Throwback Halloween-themed Music Videos
In honor of the haunted season, we put together a list of 5 Spooky/Fun Music Videos from the ’90s-’00s to get you in the Halloween Spirit. What are your favorite Halloween-themed music videos?
Backstreet Boys – Everybody – Backstreet’s Back
This is not a scary music video but it is a pop-culture staple. If the Haunted Mansion at Disney did a Halloween partnership with a boy band this is the commercial they would produce. In Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), the Backstreet Boys are implausibly forced to stay the night at a “haunted” hotel. As they sleep each member morphs into a different classic horror movie monster and from there the party starts. Director Joseph Khan and the Backstreet Boys have so much fun with the concept. Every set looks like a Party City Halloween section come to life. And each band member brings their own personality to their monster with the help of cartoonish prosthetics. Put it all through a fisheye lens and you have a hilariously silly Halloween-themed music video that has about as much scare appeal as a middle school dance. Perfect for the less spooky types who would rather party than be frightened.
Marilyn Manson – The Dope Show
The Dope Show is Marilyn Manson looking at his role in pop culture and the music industry as an outsider. There is so much going on in this creepy arthouse style video and yet director Paul Hunter is able to weave together a compelling, if not unsettling, story. Manson is a stark white alien-like androgynous figure that is captured and experimented upon by faceless forces. From there on the creepiness in the video never lets up. Marilyn’s performance is the centerpiece with his red contacts and unnatural halting movements. It’s all spotlighted under eerie white lights that blow out each scene making every frame as creepy as the last. This video premiered at a time when gender non-conformity was the most frightening thing middle Americans could imagine. Marilyn Manson draped himself in their fear, put it in a music video and shoved in their faces.
My Chemical Romance – Helena
Anyone who has experienced loss or grief will tell you that inescapable sadness can also be scary. In the goth-inspired Helena, a sea of black-clad mourners fill the pews of a church for the funeral of a young woman. Her coffin is placed before the pulpit as Gerad Way performs the eulogy and My Chemical Romance gives a wrenching performance of the emo hit. The haunting sadness reaches its peak when the departed emerges from her coffin to perform a ballet-inspired dance of longingness before collapsing back into her coffin to be interred. From the funeral program to the interior of the coffin to the ghostly visage of the dancers, the contrasting whiteness creates a coldness that envelopes the video like the specter of death itself.
Fall Out Boy – A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”
A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me” is an encapsulation of the best trends from the Myspace era. The story is set in LA as seen in B-movies from the horror section of your local Family Video. We follow Fall Out Boy as vampire hunters who are seeking revenge against the vampire that turned one of their bandmates. In true b-movie fashion director Alan Ferguson employs some over the top effects to tell the story. Vampires bounce off of walls and do backflips while simultaneously playing music. Overly made-up faces peek out of the sinister shadows and everything is lit with otherworldly reddish and greenish glow. At times it takes itself a little too seriously (especially the acting), but its a romp. The video culminates in an all-out vampire street battle. Take your pick at costume inspiration: urban vampires, scene/emo vampires, or 1920s inspired vampires, with fedoras and all. No matter your choice you’ll need to get yourself to a Hot Topic immediately.
Rihanna – Disturbia
Rihanna is at her best when she embraces her dark side. What Disturbia lacks in narrative it makes up for in location and costuming. Set in what looks like an abandoned warehouse we see Rihanna in various creepy scenes throughout the decrepit space. Your quintessential horror movie tropes are all present, a man is chained to a wall, a woman is tied up, and Rihanna is covered in tarantulas. More contemporary elements amp up the sex appeal and the video straddles the line between horror and hotness. She’s tied to a bed (while wearing lingerie and knee-high boots), burned at the stake (while wearing a leather collar and artfully winged eyeliner), and locked in a cage (in lace playsuit and fishnets). Visual effects from director Anthony Mandler turn up the creepy factor. The sharp scene cuts of Rihanna and her dancers performing jerky and erratic dance choreography match the unpredictability of the video. That coupled with the kaleidoscope-like filming style makes for a fun video experience. So if you’re more interested in the scary aesthetic than using horror as a conduit to explore philosophical questions then this is the music video for you
Whether you’re the type who gets out the Ouija board to talk to the spirits, or the type who spend months painstaking crafting the perfect costume, or even the type who eat an entire bag of Halloween candy that you said you were going to save for trick-or-treaters—there’s a throwback music video for you.
*cackles spookily and disappears into the night*