Sunday, September 26, 2010

Top 10: Horror Music Video Tie-Ins Part 1

Sorry for being away for a while. Various issues continue to pop up and they always end up taking most of the time I set aside for writing. At least I've been trying my best to continue watching films for the Road to 500 marathon so I'm hoping to be able to reach my goal by the end of the year, though catching up on the write-ups is a whole other story.

Anyway, this Top 10 stems from my love of music videos. Growing up along with MTV developed a love for the format which might as well be dead as far as the ability to view them anymore. If it wasn't for places like Youtube, they might as well not even exist anymore. Hell, I don't think people buy the cds they promote anyway so what does it all matter. One special category of music video belonged to the movie tie-in video which was a product of corporate synergy at its shrewdest. Market your hip movie using the most popular method of music delivery amongst the audience. What can I say? It worked. They were infectious and if the song was for a movie you loved, you wanted to watch it over and over. For me, the best of these came from horror movies. This list presents my favorite ten videos I've seen over the years. For all of these, I loved the song at some level and the videos were memorable enough to me that I could think of them off the top of my head. Thanks to the magic of the internet, they can now be shared to all that bother to stumble upon this blog. I cut them up into two parts again just to make it easier to read due to length. Anyway, get rockin'.

10. The Fat Boys - Are You Ready for Freddy?
From the days of rap when people actually, you know, rapped, the pioneering hip-hop group The Fat Boys, stars of the international smash Disorderlies, bust out some rhymes with the gloved one. Somewhere along the lines, Freddy must have got jungle fever and left his estate to his three nephews, twenty years after he was burned alive but that's the legal system for you. The boys arrive with coordinated outfits and bumble their way around the house while Freddy halfheartedly shoos them out. The way the song incorporates elements of Freddy's theme weaves its way into the songs beat pretty well, surprisingly, and holds up as a decent tune. Props must be given for not simply relying on movie clips as so many video tie-ins did. And I'll take Freddy rapping over Kanye West any day of the week.

9. Coup de Villes - Big Trouble in Little China
Technically not a horror movie, but with two genre directors showing their faces in this atrocity, I'll count it. The beat would work well in a scene in a Carpenter movie, but as the major backing track for an entire song it wears out its welcome. It'd all be so horrible if it wasn't so funny. What was the mandate for wardrobe that day? Find the nerdiest sweaters that were rejected from The Cosby Show? Who thought this would be a good idea? I can imagine an intense editing session being interrupted by breaking out some quaaludes and reliving those high school days of being in a rock band. Carpenter just looks so serious while looking at his editing screen. It's like they're serenading the edit bay, praying for a good movie to come out of it. Nick Castle is so goddamn adamant while turning around at that keyboard you have to imagine he was making up for never being able to show his face in Halloween. And what in the holy fuck is Tommy Lee Wallace sporting? It's like he killed a fox with a perm and decided it looked pretty happening before stapling it to his scalp. And then they break out the sherpa robes. Those shades, man. Those shades...How did this pass Standards and Practices? How could this happen? Whatever celestial configuration enabled this monstrosity, it delivered unto us a sliced of fried comedy that encapsulates everything that was so horribly awesome about the 80's. The funniest thing is, I could easily imagine the post-production on any Carpenter movie ending up like this.

8. Bobby Brown - On Our Own
The only rap song that mentions proton packs as well as Viggo, the Master of Evil. When you're a seven year old child who's world revolved around Ghostbusters, this song is the greatest piece of music that could ever grace your eardrums. The lyrics and beats are so immediate and urgent, you can easily believe that, yes, we have to take a stand, right now. Against what, you'd never know. You're a fucking seven year old for Christ's sake, but somehow it mattered to you, almost as if the Ghostbusters were the symbols for everything righteous in the world. Of course, as an adult you see it as an overtly obvious money cash-grab tying in the hippest trend in music with the newest blockbuster sung by someone who probably had (and still has) no idea what the hell he was saying, only useful for unintentional comedy, but hey, growing up sucks. It's funny how in this day and age, I can watch this over and over on Youtube if I wanted, but I spent seven hours one day sitting by the radio with a blank tape loaded in the deck and my fingers itching to push the record buttons as soon as I heard those opening beats cue up. And keep in mind, this was back when you had to hit both the "Play" and "Record" buttons at the same time lest you be screwed out of your tunes and end up eating the tape. You kids have it so easy with your MP3s and whatnot. Bonus points for being the only place with Bobby Brown's lethal hairstyle, Donald Trump, Iman, Rick Moranis, and a still mobile Christopher Reeve all in one video.

7. The L.A. Posse - Lost in Time
Now, I know most will watch this video and be thoroughly unimpressed but it's here out of my own personal nostalgia. Waxwork 2 was like a revelation of craziness the first time I watched it, inspiring my brothers and I to come up with our own wacko time jumping scenarios based on what we had seen. That's what happens when impressionable eight year olds are subjected to this stuff. Anyway, we especially loved the end credits which functions as its own promotional music video. Why it would be promoting itself to viewers that had just finished watching the movie I have no idea. You can see that they took the time to actually film sections of the video at various sets as they were filming so they had to have been planning the video the whole time. I'm betting they were thinking the film would get a theatrical release like the original and wanted a tie-in video for MTV, which sadly was never realistic. The song itself is kind of funny. It's another video back when people still rapped in a rap song, and you can tell whoever wrote it actually watched the movie but it's hilarious how bored the main singer sounds. It's like Steven Wright trying to rap. And the chorus is so damn goofy it's all too easy to burrow into your subconscious and play itself over and over. As a kid, this video was awesome, adding another layer of love for an already childhood classic. As an adult, it's a hilarious reminder of the way things once were and probably won't be again.

6. J. Geils Band - Fright Night
Besides being one of the best movies, ever, it also apparently had one of the best music producers in charge of the film's soundtrack. Other than Brad Fidel's score being one of the best from the 80's (which I can't believe there was never a score album released, the one track on the soundtrack is not enough and I'm still hoping Varese or some specialty label releases it someday), the film also had a great compilation of tracks from various New Wave bands, which for me personally always gets my attention. The J. Geils Band title song is everything you need in a promotional video: it's immediately catchy, with its refrains of "Fright Night!" immediately grabbing listeners' attention, and fits the fun tone of the movie. The video itself could only come from the 80's, when men's hairstyles typically ran along the lines of a transvestite's worst nightmare. There's scarves, there's glitter, there's unintentional homoeroticism everywhere; just your typical 80's video. Besides rolling the expected film clips during the video, they also bother to play with the voyeurism themes from the movie with a few sequences of interplay involving very fake windowsills. I have no idea where the idea for the bed scenes came from, but they sure do look happy, romping around and necking with each other... Wow. There's just no way something like that wouldn't have been caught by the film's P.R. people before being released.

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