Beyond Film #3 – Horror Set to Music

10 August 2009 at 18:30 (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Inspired by Alyx, queen bee blogger at Feminist Music Geek, I am posting links to two fun horror movie inspired music videos. You will notice that the granddaddy of the genre, “Thriller,” is not included in this list. I’ve done this because 1) I’ve already discussed “Thriller” in a previous post (see “Beyond Film – So You Think You Can Dance) and 2) We’ve all seen plenty of “Thriller” since Michael Jackson’s passing, that it doesn’t seem to warrant further discussion. Instead, I’d like to look at some lesser-known examples.

First up, Stabbing Westward’s “Shame,” which I am unable to embed because the jerkoffs at BMG will not let me. Ironically, the fact that I’m not embedding the video is really their loss… but anyway, click on the picture below and it will link you to the video.

The album cover for Stabbing Westwards Blister, Burn & Peel, which features the track Shame.

The album cover for Stabbing Westward's "Blister, Burn & Peel," which features the track "Shame."

I remember this video from one of my brother’s recorded-from-TV copies of 120 Minutes–oh, the “Alternative” years, the nineties! I miss em. Anyway, I appreciate the way the video begins as this typical narrative music video with cuts between the story of the girl stalked by the psychopath and then the band playing the accompanying music. The tone is serious and the lunatic boyfriend frightening; but as the band sneaks away to watch the more interesting events of the story unfold, the mood becomes lightened with humor. The video, in essence, becomes about horror spectatorship, with the band members rooting for the female hero. It also breaks down the expectation that performance and narrative will run parallel and never the two shall meet. Stabbing Westward may not have amounted to much, but this video at least proves they had some interesting contributions to their period of popular music.

Next up: Foo Fighters’ “Everlong,” which also cannot be embedded into my post because some douchie record exec wants complete control over distribution. This is really cramping my style, but again, click the picture below:

Dave Grohl in the Foo Fighters video Everlong

Dave Grohl in the Foo Fighters video "Everlong"

“Everlong” may be one of my favorite videos ever. It combines a terrific song with competing dream sequences. Graphic match editing transitions the narrative from waking life to nightmare. Director Michel Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame establishes his sensibility better in this four-minute video than in the 106 minutes that comprise The Science of Sleep. And once again, as with Stabbing Westward, the video ends with a breakdown between narrative and performance; for me, the key moment is when drummer Taylor Hawkins casts off his wig. And speaking of, the video does an excellent job of satirizing gender rolls through its use of drag, hyper masculine and feminine performances, and Freudian imagery (big hand=big phallus).

If you can think of any others I’ve neglected (excluding those promotional music videos for horror soundtracks) please post a link the in comments.



  1. Alyx Vesey said,

    Very rad post, Caitlin (and also — very sly way of linking videos that can’t be embedded). Both of these videos are great and bring back so many fond memories! Thanks for posting this.

    Ramping up the Freudianism, apparently the large hand in “Everlong” came from a recurring nightmare in Gondry’s youth.

    A couple of videos that scare me:

    Aphex Twin – Come to Daddy (dir. Chris Cunningham)
    Tool – Sober (dir. Fred Stuhr)
    The Horrors – Sheila is a Parasite (dir. Chris Cunningham)
    Daft Punk – The Prime Time of Your Life (dir. Tony Gardner)

    • Alyx Vesey said,

      Fun fact about Tony Gardner — his first job was helping out with effects make-up in “Thriller.”

    • c8ic8 said,

      Thanks so much for sharing more examples! I knew you would have some. The only one I’m familiar with as “Sheila is a Parasite,” and I agree that it’s very creepy. I’ll have to check out the others soon.

      Maybe you could write a guest post about this? Let me know if you’d be interested!

      • Alyx Vesey said,

        I could. Let me do some more digging.

  2. Music Video Auteuses: Floria Sigismondi « Feminist Music Geek said,

    […] musicians Sigismondi has worked with (click on the artists’ names). Also, having read a delightful post on music videos inspired by horror films from my friend Caitlin at Dark Room, I thought […]

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