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Top 10 Scariest Music Videos

VO: Matt Campbell

Script written by Ryan Woods

These music videos gave us nightmares and we love them for it. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest Music Videos. For this video, we’ll be looking at the most terrifying and horrifying music videos of all time.

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Top 10 Scariest Music Videos

  
These music videos gave us nightmares and we love them for it. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest Music Videos.
 
For this video, we’ll be looking at the most terrifying and horrifying music videos of all time. Any disturbing imagery is welcome here, the scarier the better. Prepare to have chills sent up your spine and your skin made to crawl.
 

#10: “Breathe” (1996)
The Prodigy

Closely confined in a decrepit house that fosters the claustrophobic tone, the music video for “Breathe” uses lighting, imagery and sound design to prey upon a variety of phobias in order to garner the desired response. In addition to paint peeling off the walls in jagged chunks, alligators slithering around the floor and roaches scuttling about in the sink, The Prodigy also make use of centipedes, rats and hair-sprouting curtains to turn up the fear factor. Then there’s also the case of the simple yet effective levitating shoe. Combined with the unsettling theatrics of Maxim and Keith Flint, “Breathe” delivers the creepy in spades.
 

#9: “The Perfect Drug” (1997)
Nine Inch Nails

Although we also could have gone with the music video for “Closer”, we feel the more refined approach to “The Perfect Drug” is just as scary in what it suggests rather than shows. Outfitted with enough gothic trimmings to make Tim Burton proud, Nine Inch Nails’ video for “The Perfect Drug” contains no shortage of the macabre. With Trent Reznor playing an absinthe-addicted father grieving the death of his daughter, the video’s increasingly dark tone seems to suggest that his sanity is slowly withering away. As Reznor divides his time up between cuddling up with a bearskin rug and cooling off in a fog-shrouded pool, “The Perfect Drug” also offers up creepy-looking kids, vultures, and stoic servants to add to its classier style of subtle terror.
 

#8: “Prison Sex” (1993)
Tool

While we also could have chosen Tool’s video for “AEnema”, the video for “Prison Sex” is arguably even more terrifying for its gruesome undertones and frightening implications. As the song’s title suggests, the video explores the harsh reality of rape but also puts Tool’s own unique spin on the topic by avoiding explicit depictions of the act and focusing rather on the unbalanced power dynamic at work within it. Using a miniature white doll and a much larger and ghoulish black doll as stand-ins for the roles of victim and rapist, “Prison Sex” provides a metaphorical but no less ugly representation of a truly scary and very real subject.
 

#7: “Kids” (2008)
MGMT

One of the more controversial videos on our list, MGMT’s “Kids” is every kid’s worst nightmare come to life. With the protagonist being played by a toddler who is terrorized by people in some pretty grotesque monster costumes, you can be sure that things get more than a little uncomfortable. Aside from the fact that the monsters in the video are pretty terrifying on their own, what makes “Kids” even more frightening is the fact that the toddler’s frightened reaction to them appears to be very genuine. Combined with the lack of attention the kid’s mother gives him, the video generates an intense concern for the child’s safety, making it one scary video that you won’t forget any time soon.
 

#6: “Sick, Sick, Sick” (2007)
Queens of the Stone Age

There’s only a handful of universal taboos and one of them is cannibalism. “Sick, Sick, Sick” takes a page out of Hannibal Lecter’s playbook by dressing up the consumption of human flesh as a classy and refined affair. As Queens of the Stone Age play for an elegantly-dressed woman during her dinner, the video cuts between their performance and the preparation of her meal which happens to include human fingers. As each member of the band is carted off by a creepy masked figure, her appetite only increases and she soon discards her table manners to gorge herself. A modern retelling of many a Grimm’s fairy tale, “Sick, Sick, Sick” might make you want to consider becoming a vegetarian.

#5: “Overneath the Path of Misery” (2011)
Marilyn Manson

Though “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” was also a contender, Marilyn Manson’s Shia Labeouf directed short film, “Born Villain”, takes the singer’s knack for horror to the extreme. Beginning with an ominous scene of Manson giving two women a haircut, “Born Villain” jumps head-first into the grotesque, all to the beat of “Overneath the Path of Misery” from the singer’s 2012 album. The scene in which Manson drives a needle through the cheek of a woman and then playfully pulls it in and out before kissing her epitomizes the video’s blurring of the lines between pleasure and pain. This recurring theme is echoed in Manson’s torture of a scantily-clad patient while dressed as a surgeon, another powerful metaphor for the power dynamic of predator and prey which makes up much of “Born Villain”.
 

#4: “One” (1989)
Metallica

A song and a video about the horrors of war, Metallica’s “One” is as grim as it is poetic in its narration of a wounded soldier’s agony. Using scenes and dialogue from the 1971 film Johnny Got a Gun to emphasize the song’s message, Metallica plays “One” sombrely in a deserted warehouse as both the band and the film’s footage convey the unspeakable agony of a voiceless amputee who wishes for death. Describing the feeling of sheer helplessness of not being able to walk, speak or even have the strength to take your own life, “One” is even more powerful considering it tells the story of only one scarred soldier which leaves its audience to ponder how war affects the thousands it touches.
 

#3: “I Fink U Freeky” (2012)
Die Antwoord

A celebration of all things freaky, Die Antwoord’s video for “I Fink U Freeky” revels in its subject matter and disturbing imagery. From sexually explicit drawings on the wall to the rats to the accidental cooking of cockroaches, “I Fink U Freeky” has a fairly tongue-in-cheek style that is less about genuine horror and more about creating a sensation of unease. Furthermore, the intensity and seriousness in which Ninja and Yolandi Visser deliver their lyrics do possess an unsettling vibe which combined with the black-and-white pallet of the video may make your skin crawl just a bit.
 

#2: “If I Had A Heart” (2008)
Fever Ray

Opening with a torch-lit boat ride through a river at night, “If I Had A Heart” establishes its gloomy tone from the beginning, which foreshadows the chilling things to come. With recurring images of witch doctors, dead bodies and suffocating shadows, Fever Ray’s ghoulish exploration of a lifeless estate is made all the more haunting by the fact that it is never made clear who or what is responsible for the massacre. The combination of its ghostly chants, gothic undertones and unnerving calm make “If I Had a Heart” all the more scary because it leaves its story open to interpretation, making it a kind of Rorschach test for its audience’s worst fears.
 
Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honourable mentions
 
“There There” (2003)
Radiohead
 
“Sabrina” (2000)
Einstürzende Neubauten
 
“Mein Herz Brennt” (2012)
Rammstein
 

#1: “Come to Daddy” (1997)
Aphex Twin

Dripping with insane and eerie atmosphere from the get-go, Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy” is a nightmare come to life which is both unrelenting and truly terrifying. After an elderly woman’s dog urinates on a discarded television, it comes to life with a malevolent face hungry for souls. The old woman then flees in terror only to come upon a group of frightening children with identical faces of Aphex Twin himself. While the gang of man-children go on a rampage through the neighborhood and terrorize whoever they come across, an inhuman monster emerges from the television and takes physical form to the children’s delight. He also proceeds to scare the you-know-what out of the old woman and just about everyone watching.
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