Look, musical trends and subgenres will always change along with the calendar. But getting the hell scared out of you? That is eternal. Here’s a brief sample of scary videos that have creeped us out visually and/or sonically, with some laugh-laden ones to stabilize your fear. Briefly.
1. Teenage Bottlerocket – “Dead Saturday”
Teenage Bottlerocket remind us how in a world of living on digital rectangles, there’s nothing like going to a punk-rock show in a bad neighborhood. That is until the zombies show up, and there’s nobody left to clean up the place.
2. frnk iero andthe cellabration – “Joyriding”
We knew something was up when every single thing in this video was white. But let’s face it: When the red stuff is flowing, nobody thinks it’s an ad for V8. We like that part at the end where Frank Iero smiles like he’s just mowed down a legion of people who made fun of his dog. Like the Sex Pistols, he means it, maaaaaan…
3. Ice Nine Kills – “Stabbing In The Dark”
This micro-movie begins with frontman Spencer Charnas has a therapy session that blurs his past with the present. While we’re all kind of desensitized by Stabby McKnife flicks, it’s the violent eye exam Charnas gives the prison guard at the 4:06 point that makes us queasy.
4. Night Birds – “Mutiny At Muscle Beach”
Here the intrepid punks are bound and gagged by a crazed killer who plans to torture them with their gear. Drumsticks are pushed through skulls, bass strings are implements of garroting, mics are for gagging not lagging and only guitarist PJ Russo gets his fingers chopped up with a real axe so he can’t play his own instrument.
5. Portal – “Curtain”
Australian death-metal avatars Portal have one cloven hoof in contemporary terror and the other far, far away in early film history. “Curtain” looks like it was made in 1932 but still gives you all the psychological creeps of modern life (even if there aren’t any politicians in it). A blackened heart never looked so good.
6. Aphex Twin – “Come To Daddy”
Acclaimed electronic artist Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, isn’t a particularly horrifying entity in of himself. But when his face is imposed over groups of murderous schoolchildren and flexing cathode rays, it’s a game-changer. The wicked demon screaming in your grandma’s face seals the deal.
7. Skinny Puppy – “Worlock”
The iconic industrial band outdid themselves on this 1990 clip. Baring some connective footage of lead singer Ogre beaten bloody and ready for death, this video is essentially a montage of sections from horror films that were banned from inclusion in regular theatrical releases. That vicious removal of someone’s spinal column at 2:54 still widens eyes after all these years.
8. Marilyn Manson – “Overneath The Path Of Misery”
We always expect Marilyn Manson to ride the boundaries of decency. But in this Shia LaBeouf-directed video, there’s more stuff you can shake a NSFW warning at. Sticking the skewer through the model’s cheek and running it in and out like he’s attempting a violin concerto is a true gag-reflex reaction.
9. Misfits – “Scream”
No, this isn’t footage taken after the Misfits’ legendary Madison Square Garden show last week. (The dead giveaway is obviously Michale Graves singing on this one.) Here, a relatively calm ER suddenly turns into a horror story of triage with bleeding Misfits fans running in as the band themselves are wheeled in on gurneys for a bit of the old ultraviolence.
10. Nine Inch Nails – “Help Me I Am In Hell”
Hope you didn’t eat a big meal just now. In this clip from Nine Inch Nails’ Broken EP, a man eats a steak in a room covered in flies. It’s a slow nausea, but it’s still captivating. It’s the second most terrifying clip to come from the Broken EP, as the first (“Happiness In Slavery”) is still pretty raw in its sado-masochism and blood and guts.
11. New Years Day – “Shut Up”
Taking their cues from the 2000 movie adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ trademark novel American Psycho, New Years Day make a statement with more than a splash of blood. From the status-mongering of business card design to swinging an axe over a problematic co-worker, Ash Costello does the crimson wash with grace and swagger.
13. Bring Me The Horizon – “Follow You”
Like a scene from any of Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto franchise, there’s definitely a serious knee-jerk shock factor at play on this Bring Me The Horizon clip. What’s telling is that most of the outcry about this video stemmed from the dog getting snuffed on the porch (the same dog licking the brain of the corpse in the living room sequence) as opposed to anyone else in the street being murdered. But as we see at the end, love triumphs over all. Even zombies.