When it comes to scary/spooky/crazy music videos, I don’t have a solid opinion on what’s considered too much or too little. My shock limit is out of whack. I’m a fan of batshit insane music videos with a purpose…or with no purpose but to entertain with the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Like the following:
5. Aphex Twin – “Rubber Johnny” (2005)
Of course: the majority of IDM maestro Aphex Twin’s music videos (directed by Chris Cunningham) are severely damaged, with the doppelgangered-out duo of “Windowlicker” and “Come to Daddy” earning honors. But in the end, a paraplegic mutant child with social tics and sporadic twitches wins out.
Unfortunately, this video probably inspired every jittery, florescent lit, cut-up shock horror to date. Say you’re sorry, Richard D. James.
4. Lightning Bolt – “13 Monsters” (2001)
Not abiding by the rules of typical disturbia, drum and bass duo Lightning Bolt barrel through their noisy and fractured compositions like a muzzle of bees gnawing away at yer snout…with kisses! These guys know the difference between the strange and hilariously sick, and straddle the line perfectly.
If you grew up in the 80s, “13 Monsters” may dredge up some bizarro memories of Cap’n Crunch and Popples coupled with 8-bit nonsense as the very wallpaper of your poor psyche. Pretty sick, but really awesome. I Love the Hades?
3. Renaldo and the Loaf – “Songs for Swinging Larvae” (1981)
A play on the Frank Sinatra 1955 LP Songs for Swingin’ Lovers, this cautionary tale about divorce is the work of Renaldo and the Loaf, an English duo that swings in close proximity to The Residents in terms of grotesque songs and imagery. The first time I watched this sicko pop abomination was on The Residents’ Icky Flix DVD, a collection of creepy videos in its own right.
“Songs for Swinging Larvae” in its disgusting entirety makes me feel odd and seasick about my place in the world. Mission accomplished, I guess.
2. Magma – “De Futura” (live from 1977, but too classic to pass up!)
(Start at 6:05 for the most intensely zonked-out moments in music!)
Magma, a personal favorite of mine, are a progressive rock group of epic proportions, ambitious enough to create their own genre (Zeuhl) and dialect (Kobaian) to effectively baffle the shit out of anyone from Planet Earth. Wispy, cutesy Sigur Ros this is not: “De Futura”, from their 1976 LP Üdü Wüdü, exemplifies everything this astral cult stands for–brutally fuzzed out basslines, doomsday vocals and the fascinating, terrifying rhythms of Christian Vander, Magma mastermind and greatest drummer alive. Kobaia is de Hundin!
1. Jan Svankmajer – “The Ossuary” (1970)
(Watch in full screen mode if possible; music starts at 2:12.)
Jan Svankmajer is one of the greatest, most important, and most unappreciated directors of all time. His body of revolutionary work spans decades, and the subjects he explores–gluttony, human behavior, the supernatural–have and will always be relevant. The Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora is a seldom-traveled and taped location, and we have Svankmajer to thank for bringing its horrific and eerily beautiful architecture to us, through video and song. Incredible.