I have not paid close attention to Marilyn Manson for years. Sure, my memory stretches back to the (totally sweet) “Lunchbox” video as my initial exposure, coincided by Beavis & Butthead tackling “Get Your Gunn” …and the shit was kinda shocking for its time.
But for a number of reasons, my interest waned. I liked his segments in Bowling for Columbine and recall reading a good Rolling Stone article he wrote on the subject, too. But musically, he seemed irrelevant. My heavier tastes and disappointing reception to both 2007’s Eat Me, Drink Me and 2009’s The High End of Low reinforced this stance.
Also, new Transformers movies are practically unwatchable without help from the dudes at RiffTrax.com, so when I heard mutterings that Shia LaBeouf was slated to direct a Manson video, I just brushed it off as a ridiculous publicity stunt. But it’s… well… good. Here, watch this thing:
Do you see allusions to Un Chien Andalou? Yeah, I don’t much either, though they both succeed at disturbing the viewer. The Dali-Buñuel collaboration has a unique surreal quality for which Manson-LaBeouf likewise strive, extending beyond updated homage into MacBeth interpretations, a suspended female receiving a vaginal eyeball implant, and extreme haircutting. The lyrics reach superfarback at one point, stating “the rape of Persephone was choreographed by all the wrong Greeks” and calls it a “marketing scheme”. The cut scenes are acceptably hammy, but the chorus is one of Marilyn’s best. Oh wait, I almost forgot—this little aside is “its own thing”, according to keyboardist-turned-drummer Chris Vrenna. “Born Villain” actually has its own score, with excerpts from the forthcoming album, likely due late 2011, so who knows what’s from where.
Postscript to this video tale: I found out that “Debaser” by the Pixies is also about the cinematic classic. There’s less crazy imagery than any of the above videos; mostly shots of the band with their instruments. Also floaty words. And it’s so unbelievably catchy.