We’ve seen this story before: A new trailer is released for a comic-book movie or a franchise reboot. Playing in the background is a slow, atmospheric cover of some tune that came out 20 to 40 years before the film’s target demographic was born. It’s often a cover created just for the trailer, and doesn’t exist anywhere beyond that 30-second clip (it almost never even appears in the actual movie).
Kelly Hoppenjans’ creepy cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” could be the perfect song to appear alongside the next installment of A Nightmare on Elm Street or the Suicide Squad series. But the Nashville-based indie-pop singer forgoes that part of the equation, releasing the track on its own as a single.
These days hearing Metallica’s original 1991 song is more likely to conjures images of Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera running out to the mound than anything particularly ghoulish. So the cover feels like a welcome one. Hoppenjans told Cover Me that her goal was to delve into the dark themes in the lyrics. “Everyone knows ‘Enter Sandman,’ but if you really listen to the words, they’re terrifying — creepy yet weirdly enticing,” she tells us. “I wanted to create a version that puts those words front and center and sounds like the beginning of a horror movie, when you’re still waiting for a monster to jump out.”
Though Hoppenjans classifies herself as a folk singer, in the vein of Fiona Apple and Adia Victoria, she does not shy away from the hard stuff either. “I’ve always been a big fan of loud, dirty, screaming-guitar rock music, and Metallica are just the best at that,” she says. According to Hoppenjans, she took her inspiration from the work of legendary film composer Ennio Morricone as well as Angelo Badalamenti of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet fame.
Hoppenjans’ soundtrack in search of a movie opens with a series of high-pitched pings, as if the killer is ready to open the door. As Hoppenjans sings “Say your prayers little one” with a piano accompaniment that sounds like it was arranged by John Carpenter himself, you can almost see the camera slowly moving down the sparsely lit hallway. But perhaps the most sinister part of the song is when she gets to the child’s prayer section, “Now I lay me down to sleep …” she speaks with such a bleak tone that any kid who heard it would probably hide under the sheets and wait for a daylight that might never come.
“Sleep with one eye open,” indeed!
Photo by John Brown.
Click here to listen to more Metallica covers.