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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Netflix’s ‘Maniac’ Review (No Spoilers)

With such hit series as Stranger ThingsBlack Mirror, and Ozark to live up to, Netflix is under a lot of pressure to release the next great dark horse success. With Cary Fukunaga of True Detective and Patrick Somerville of The Leftovers as the director and creator respectively, you could expect great things from their latest effort, the limited series Maniac. The only problem is, you could expect a lot of bad things, too.

I could not have been more blown away by the first three episodes of Maniac. Stylistically and thematically, it heavily draws on the works of Philip K. Dick, the mind behind Total Recall and Minority Report. Like Dick’s stories, Maniac plays on themes of paranoia, isolation, and insanity. Our story follows two characters, Annie and Owen, who are both struggling with mental illness and family conflict. Their paths lead them both to a trial for a new pharmaceutical that promises to eventually do away with therapy, by resolving peoples’ psychological issues through induced dream-like experiences. During the course of the trial, we learn about the skeletons in Annie and Owen’s closets, and attempt to resolve these issues by going over them.

Again. And again. And again. And again.

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For at least five episodes, as the trial goes into the “B pill” testing phase, they go over the same information, and the plot goes nowhere. While the first three episodes do a good job of setting a tone, constructing a world, and getting us invested in our characters, all the episodes in the middle completely undo that. Rather than making good use of the world they’ve already done an excellent job in establishing, Maniac goes off in haphazard and pointless directions for no apparent reason other than to do something ‘wacky,’ because, apparently, going on inexplicable and self-indulgent tangents is a proper substitute for actual substance these days.

While there is some tongue-in-cheek humor established early on, by the middle, the series has gone off the deep end into over-the-top goofiness. It’s a true shame, because Jonah Hill and Emma Stone are better in this series than I have ever seen them before, and really proved that they have grown as performers since they appeared together in 2007’s Superbad and can deliver grown-up, mature, and compelling performances. While they still give good performances in the episodes after, it loses much of its impact in the flood of irredeemably lame gimmicks. By the ending, the series has regained some of its form, but, overall, it’s just a completely different show by then, and I hardly care what happens to the characters.

 

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Besides the terrible excuse for humor, the episodes in the B-pill phase have another inexcusable flaw: They essentially present us with a mystery to which we already know the answer, rendering the investigation next to pointless. And, in case we somehow didn’t get the “metaphors,” we’re given a lengthy exposition scene, explaining to us in unnecessary detail exactly what it represented. For clarification, but without spoilers, here’s what we sit through: First, we witness the back story of our characters. Then, we sit through a “dream sequence” full of metaphors for the back story that we just witnessed. Finally, the character explains their back story again, and how the metaphors tied in with it. This recycling of information over the course of multiple episodes is mind-numbingly boring, and absolutely killed my interest in the characters, their struggles, their development, their resolutions, etc. As much as I had empathized with them previously, I now just wanted to get to the end of the series so I could be done with it.

It’s a tragedy to see something as amazing as Maniac‘s first three episodes lead into something as trite, dull, and uninspired as its remaining episodes. What could have been a masterpiece ended up just a lot of failed potential. I wish I could whole-heartedly recommend this series to you. As it is, I’m left warning you ahead of time, you’ll never get to see the ending to the amazing story you’re presented with. Instead, you get to watch a so-stupid-it’s-offensive sketch show with some sci-fi wraparound.

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