Can’t decide between trick or treat? The following 10 freaky indie and alt-rock videos have plenty of both! They’re all modern-day short-form horror classics that we could see inspiring full-length horror features – or maybe even horror franchises – in a variety of sub-genres, from straight-up slasher and noir to grindhouse, thriller and beyond. If nothing else, they can inspire some amazing last-minute costume ideas, but we have bigger plans for these clips: the big screen. Happy Halloween!
Depeche Mode, ‘Wrong’From: ‘Sounds of the Universe’ (2009)
Talk about a nightmare! A man wakes up tied up in the front seat of a car with a mask over his face and quickly realizes that the ride is rolling downhill, backwards and out of control through the streets of Los Angeles, hitting trashcans, cars, pedestrians and anything that’s in the way. That scenario, which plays out in the Grammy-nominated clip for ‘Wrong,’ the first single from Depeche Mode’s ‘Sounds of the Universe’ album, would make a fine opening sequence of a horror thriller.
Foo Fighters, ‘Everlong’From: ‘The Colour and the Shape’ (1997)
Dave Grohl inhabits his dreams like an alt-rock version of Freddie Krueger in the Foo Fighters’ video for this ‘The Colour and the Shape’ single. Turning into a punk rocker with a Sid Vicious-like sneer while in slumberland, Grohl must protect his Nancy from a pair of ax-wielding meanies out to ruin their fun. This one’s a little more goofy than gory, but who wouldn’t love to see the Foos’ instantly recognizable video formula made into a movie?
Daft Punk, ‘Da Funk’From: ‘Homework’ (1997)
What da funk? “There's really no message,” Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter has said of this confounding video for the first single off the duo’s debut album. The Spike Jonze-directed clip stars an anthropomorphic dog in a leg cast wandering around a city with a boom box blasting ‘Da Funk,’ and he’s unable to turn it down. Not much happens – some kids make fun of him, he buys a book, he makes dinner plans – but something eerily surreal, in a ‘Twilight Zone’ sort of way, makes this spooky nonetheless.
She Wants Revenge, ‘Tear You Apart’From: ‘She Wants Revenge’ (2006)
The plot behind the video for the second single off She Wants Revenge's self-titled debut album could spawn an entire horror franchise. A pretty-but-shy new girl in town gets spooked by a mysterious trailing car on the drive to a high school dance, then freaks out her date with an even more mysterious revelation that causes much of the student body to hunt her down -- only to be rushed to safety by the people in the car that was following her in the first place, who turn out to be the members of She Wants Revenge.
La Sera, ‘Real Boy/ Drive On’From: ‘Sees the Light’ (2012)
La Sera’s Katy Goodman gets chloroformed and abducted halfway through the video for the songs ‘Real Boy’ and ‘Drive On,’ only to go on a noir-ish drive down a dark road before waking up strapped down to a medical chair, with a variety of instruments set up in front of her and bandages around her head. Things only get freakier from there in this grindhouse double feature – granted, in a decidedly SFW kind of way. But don’t worry, it all turns out to be a bad dream in the end.
David Lynch, ‘Crazy Clown Time’From: ‘Crazy Clown Time’ (2011)
It’s no surprise that the master of cinematic mind-trip noir would offer up such a bizarre clip when it came time to make a video for his own music. Evoking the dreamlike, illogical worlds of ‘Twin Peaks,’ say, or ‘Lost Highway,’ the video for the title track from auteur David Lynch’s 2011 album ‘Crazy Clown Time’ has plenty of psychedelic sequences, a wildly nonexistent narrative and enough (covered up) erotic imagery to form the basis of his next anti-Hollywood blockbuster.
The Cramps, ‘Creature from the Black Leather Lagoon’From: ‘Stay Sick!’ (1990)
We’re not sure what the exact plot of this one would be either, but the clip for ‘Creature from the Black Leather Lagoon’ off the Cramps’ 1990 album ‘Stay Sick!’ sure would make a horror classic. The psychobilly band loads the ‘Black Leather Lagoon’ with enough B-movie sound bites to inspire a million flicks, and both singer Lux Interior and guitarist Poison Ivy were born to star in a camp classic.
Like a horror-tinged backwards answer to ‘Cocoon,’ the members of Yeasayer age rapidly in their ‘Longevity’ video, turning from young and spritely hipster musicians to mummified oldsters with decrepit body parts falling off in short order. Aging prematurely (or even normally!) is probably the scariest of thoughts for the clinging-to-youth art-school hipster contingent, so we could see an art-house drama for sure.
Soundarden, ‘Rusty Cage’ From: ‘Badmotorfinger’ (1991)
A grizzled man clutching a pitchfork and a pack of fierce dogs takes to the woods and goes chasing after the nattily attired members of Soundgarden in this freaky video for ‘Rusty Cage,’ off the band’s ‘Badmotorfinger’ album. Chris Cornell and his cronies made their motion-picture debut as a Seattle club band rocking the Gen-X classic ‘Singles,’ but a ‘Rusty Cage’-themed slasher flick would’ve been an infinitely cooler way to go.
The Horrors, ‘Sheena Is a Parasite’From: “Strange House’ (2007)
The Horrors certainly live up to their name with their clip for 2006’s ‘Sheena Is a Parasite,’ the British goth rock outfit’s debut single. With a running time of just 1:40, the video is almost over before it begins – but even in that brief span, the band easily fits in plenty of frightful imagery, namely a woman who dances like she’s possessed and summons up shocks of electric terror every time the song’s name is uttered.