Some things are easy to categorise as scary. Anyone who’s anyone will tell you that The Exorcist or Paranormal Activity are ‘scary’ films. Most people would agree that American Horror Story is a scary TV show. A lot of people would say Silent Hill or Dead Space are fright-worthy games. When it comes to music though, unless you delve into the realms of Death Metal and you’re an Ariana Grande fan, you’re not really going to be frightened.
Every once in a while, however, a band or artist pulls out the stops and make a piece of video art that sends shivers down your spine. While people often associate the fear factor with the likes of Marilyn Manson and so on, this isn’t always the case, as we’ll see.
Thanks to a few suggestions from friends, and some choices of my own, I’ve compiled a little playlist of some of the freakiest videos around. So sit back and enjoy what the music world has to offer. Happy Halloween.
Also, ‘Thriller’ is not on this list.
The Horrors – ‘Sheena is a Parasite’
Who’d have thought the lovely Gothic lads who brought you ‘Still Life’ could have begun by creating something as hideous as this? ‘Sheena is a Parasite’ is the shortest song on this list, clocking in at one minute 40 seconds, and pretty much consists of blaring Post-Punk coupled with Faris Badwan’s demented singing. The video is equally as disturbing; The Horrors stare intensely as they bat away at their respective instruments, the indie Sheena transforming into a horrific demon-like creature. Jeff Goldblum would be proud. I couldn’t even find the video on Youtube, I had to resort to Daily Motion. Sheena is more than a parasite; she’s a bloody terrifying music video!
Soundgarden – ‘Black Hole Sun’
After that hectic display of Post-Punk Gothic Rock, let’s chill out with some mid-90’s Grunge. Or we would, if it wasn’t for the freaking creepy faces staring back at us. Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’ is a damn good song, but it’s hard to imagine it without the plastic like residents of Suburban America. ‘Black Hole Sun’ is scary for an entirely different reason compared to every video on this list. Demonic smiles, lizard tongues and literal black hole suns aside, Soundgarden’s comment on Middle Class America as a materialistic, exaggerated, fake tanned community is dark and terrifying. Symbolism aside, ‘Black Hole Sun’ is also a pretty scary music video.
Slipknot – ‘The Devil in I’
As one would expect from a Slipknot song, ‘The Devil in I”s credentials for being on this list come in physical horror. There were probably a myriad of songs from the metal band I could have picked, but I’ve gone for one from their latest album. ‘The Devil in I’, for most of the video, isn’t that bad; just your average video of Slipknot performing to an audience of straitjacketed inmates. It’s only when you get the members eating their own arm/ripping their face off/exploding/getting mauled by dogs/etc that you enter the horror territory. I mean, this stuff is actually quite disturbing. Sure, I grew up listening to Radiohead and Genesis, but you have to appreciate the physical violence even from a metalhead perspective.
Aphex Twin – ‘Come to Daddy’
In my opinion, this is easily the scariest video on the list; it’s also probably the most predictable choice. ‘Come to Daddy’ is a regular feature on ‘Scariest Music Videos’ lists, and it’s not hard to see why. Richard D James doesn’t have the…. nicest face, to put it eloquently, and he likes to milk that on his album covers. Get that face and stick it on a load of rampaging school children and you’ve got the makings of one of the scariest music videos of all time. Not to mention a sick beat by Aphex Twin which adds to the atmosphere of the video. However, it’s when a weird creature with the face of James emerges from a TV, that’s when shit really kicks off! For God’s sake, just watch the video!
The Knife – ‘Silent Shout’
Finally, we end on a rather subdued and muted note. The Knife’s electronic layers soundtrack a dark and weird scene of contorted faces and hooded figures. What makes this video so creepy is not what the characters do, it’s what they don’t do. You’d be freaked out too if you saw a contorted face with a massive forehead and tiny eyes mouthing lyrics at you too. An extremely clever video, ‘Silent Shout’ is the subtlest video on this list; its horror is not so much in your face as it is… about the face. Sweet dreams.
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