If there’s ever a good time to compile a list of five of the scariest, most utterly horrifying music videos that have ever been created, then the week leading up to Halloween would surely be it.
However, I should preface this piece with an extreme graphic content warning.
These music videos will make Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ look like a Disney production, and as such, are not for the faint-hearted, or indeed anyone willing to retain their sanity.
5. ‘Wrong’ – Depeche Mode (2008)
A man wakes, bound and gagged, in the driver’s seat of a car as it rolls backwards downhill along a Los Angeles street at night, a terrifyingly realistic mask taped to his face. The vehicle soon begins a quickening decent, literally causing a trail of death and destruction; the band make a quick cameo, standing by on the sidewalk watching on, seemingly unfazed.
Taken as the lead single from the band’s twelfth studio album Sounds of the Universe, and directed by the prominent American music video director, Patrick Daughters (who has shot multiple videos for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kings of Leon and Feist), this Grammy-nominated clip may not be particularly visually shocking, but at least now you’ve still got time to stop reading and close the page now. This is absolutely your last chance.
4. ‘Born Villain’ – Marilyn Manson (2011)
Although technically a short film as opposed to a music video, Marilyn Manson’s Born Villain was used as a promotional trailer for his 2012 album of the same name, and was directed by none other than Shia LaBeouf. Why am I not even surprised?
The two reportedly became friends after meeting at a Kills concert; LaBeouf had apparently always been “intrigued” by the multi-talented Satanist, whose skill set stretches from not only song writing, but also to acting and painting. The song used in the film is not actually ‘Born Villain’, which is also an album track itself, but rather ‘Overneath the Path of Misery’, a separate song on Manson’s eighth studio album.
By far the most cringe-worthy part of the clip comes as Manson manually pierces the cheek of one of the film’s female subjects… and then keeps thrusting the rod around inside her mouth while it’s still embedded in the side of her face. Lovely.
3. ‘Obscure’ – Dir En Grey (2003)
‘Obscure’ somehow doesn’t quite summarise the music video for Japanese metal band’s track of the same name. Fittingly taken from their fourth studio album Vulgar, ‘Obscure’ was directed by filmmaker Hiroyuki Kondo and features dismembered bodies, blood-soaked Frankenstein-like cyborgs, and a gruesome orgy of undead geishas that is intercut with other graphic, even more disturbing visuals.
And people think Japanese game shows are bizarre…
2. ‘Come To Daddy’ – Aphex Twin (1997)
While there’s a plethora of Aphex Twin music videos that themselves could feature entirely throughout this list, ‘Come To Daddy’ is easily the freakiest clip issued by the Irish-born electronic musician: real name Richard D. James.
Serving as the album’s title track and lead single, the song’s video was directed by Chris Cunningham, and features a horrifying entity who is accidentally awoken by an old woman’s urinating dog in an otherwise abandoned carpark. To make matters worse, the thing’s followers are all small children, each wearing identical face masks (that are moulded to look like James himself). Together, they help to fully bring the being – who is trapped in a TV – to life, in a The Ring-meets-Lord Voldemort style resurrection, and they gather around him as he rasps “Come To Daddy”.
The entire video is the stuff of nightmares faultlessly realised.
1. ‘Happiness In Slavery’ – Nine Inch Nails (1992)
If Aphex Twin’s ‘Come To Daddy’ – which tops so many similar polls – only ranks at number two here, there cannot be a more obvious warning than to stop reading right now, close your browser and go and fetch yourself a hot cup of tea, while trying not to look over your shoulder for freaky children, bloody geishas and Marilyn Manson.
However you decide to try and spend the next few hours, be it burying your head beneath your pillow, wrapped up in your blankets like a sweaty burrito, or rocking backwards and forwards in a foetal position on the floor, please – DO NOT WATCH THIS FINAL CLIP.
If you’d like to read a description of THE most gruesome music video ever created before viewing it, head to Wikipedia instead: here.
‘Happiness in Slavery’ is taken from the 1992 album Broken by Nine Inch Nails, while the track’s music video was shot by award-winning producer and director Jon Reiss and was unsurprisingly universally banned on its release.
I’ll now be forever shuddering.