The Scariest Music Videos Ever Made
Published on 30 October 2020
Music videos are a funny thing. Some bands keep it simple, showing a simple performance of the track at a concert or at the studio, some like to run around naked (thanks Blink 182) and some like to just go all out and scare the bejeezus out of you. While they may not have quite the same impact they used to since we all became internet boffins, there was a period where music videos were king and had the power to propel tracks to a far larger audience, either through entertainment or sheer controversy. Well, with Halloween just around the corner, we thought we'd focus on the latter and showcase some of the most downright creepy videos ever made. Turn away now if you're easily spooked, this is about to get weird...
Michael Jackson - Thriller
We may as well start at the first video that comes to mind, the cinematic and utterly iconic Thriller video. The now-legendary video came together when Jackson called director John Landis after seeing his film American Werewolf in London for the first time. Amazed by the concept of it, the pair got together to create one of the most well-known videos in history. The video references a ton of different horror movies and features MJ morphing into a werewolf and a Zombie before performing a dance routine alongside his undead cronies. The dance was something he put a lot of thought into, insisting that it shouldn't be comical while attempting to replicate the jerky movements of zombies in films. Upon its premiere, Jackson actually tried to block the release of the video after threats being excommunicated from his church (hence the message at the start) but thankfully it went ahead regardless and became one of the most instantly recognisable, over the top and fantastic videos of all time.
Metallica - Enter Sandman
If you're a metalhead then you'll need no introduction to the creepy nightmarish land of Metallica's Enter Sandman. As only the band's second video, this one certainly left an impression - showcasing a terrifying nightmare sequence in keeping with the lyrics of the song. The video was directed by Wayne Isham who's something of a legend when it comes to music videos, having worked with Motley Crue and Ozzy, along with artists such as Bon Jovi and Pink Floyd. The video focuses on a young child and throughout we see unnerving flickering sequences of them drowning, encountering the Sandman, being chased by a truck and falling off a building, finally cumulating in the prayer section for added creepiness. If that doesn't earn it a place on this list we've no idea what would! Clearly, we're not the only ones it made an impression on either since it won Best Hard Rock Video at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards... Don't watch this one before you go to bed... Unless you fancy a journey to never-never land...
Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy
It wouldn't be a list of freaky videos without a bit of Aphex in the mix. Mysterious, quirky and let's face it, just straight-up strange, his songs have been praised as some of the most influential electronic music ever created and his videos? Well, you're about to see for yourself. I mean, it's hard to know where to even start but this weirdfest was directed by Chris Cunningham who worked with a bunch of electronic artists ranging from Squarepusher to Bjork. Filmed on the same council estate as many scenes from A Clockwork Orange the video shows a gang of children with Aphex's face causing havoc and generally terrifying the neighbourhood as they chant the lyrics. Although one of the artist's least favourite of the tracks he's written, the tune and video are pretty unforgettable and have gone down in history.
Tool - Sober
Tool are no strangers to the strange and deranged either. We could've picked a handful of their videos, to be honest, but we decided to go for the stop motion spookiness of Sober. Featuring freaky little models designed by guitarist Adam Jones, we're taken on a hellish journey through an abandoned house where we see pretty much all the weirdness you could ever imagine from floating people to clay figures twitching wildly. In all honesty, we'd struggle to describe everything that's going on here but watch it and tell us it doesn't make your skin crawl. Great tune, weird video - we'll leave it at that!
Marilyn Manson - Tourniquet
Well of course we were going to end up here. You didn't think we were going to make a list of scary videos and not have the king of horror involved did you? Please... Marylin Manson has been a spooky guy from the get-go and there are few artists who can boast the creativity and notoriety of his early work. I mean there were literally demonstrations against his performances along with headline news pieces focused on the damage his music was doing. The Tourniquet video was directed by Floria Sigismondi who has a pretty impressive filmography of videos with artists from Justin Timberlake to David Bowie. I bet neither of them had quite the same vision as Manson though! In order to prepare herself for creating this twisted masterpiece she put herself through a period of intentional sleep deprivation and intended the film to represent the fears we all hold in our "collective conscious". Focusing on an amorphous humanoid on wheels that Manson seems to create, this is as jumpy as some horror movies with waaay better costumes and makeup! Have a look but make sure you leave the lights on...
Still with us? You must be brave! That was quite a journey and we're sure it doesn't stop there... As long as there's music there are going to be videos that don't quite fit into the Top 10 mould and what better time to revisit some our favourites than Halloween? Get yourself a creepy playlist sorted and let us know what videos gave you shivers in the comments, we'll be waiting in our corpse paint!