named after the 1934 Laurel & Hardy musical (or its 1961 remake!), itself named after a 1903 operetta.

    Babes In Toyland: Laurel & Hardy meet grunge
    Babes In Toyland: Laurel & Hardy meet grunge. Picture: LMPC via Getty Images/Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
  16. BMX Bandits

    The Scottish indie rockers were formed in 1985 and named after a 1983 Australian comedy starring a young Nicole Kidman.

    The poster for BMX Bandits (1983)
    The poster for BMX Bandits (1983). Picture: Everett Collection, Inc/Alamy Stock Photo
  17. Gojira

    The French metal band were originally called "Godzilla" but had to change the name for legal reasons, so they reverted to the original Japanese name of the titular prehistoric lizard, which is a portmanteau of the Japanese words for "gorilla" and "whale".

    Gojira: monsters and metal
    Gojira: monsters and metal. Picture: Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images/Joseph Branston/Total Guitar Magazine/Future via Getty Images
  18. Suspiria

    The 90s darkwave duo of Matthew Lucian and Mark Tansley took their name from Dario Argento's 1977 gothic horror, later remade in 2018 with a Thom Yorke soundtrack. Argento himself took the name from Thomas De Quincey's book Suspiria de Profundis, which is Latin for "Sighs From The Depths".

    The British poster for Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977)
    The British poster for Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977). Picture: LMPC via Getty Images
  19. My Bloody Valentine

    They've never confirmed where exactly they took the name from, but the Irish noise rock band has the same title as a 1981 Canadian slasher film, which is set in a mine. It was remade in 3D in 2009. The name is a pun on the 1930s show tune My Funny Valentine.

    My Bloody Valentine: shoegaze inspiration?
    My Bloody Valentine: shoegaze inspiration? Picture: AJ Barratt/Avalon/Getty Images/Everett Collection, Inc/Alamy Stock Photo
  20. Teeth Of The Sea

    The best band-named-after-a-film of all: as well as being the name of a London group, "Teeth Of The Sea" is the English translation of the title the classic thriller Jaws went under in France, ie "Les Dents De La Mer".

    Les Dents De La Mer: the French Jaws. Mon dieu!
    Les Dents De La Mer: the French Jaws. Mon dieu! Picture: Collection Christophel / Alamy Stock Photo

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