Welcome to another Halloween! This years All Hallows Eve is particularly terrifying because it’s the last one before the apocalypse. Brrrrrrr. To celebrate we thought we’d switch the script a bit. Most years we’d rummage through pop’s nefarious past for a selection of horrifying spine tingling classics, but this year we thought we’d highlight the truly scary- songs and videos that are creepy completely unintentionally. There’s a fair few of em, masquerading as innocent little ditties which, with a bare minimum of peeking under the surface, reveal a yawning dark heart that would shame Satan. Are you excited? I’m excited.
Michael Jackson – The Way You Make Me Feel
OK, so obviously post-surgery every video Michael made is pretty fucking sinister, specially towards the end when he’d become a dancing ring-wraith with the red lips of a cannibal. But we’ve decided today to choose this great piece of street harassment from a bit earlier on in the King of Pop’s career. Watch as MJ spends the video stalking a girl who just does not want to know. “You really turn me on” he spits at her as she desperately tries to flee. It’s OK though- there are also gangs of guys blocking her path so Michael can fix her with a predatory stare and menacingly caresses his arm. ( 1 minute 38 to 1 minute 40 to be precise).
Armi Ja Danny – I Want To Love You Tender
The blank eyes, the wobbly synchronisation and the insipid tune, nothing screams cultist kill gang quite like this treat from Finland. I’m fairly sure this is footage of the dance these happy campers perform before necking the poisoned Kool Aid and mass suiciding (sorry, ‘elevating’) to the Galactic Sex Heaven.
Farley Jackmaster Funk - Love Can’t Turn Around
According to my mate Andy, when Darryl Pandy, the vocalist of this all-time house classic, appeared on Top of the Pops, fat, camp and lascivious, and rolling around on the floor in sexual ecstasy, there were hordes of complaints from horrified parents. I’ve never seen the TOTP performance, but the original video for the track haunts me. The flowing mullet, the glittery green top, the quivering jowls, and the lingering come to bed eyes- Pandy is not a man you’d care to be stuck in a lift with. Yeah, yeah I know he’s got an amazing voice blah blah blah- fact is, in the field of creeping weirdos he’s right up there, pouting and screaming his way to the top.
Al Jolson – Mammy
Yes that’s blackface he’s wearing. Once upon a time rubbing burnt cork onto your face and pretending to be a singin’ dancin’ watermelon grinnin’ picininny goon was just straight up THE funniest thing a man could do. HAHAHA. Now, watching Jolson’s terrifying performance is to condemn yourself to months of having a deeply disturbing, slash mouthed Papa Lazarou figure creep twinkle toed through your worst dreams, singing about his ‘Mammy’. Just fucking horrifying.
Thin Lizzy – Sarah
We can only assume that the drugs had taken hold when Phillo came up with the concept of this video. Sarah, on record, is a sweet ballad to his new born daughter. To illustrate this Phil sings the song while an increasingly aging set of girls sit on his lap, until eventually his daughter grows up to become…. Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham…??? Ummm. So what your saying, is that Phil is the father of the guitarist in his band, who appears to be a nervous looking manwoman who grew to his 20s in the space of 4 minutes. Surely they could have made more of that particular USP as a band?
Gilbert O Sullivan – Claire
Is it the gaunt face? The dead eye guess-how-many-bodies-I’ve-got-in-the-basement stare? The weird funeral pacing of the track? Or is it just that Gilbert is singing a heartfelt , creepy even by normal standards love ballad to a child. Not in a kind of Phil Lynott singing how he loves his daughter way, more in a Barry White I’m gonna pound your lady bits all night kind of way. Euuughhh. All together now “I don't care what people say, to me you're more than a child.”…
Gary Glitter - Do You Wanna Touch Me?
Do I even need to go into this?
KC & the Sunshine Band – Give It Up
C’mon C’mon C’mon C’mon NOW! GIVE IT UP GIVE IT UP BABY GIVE IT UP. Doesn’t sound like KC’s in the mood for brooking any argument eh? The lyrics to this ‘good time’ classic get straight to the rapey point, leaving us to suspect KC’s a bit of a ‘no means yes and please means harder’ kinda guy. The video competes by being A) bizarre and B) scarier than Jim’ll Fix It. It opens with KC being transported by an albino witch elf to a night time sex mansion where a bound woman is being carried in against her will by a torch carrying mob. I’m not lying. Inside the mansion various bondage freaks are tied to pillars and the furniture is made of grab-assy human arms. Some statues come to life with blood red eyes, and other ones just snarl. KC’s outfit gets magically transformed into a gimp suit and he goes to watch a band with walnuts for faces playing rhumba music to perverts. Watching this video again has raised some serious points in my mind about the 80s, principally, how come I don’t remember ANY OF THESE THINGS BEING IN THE VIDEO WHEN I WAS A KID? I think there’s some sort of memory repression vibe going on. What else did I forget…!??
Nik Kershaw – The Riddle
Ah yes. This. What the heck is going on with 80s videos and furniture made of body parts? Maybe this was meant to be creepy, but I dunno, this creepy? Walls made of lips? Who wants to see that? Jesus. They then throw in cakes crawling with rodents, face distorting mirrors, laughing simpletons dressed as Tweedledum and some freak in a cheap n’ nasty Riddler outfit. Even Kershaw’s leather gloves scream night strangler. Unpleasant.
Tiny Tim – Tiptoe Through the Tulips
And talking of unpleasant, what’s not to love about a giant, sallow-faced, sunken-eyed man child screeching falsetto through a lullaby whilst playing a tiny ukulele? Oh that’s right; everything. Tiny Tim was some sort of 60s novelty ‘comedy’ act. Well, from where I’m standing, no one’s laughing Tim. They’re phoning social services.