Music videos come in all shapes and sizes: high-concept, lo-fi, jokey, performance-y, that one U2 video where it was just The Edge staring at the camera for five minutes, etc. But ever since Micheal Jackson threw down with the undead in the video for “Thriller,” music vids have frequently turned to horror for inspiration. Just in time for Halloween, Milwaukee Record rounds up 11 such local videos. Some are truly terrifying, others tongue-in-cheek, while still others are just kind of creepy. All, however, are especially “spooktacular.”
1. Awkward Terrible – “Return”
This recent video from Milwaukee chip-tune trio Awkward Terrible features drummer-singer Sam Sieger being repeatedly run down by a car driven by keyboardist/guitarist Chris Kowall and bassist Sam Gehrke. Also figuring into things: blood, creepy makeup, and blacked-out eyes.
2. Direct Hit! – “Back To The Tower”
The restless pop-punkers in Direct Hit! created a video for every song of their 2013 masterpiece Brainless God, with each serving as a single chapter in a larger story. All of the videos are pretty graphic (and great), so picking a single one is a bit difficult. “Back To The Tower” is a good choice if you want to enter the bloody, cult-y Brainless God saga in media res.
3. Drugs Dragons – “Graveyard Whiskey”
Black-light ghouls and the horror-sludge bands that love them star in this eye-popping/gouging video, originally part of the always great Rock And Roller Remote Controller series.
4. Head On Electric – “Ghost Hunter”
Another Rock And Roller Remote Controller clip, this one featuring a creepy mix of animation, live-action puppets, and plenty of blood. Oh, and great music, courtesy of this 2011 Head On Electric 7-inch.
5. Jaill – “House With Haunting”
Ghosts both literal and figurative haunt Jaill frontman Vinnie Kircher in this lo-fi video, from 2012’s vastly underrated Traps. Come for the pizza-eating ghosts, stay for the guitar-playing ghosts.
6. Kiings – “1984”
More moody than spooky, this ambitious, Damien Klaven-directed clip gets a lot of mileage out of its cemetery location, but also scores big on the noir-like shots of guest rapper WebsterX. Heads up, Gotham.
7. Midwest Death Rattle – “Food Chain”
“Spooktacular” can mean a lot of things, but it usually suggests a winking, campy kind of vibe. The video for Midwest Death Rattle’s “Food Chain” fits that bill perfectly with a cheeky sense of humor, party-crashing ghosts, and death via laundry-room-skateboard.
8. The Midwestern Charm – “General Drag”
To explain the inclusion of The Midwestern Charm’s “General Drag” on this list would be to ruin the surprise; let’s just say there’s a twist at the end that, while perhaps not up to M. Night Shyamalan standards, would make a fine capper to an old EC Comics yarn.
9. Tapebenders – “Semantics”
If you’re looking to inject your video with a little homegrown horror, you could do worse than turn to the local masters: Mark Borchardt and Frankie Latina. The American Movie subject/Milwaukee icon directed this Tapebenders video (shot at the Cactus Club), while the Modus Operandi creator produced.
10. Tigernite – “Witch”
Director/videographer Kyle Arpke individually manipulated more than 3,000 frames of video to create this jumpy, possibly seizure-inducing clip for Milwaukee glam-rock mainstays Tigernite. The skulls skulking next to frontwoman Molly Roberts are a nice touch, too.
11. WC Tank – “Demigodz (Of Tha Law)”
Art-rapper WC Tank and director/frequent collaborator Kurt Raether went all out for this whacked-out journey of a video, which features an encounter with a mysterious cabal of mask-wearing world-controllers. Think The Simpsons’ Stonecutters, but with more digital effects and less Steve Guttenberg.