5 Disturbing Music Videos

It’s true what they say: Life’s no fun without a good scare. It’s easy to get complacent in life, sitting in front of the computer screen, binge-watching your favorite series for the umpteenth time, idly swiping your thumb across a mobile game, or, heaven forbid, sinking into the squalid depths of reality TV. Every now and then, we need media to make us feel a little unsettled. So here are 5 disturbing music videos to give you nightmares.

“The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination.”
-H. P. Lovecraft

5. “Give Me an Answer” by Low Roar

With this video being inspired by Death Stranding, the upcoming game from avant garde game designer Hideo Kojima, you know you’re in for some weird shit. The scene plays out like a short horror film, presenting our protagonists in an eerie situation that immediately starts us wondering which, if any, will survive the strange ordeal to come. With impenetrable symbolism and an uneasy atmosphere, this video leaves us begging for answers that never come.

4. “Push It” by Garbage

The 90’s were a great decade for surreal music videos, and Garbage have always proudly flaunted their otherness. “Push It” features characters disturbing enough to rival any shock rocker’s video, kinky sexiness, appropriate references to the works of Rene Magritte and Stephen King, and a healthy dose of the occult. This cements Shirley Manson’s place as music’s Queen of Weirdos.

3. “Seraphim” by Mishkin Fitzgerald

This beautiful, heartfelt ballad by Birdeatsbaby frontwoman Mishkin Fitzgerald is accompanied by jarringly strange imagery. Figures in hoods, suffocating men, people in bondage or covered in ash, and other characters sit around an angelic Fitzgerald in what looks like a twisted rendition of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. The ceiling is hung with nooses, suggesting a dreadful inspiration for this song. It’s frightening, it’s tragic, and it’s stunning.

2. “Feral Love” by Chelsea Wolfe

Straightaway, this video bombards you with uncanny imagery. Wow, Chelsea Wolfe is beautiful, but also I am afraid she’ll wear my skin. These family home videos seem really out of place here. Oh shit, that’s a lot of blood. Wait, were those the twins from The Shining? And what are they going to do to that naked lady? OH GOD, NOT A BUNNY MASK. BIOSHOCK FLASHBACKS.

1. “Here Comes the Rain” by Foetus

One night, I was about to click off of YouTube and go to sleep when I saw this video pop up on my “Recommended” list. Oh sure, I have time to check out one last video before bed. What’s the harm?

I deeply regretted it.

This video steadily takes you further and further into a place you don’t want to go. Watching it feels like watching found footage of a serial killer’s day-to-day life. The drumbeats sound like the kind you’d hear on your way to be sacrificed to some ancient deity. And if you have a dental phobia, you should turn back now. I don’t know what J. G. Thirlwell is up to here, but it’s messed up and I want no part of it.

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‘How to Talk to Girls at Parties’ Review (No Spoilers)

On a very off chance, two or three years ago, I happened to come across a photo online that was taken of Nicole Kidman on the set of a new film. The name of the film? How to Talk to Girls at Parties. I was taken aback. Wait, what? Like that little story by Neil Gaiman that nobody’s really heard of? Curious, I looked into it, and proceeded to keep tabs on it. After a couple years passed, I figured, something must have happened, they never finished it, or they finished it but couldn’t get it distributed, or something. I was disappointed.

But earlier this year, a trailer for the film popped up, reigniting my excitement. Not only was this a take on a story from my favorite Gaiman collection (Fragile Things), but they’d merged it with the 1977 punk scene, a subject close to my heart. The trailer didn’t completely sell me on it, I was very skeptical. How do you stretch out an 18-page story and make a feature length film out of it? Did they just make up a bunch of nonsense to fill in the run time?

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How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a charming movie that, while it massively embellishes on a very short story, stays true to the spirit of Gaiman’s works: Fairy tales for grown-ups, that can still capture wonder and imagination no matter what your age or walk of life. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s a lot of fun, and fits in very well with Gaiman’s world. I would even put it above Stardust (2007), which I thought was too exaggerated, too Hollywood, and didn’t do the source material’s endearing whimsical nature justice. How to Talk to Girls is an indie film through and through, and the creative enthusiasm of the team behind it shows. This isn’t a movie made to make money, to feed to the masses in convenient servings of banality; it is something either you like or you don’t, and it is unapologetic about its personality.

The plot goes as such: Enn, a teenage punk in 1977 Croydon, goes to the wrong party, and ends up meeting some very strange girls, including Zan, an outsider. She, like Enn, is frustrated with the status quo and restrictions of her society, and wishes to break outside of it. He takes her to explore the world of punk rock, in which she promptly flourishes. However, the true nature behind Zan, her people, and her purpose, slowly comes to light, until Enn realizes he and his friends must take action or risk losing her forever.

The film could certainly be accused of being built around the Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype, but I would argue that Zan shows too much agency, and that the story is truly about her journey to self-realization, while Enn is more there as an aid and witness to her development, and learns about himself along the way. At first blush, Enn does appear to be the protagonist, and he does have his own arc, of course, but Zan is the real hero of the story, who grows beyond her limitations into something greater. It’s a nice change of pace from so many films of this kind, that are about an awkward boy gaining confidence through his supportive girlfriend to achieve his dreams. This movie does service to all of its characters, Zan and Enn in particular, of course. They both have times to shine, arcs to fulfill, and greater things to become.

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That isn’t to say the film doesn’t have its low points. It is very obviously the victim of poor editing, as Nicole Kidman’s Bodicea character is under-developed, with scenes fleshing her out further seemingly missing, causing some of the dialogue between her and protagonist Enn make little sense. The special effects are also spotty, details of Zan’s collective are somewhat confusing, and some concepts are undercooked. There is a vaguely environmental theme that crops up from time to time, but it is inconsistent and never fully realized.

One thing I’m not sure if I should criticize or not is Vic’s arc. Vic attends the party with Enn at the beginning, and has an experience he doesn’t quite understand. Throughout the film, we see moments of discomfort from him, which, eventually, he is required to face up to. However, exactly what that is that he is facing is unclear. I could extrapolate plenty of answers, and just because something requires you to think and come to your own conclusions doesn’t make it bad, but I feel like the movie might have benefited from clarifying this particular plot point.

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Overall, How to Talk to Girls at Parties is not a perfect film, but it does its source material justice and is an enjoyable ride, and in this age of multi-million dollar blockbuster trash heaps, supporting indie films is important. While the special effects are low-budget, it remains visually striking, from the set design, to the costumes, and the group performances with the punks and Zan’s people. While the very basic concept behind the story is one of the oldest tropes — forbidden love between two teenagers — it manages to give it a fresh twist and subvert your expectations.

The movie is available for free with an Amazon Prime subscription, and you can stream it on YouTube and Google Play.

 

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The Post-Punk Band Nobody Ever Told You About

When I first heard about this band, I was angry. Angry that this band had existed all this time and no one had ever told me about them. This is how I found them: I pulled up a list of post punk bands from Wikipedia and just made my way down the list. If I didn’t know the band, I’d look them up on YouTube. Luckily, these English fellows were near the top so it didn’t take long for me to discover them.

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And Also the Trees are a stunning blend of sound, comparable to The Cure, Joy Division, and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, yet retaining a mood all their own. They sound like the ghosts of the past come back to haunt you through your stereo, infecting your brain with a sickness divine.

Formed in 1979 (the same year Joy Division’s sophomore album Unknown Pleasures was released) in Worcestershire, the band was comprised of two pairs of brothers; Simon Huw Jones (vocals), Justin Jones (guitar), Nick Havas (drums), and Graham Havas (bass). They started very much from nothing, having no prior musical experience, requiring them to teach themselves to play their instruments. After a few rough recordings, they caught the attention of Robert Smith of The Cure, who brought them on tour. The Cure’s drummer, Lol Tolhurst, later produced their self-titled album.

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The band became popular in Europe, but never broke into the USA. It’s a shame, because I feel they should be held in the same esteem as other legendary post-punk artists. The band is still active to this day, though the Havas brothers have dropped out. Their latest release as of this writing is 2016’s Born into the Waves.

Their song “So This is Silence” has strong similarities to The Cure’s Pornography album, with it’s oppressively dark ethos of loneliness and despair, as if something horrible has happened and all the singer can do is wail in agony into the abyss. “Maps in Her Wrists and Arms” conjures the image of a frail dope fiend, like Mary Tyrone wandering through her house in a haze at night. “Slow Pulse Boy” tells the tale of a PTSD-ridden soldier remembering the tragedy of the lives lost in war.

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And Also the Trees have a deeply evocative and haunting sound. Within their songs you can find phantasmal murderers lurking out of the fog to stalk the London streets, the ghost of a long-lost lover now only remembered in images, and scenes of horror and violence driving one into shrieking madness.

Out of their discography, I would most recommend the album Virus Meadow, which remains my favorite of theirs.  Every track is a solid example of the band at their best, starting off with the ominous “Slow Pulse Boy” and closing out with the eerie, haunting imagery of “The Headless Clay Woman.” This album should have been one of the great post-punk albums, up there with Disintegration and Closer. It holds you in a mystical state of both terror and wonder, waiting for the next note, the next revelation.

If you fancy yourself an avid, deep-cut music aficionado, this is a band you need to discover. It’s an experience quite unlike any other, that transports you into a world of its own.

Back From the Abyss

Well, well, well, here we are again. It appears my foray into the exclusively Lynchian has come to a close, and thus I am seeking to move on to more varied pastures.  Twin Peaks: The Return came to a close and I found myself without anything more to say on the subject. Just no flow of thought. On the other hand, my mind was buzzing with ideas when it came to things such as video games, music, film, and other television shows.

Bloodborne, Death Stranding, The Legend of Zelda, the DCEU, underground music, and pop culture in general has become my intrigue. I have so much to say, it has become unreasonable to limit myself, or to force myself to continue within a framework that does not fascinate me anymore.

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“When you come in here and you hear me typing, or whether you don’t hear me typing, or whatever the fuck you hear me doing; when I’m in here, it means that I am working. That means, don’t come in.”

-Jack Torrance, The Shining

Meanwhile, struggles with social anxiety and depression made it strenuous to stick to my goal of one article per month. While I will continue to try and publish as often as I can, by necessity, this blog will be more free form.

So, thus ends my brief update. I look forward to a prosperous and rewarding future here, and sharing my ideas with all of you. Cheers.