So many music videos have intentionally tried to creep us out.
In the 1980s, it was obviously Michael Jackson’s innovative “Thriller” who took that cake. In subsequent years, videos by Tool, Marilyn Manson, and The Prodigy creeped us out beyond belief. They were meant to. MGMT’s video for “Kids” wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, either.
But, some music videos frighten us for other reasons — off-kilter humor or parody, psychedelic visuals got awry, awkward uses of early technology — and looking back, a lot of these videos haven’t aged all that well. On the other hand, videos like Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” was probably supposed to creep us out more than it actually did. I guess you could call it a shampoo commercial gone off the deep end.
So with Halloween coming up, we didn’t want to put out yet another list of spooky, scary videos featuring ghouls and ghosts — instead, let’s shine the shaky flashlight on the unintentionally oddball videos out there that are, frankly, just as messed up.
Comment below and add your own if you’ve got more to add! Here’s looking at you MC Hammer for your epic “Addams Groove” jam. But, we digress — on to the list…
Mick Jagger and David Bowie – “Dancing in the Streets”
This is, by far, the best worst music video of all time. This cover of the Martha and the Vandellas’ classic by these two rock giants comes up lame on every possible level; and the music video is a scary mess that would be frightening to any dad trying to convince their kids that Jagger and Bowie were two of the baddest musicians of their time.
Watch as Jagger dances as if he’s had one too many Crystal Pepsis. Watch David Bowie attempt to recreate the “Walk Like an Eygptian” music video at one point. See some really bad editing and choreography to the point where Jagger is singing to a video camera that nobody sees and actually stops at one point to take a swig from his soda can. At the 2:20 mark you can also spot Jagger apparently getting some direction from an earpiece that doesn’t exist. Come for the song, stay for the Bowie slo-mo jump!
Art of Noise – “Close”
This was definitely going for “1980s art school chic,” but it freaked me out as a kid and it still does. I didn’t understand what was going on when I was eight, and I still don’t. It’s some weird stuff here. Smashing stuff is fine, but when it’s done in sort of a stop-motion way with that freaky zombie girl… it’s just too much. She’ll haunt your dreams.
Salvatore Ganacci – “Horse”
This deep cut probably has a deep meaning, right? It can’t just be a music video where animals such as panda bears get their head rammed by the front of a car and an old lady gets punched in the face, right? Or can it? Either way, it should be shown before any scary movie playing at multiplexes. Either that, or this guy should be checked out by a great psychiatrist.
Interpol – “Evil”
Genesis had a killer video in the 1980s for their song, “Land of Confusion,” which ripped the Reagan administration and 1980s celebrity culture apart with lifelike caricature puppets. Puppets can be cool, and they can be creepy. In Interpol’s music video, they’re creepy. A strange puppet dude gets into a car accident, and the video ends (spoiler alert) with a dance number on a hospital gurney. While it’s still better than any Grey’s Anatomy episode, it’s definitely mind-boggling.
Godley and Creme – “Cry”
This music video was championed for its innovative early face-morphing technology. Michael Jackson later used the same trick for his “Black or White” video, and I guess the technology had improved but, still creepy. In Godley and Creme’s song however, babies’ faces morph into old men, then women, then everything in between; singing and crying, it’s kind of a bummer. This is just a disturbing video and it’s aged poorly like some of the dudes in this video who, you know, morphed into toddlers.
Weird Al Yankovic – “Perform This Way”
Weird Al is the Patron Saint of Parody who almost always hits his mark, especially when it comes to music videos, but this is such a stomach-curdling miss. Watch Al’s face gets digitally glued onto a Gaga-like body, watch him dance with his small intestine, and sing about, and wear way too much meat. It’s all a bit too much, and while it tried to poke fun at Lady Gaga for being a “shock” artist, it goes a little too far. It’s aged poorly (especially with Mamma Monster evolving into an Oscar winner and perennial music and film star) and this music video just eats it.
Björk – “losss”
This track off the Icelandic star’s record, Utopia, is terrific. Expectedly, the music video is hella-weird, and makes you think you popped one of Alice in Wonderland’s silly pills. Watch as the quirky Oscar nominee shapeshifts into, well, I don’t quite know. She may be in water or maybe she’s not. Is she morphing into a jellyfish, a baboon, or is it just hairy strands? Is that an intestine? How the heck am I mentioning intestine twice in this post? Lots of visuals here to unpack, but why bother. It’ll just kind of make you question everything.
Soundgarden – “Black Hole Sun”
Big-eyed people smiling way too mightily. Lightning. Locusts. This wasn’t meant to be a fun video. It was meant to shake us a bit. You knew this would be on the list, right? It’s the end of the world and Soundgarden are just happy to score it. But why do the people seem so creepily giddy about it? Are they just so happy and self-involved they don’t care about the demise of our planet or do they just love the song like the rest of us?
Kanye West & Lil Pump – “I Love It” (feat. Adele Givens)
The newly anointed “Ye” has made some fine music videos. This is not one of them. What do you get when you take Missy Elliott and cross it with cheesy effects courtesy of Minecraft and Roblox? And the highly sexual lyrics paired with this childish energy is just plain creepy. This whole video makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s a silly, inside joke that no one but West and Pump and their dumb, boxy bodysuits are in on. Scary bad.
So, now we need your help. What are your favorite weird, creepy, non-Halloween related music videos? Comment below!
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