10 Horror Inspired Music Videos
It's ironic that when you think of horror, your mind begins to replay the countless times you've watched white people run from something scary, when in fact it's Black people who experience real life horror the most (slavery, police brutality and gang violence to name a few). So, it's no surprise that horror is a theme often explored in music videos, while directors like Jordan Peele are making the connection between Black culture and horror more prevalent in the film industry, it's been present in music videos for a while, mainly because unlike film, music has always been one of our most accessible form of art and expression. This list takes a look at those disturbing, supernatural and real life horror music videos that will sit playing in your mind once you've finished watching.
10. Geto Boys - Mind Playing Tricks On Me
This is one of those songs that can have two completely different meanings, with the video it song resembles something out of a fictional horror film, but without it reflects the paranoia faced living in crime ridden neighbourhoods of having to watch your back permanently. While you can see the direct references to horror films such as Nightmare on Elm Street, the video also features scenes that reflect reality. This is direct reference to the real life horror that can face Black people. Horror films need to invent the idea that someone's stalking you or wanting to murder you but this can be everyday life for someone surrounded by gang violence.
9. NAO - Bad Blood
Bad Blood is so surreal that you can interpret in many different ways. The premise of the video is a woman walking through an abandoned warehouse making roots grow through white people. Whether you can see that the woman is making white people be held accountable, a reference to women being the creator, or the fact that woman are able to make something beautiful out of something bad, its up for interpretation. Either way the video will leave you both memorised and haunted by what you see.
8. Rockwell - Someone's Watching Me
This pop paranoid classic sums up the 80's era of horror up pretty well with the racing synth beat and Michael Jackson's high pitch backing vocals. There's a lot of literal horror referencing too, that include a haunted house, floating heads, ravens, graveyards, and most famously the shower scene that refers to Psycho. If you're making a Halloween music playlist this song is an essential, it's only when you sit and listen to the lyrics that you notice how creepy it really is.
7. FKA Twigs - Video Girl
FKA twigs is well known for her haunting take on R&b with whispery vocals and slowed down beats, she was the female answer to the Weeknd when she first debuted Two Weeks back in 2014. But it's Video Girl that got people shook when it was released, people's initial judgement of her being demonic (which you can see in the comments) are just lazy, Black people should be able to embrace and express horror just like anyone else. We see twig's lover, a prisoner, get executed and she begins to dance around his body. Twigs herself has said that she dances as a way of dealing with things and as we witness horror so regularly these days due to having access to the whole world in the palm of hands, having the ability to use dance as a coping mechanism, is something we can all relate to as we each have our own.
6. Kanye West - Black Skinhead
Kanye's album Yeezus seriously had hip hop fans divided, it was a stark contrast to his critically acclaimed album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and while it had similar dark themes, Kanye took it much further with Yeezus. When West released Black Skinhead, the direct horror references are obvious with lyrics such as "They say I'm possessed, it's an omen" and "I'm aware I'm a wolf, soon as the moon hit". The song however is generally about racism and it being turned on its head as during this time, before the whole Trump fiasco, Kanye was seen as being very pro Black. So, it's only natural that the video reflects this, with the imagery of the KKK but with Black eyes and hoods and a white body dancing with a blacked out face that make for uneasy viewing.
5. The Weeknd - Wicked Games
Wicked Games is where it all began with The Weeknd, he is known for including some sort of blood, horror or disturbing aspects into all of his music videos, referencing many different horror films. While Wicked Games starts off relatively normal with "girl dancing half naked" basic music video trope, as soon as the camera pans the video becomes something entirely different. The distorted shadow that doesn't particularly look that sexual anymore along with the Weeknd's almost drugged like gaze at the camera, makes the viewer feel extremely unsettled and this feeling continues for the rest of the video. It was hard to pick just one for this list but here are some honourable mentions include The Hills, In Your Eyes and Too Late.
4. Childish Gambino - This Is America
Gaining 12.9 million views within the first 24 hours, This is America shocked and captivated people all around the world with the not so subtle references to the current state of America. The unapologetically frank music video, weirdly seemed to shock people more than the real life events it's based on. Unfortunately we have become so desensitised to the murder of Black people in America because for generations they've been murdering Black people in America. It's crazy that America is still seen as the "Land of hopes and dreams" and "The country that freedom was built on", but the reality for many Black people in America they're living in a real life horror movie.
3. Tyler The Creator - Yonkers
Tyler the creator has never shied away from horror, he often included some disturbing themes in his music which proved to be quite controversial when he was first releasing them. He however is credited with resurrecting Horrorcore in early 10's with his collective Odd Future who released a whole catalogue of creepy music videos that include She, IFHY and later Who Dat Boy. While his music has since developed to have a more Pop/ R&B sound, Yonkers still remains a testament to his early work and will remain one of the most iconic and dark music videos of all time.
2. Screamin' Jay Hawkins - I Put A Spell On You
All the way back in the 50's and 60's Screamin Jay Hawkins was putting the chills in people through the radio and television. There isn't an official music video for the song but theres plenty of performances available to view on youtube which all feature Hawkins being heavily inspired by Voodoo, a religious belief which originates and celebrated all around Africa. The song has gone on to be covered countless of times from people such as Nina Simone, Annie Lennox and Sonique but none even come close to the original.
1. Thriller - MJ
Most people can remember the first time they saw this video, staying up late to watch the full 13 minute video, before it was easily accessed on Youtube. Thriller changed the way we view music videos, turning them into something much more - an experience. To say this music video is iconic is an understatement, from the dance routine with the undead to MJ's red leather jacket, Thriller continues to be referenced over and over in so many ways as seen in South Park, 13 Going on 30, and still to this day with Viral Dance Videos.