I heard a song on the radio while driving home tonight that immediately brought back the nightmares the video gave me as a kid: “Don’t Come Around Here No More” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. (It also made me really sad, obviously — I’m a big Tom Petty fan, and his passing was a shock.) I started thinking back on all of the videos that traumatized me, and three really stick out in my mind:
“Don’t Come Around Here No More” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The Alice in Wonderland theme is a perfect complement to the dreamy, unsettling vibe created by Petty’s vocals and Dave Stewart’s electric sitar. The whole video disturbed me as a little kid, but the scene where the Mad Tea Party guests eat Alice like she’s a birthday cake still haunts me. I had trouble watching it again for this post, to be perfectly honest.
“Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden
(A word of warning: there’s a lot more strobe lighting in this video than I remembered. If you’re sensitive to that, please consider just taking my word for it on how creepy this thing is. Also, I promise I’m not trying to bum you guys out with this list. Chris Cornell was another talent lost far too soon.)
I think the creep factor of this video is pretty self-explanatory — grotesque suburbanites with nightmarishly distorted faces get swallowed up into the sun. I remember the Barbie doll barbecue and the creepy lipstick lady most vividly. Cornell’s voice had this beautiful bend and slide to it…I don’t have the musical vocabulary to describe it, but his serpentine delivery of the lyrics really heightens the haunting nature of the song and the video.
“Human Behaviour” – Björk
I love Björk. She is an authentic weirdo, and there are far too few of those in the world. She also has an amazing voice and, unfortunately for young me, she makes music videos that are occasionally terrifying. The video feels like an especially dark fairy tale; considering that fairy tales are already some of the scariest and most disturbing stories in the world, that’s saying quite a bit. I still have flashbacks to that freaky ass teddy bear.
What about you, kiddies? Did any music videos give you nightmares? Leave a comment so we can commiserate over our mutual trauma!