For those of us who love music and film in equal measure, it’s a rare treat to watch a beloved band’s music video and realize the group has been watching the same movies we have. While song clips can take inspiration from all manner of media, some of our favorites are based on or inspired by films. From R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” to the Smashing Pumpkins “Tonight, Tonight,” the aesthetics of distinctive movies can complement songs in beautiful, unexpected ways. After the jump, watch 10 more fantastic music videos that take their cues from classic or cult films.
Frankie Rose and the Outs – “Candy” It’s all creepy close-ups, cruel laughter, and painful grimaces in the new video for “Candy,” which somehow actually manages to out-weird Carrie ‘s horrific prom/pig-blood scene. Judging by the sound alone, an early ’60s homage might have been more appropriate, but the clip certainly works regardless.
Kanye West – “Love Lockdown” Shrewd viewers may have noticed the resemblance between Patrick Bateman’s apartment in American Psycho and the all-white interior that opens and closes the music video for Kanye West’s creeping Auto-Tune opus “Love Lockdown.” Not only was it styled that way on purpose, but West also said that he took his acting cues in the video from Christian Bale’s performance in the film. But something tells us Bateman wouldn’t deal well with African dancers intruding on his space…
The Fiery Furnaces – “Even in the Rain” Not only did The Fiery Furnaces basically remake monolithic American road movie Easy Rider for their “Even in the Rain” video, they also actually did their research and depicted the making of it, with Eleanor Friedberger playing Peter Fonda (complete with matching jacket!) and her brother Matt as Dennis Hopper. A cinephile’s dream video for an excellent song.
Annie Lennox – “Walking on Broken Glass” The decidedly high-concept (and apparently high-budget) video for the former Eurythmics singer’s smash hit is not only based on the romantic power plays of 1988’s Dangerous Liasions — it also features the film’s star, John Malkovich. The lush, 18th-century royal court drama provides the perfect setting for Lennox’s lament to a lover who’s left her shattered.
JP, Chrissie & The Fairground Boys (Chrissie Hynde) – “If You Let Me” Yes, that’s “Chrissie” as in “Hynde.” You may not even have realized she had a new band, much less that said group had made a music video inspired by 2008’s hypnotic Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In . Our main characters are a few years older than the kids in that film, but the snowy, desolate horror comes through loud and clear.
Marilyn Manson – “Dope Hat” Many argue that Manson’s best work came before he became a world-famous Antichrist Superstar. We’ll let the fans debate that. But there’s no denying the wonderfulness of the video for 1995’s “Dope Hat,” which re-imagines the creepy boat ride from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory . Is it scarier than the original? No — but only because nothing is scarier than the original.
Madonna – “Material Girl” Obvious? Maybe. Classic? Definitely. If great artists steal, then Madonna ripped off the best with her iconic “Material Girl” video, a near copy of Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes . Decades later, the Monroe comparisons and the Material Girl nickname have both stuck.
Company of Thieves – “Oscar Wilde” It’s hard to get more referential than naming your song after Oscar Wilde and then making a music video that’s all up in Rushmore ‘s business. Good thing the execution here is just about perfect.
Blur – “To The End” Blur have always been masters of the music video form — remember “Coffee + TV”? — but who knew they were also fans of impenetrable French New Wave filmmakers? “To The End” riffs on one of Alain Resnais’s most mysterious films (and believe us, that’s saying a lot), Last Year at Marienbad . Whether you “get it” or not, at least it’s visually stunning.
Garbage – “Stupid Girl” If you were a slightly weird kid who watched MTV in the mid-’90s, you saw this video a million times. But did you realize its lo-fi, vaguely psycho aesthetic was based on the title sequence from David Fincher’s Se7en ? The more you know…