In the 1980s, videos were a new and experimental frontier that the industry was not quite sure what to do with. And not unlike today, many music video makers were young film students filled with avant-garde ideas and outlandish concepts. However, sometimes experiments can go awry, and art can transform into a nightmare in a blink of an eye. Here are our top unintentionally scary videos from the 80’s…at least I think the disturbing nature of these was unintentional, and the video directors did not plan for us to still be having nightmares 30 years later.
Herbie Hancock “Rockit”
Living somewhere in a London row house is a family of unnerving robots, and a robotic goose who yells at them through a broken window. It looks and sounds like it could be a family sitcom you can only see in Hell.
Rockwell “Somebody’s Watching Me”
A theme song for the paranoid, the video is half POV and half watching Rockwell take a shower. Actually I’m pretty sure its mostly Rockwell taking a shower. At one point, I swear I saw a pig wearing a pig mask, right before Rockwell went off to take another shower.
Queen “Radio GA GA”
In addition to being creepy, this video really appeals to the film fan. Using footage from METROPOLIS, the band flies through a Fritz Lange landscape in a very BLADERUNNER fashion. Then at one point, Freddy Mercury puts on that outfit from ZARDOZ. The use a post-apocalyptic backdrop pushes it over the creepy line.
Genesis “Land of Confusion”
These are by-far the most frightening puppets ever devised. Wrap that up in a post-apocalyptic nightmare, and you’ve got one scary fucking video. Did her belly button just sing?! No way am I sleeping tonight.
Tom Petty “Don’t Come Around Here No more”
ALICE IN WONDERLAND is already pretty damn scary, but this version really wants Alice dead. Because of this video, a lot of people were frightened of Tom Petty. It wasn’t until THE POSTMAN that we all realized we had nothing to fear. “Fine, Tom, I won’t come ‘round here no more. Just don’t turn me into a cake and eat me!”
Corey Hart “Sunglasses at Night”
David Duchovny sings and bobs his head in a boiler room while a very boring version of THE RUNNING MAN plays in the background. Just weird.
Greg Khin Band “Jeopardy”
Apparently, this man is marrying some kind of zombie/ alien in front of a church full of mutant conjoined zombies, all for a song about commitment issues.
Murray Head “One Night in Bangkok”
This chess player doesn’t give a fuck about where he plays, even if is near a couple of Muay Thai fighters in a David Lynch-inspired Yakuza dance club. I’m pretty sure he’s about to get led down a dark alley and stabbed.
Falco “Rock Me Amadeus”
Punk rock Amadeus is an unnerving way to open a video, but then Patrick Bateman shows up to the party from EYES WIDE SHUT, and everything goes a little bat-shit crazy after that.
Devo “Beautiful World”
Videos that used stock footage from the 50’s were pretty common in the 80’s. This one throws in a twisted little monster in a rubber mask who looks down on us from a space ship built by a 4th grade class. By the end of the video, as the stock footage gets darker, you realize it may not be all that beautiful a world, and the man in the mask wants us all dead.
Bonnie Tyler “Total Eclipse of the Heart”
Shot in what looks to be a boy’s school for assassins, I can’t help but think this is where Liam Neeson learned his “very particular set of skills”. Also, I’m pretty sure I crapped my pants when that glowing-eyed altar boy flew towards the camera.