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The Top 10 Horror-Themed Music Videos of 2012 [NSFW]

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Amanda Palmer: "Killing Type" screenshot
 
2012 was a banner year for horror-themed music, and a hell-ton of amazing visuals to accompany it. So much of it, in fact, that I decided to devote an entire article to my favorite creepy music videos of the year. This list (which is alphabetical and not necessarily in order of preference) runs the spectrum from dark comedy and satire to loving twists on classic horror flicks... along with a few entries that defy all description, a couple that might give you nightmares, and one in particular that will shock all but the most jaded gore fiends and send just about everyone else screaming into the night. So, with out further ado... fire up those vids, kids!
 
Amanda Palmer: “Killing Type”
 
Known to gothic rock fans as the singer for the Dresden Dolls (and to everyone else as Mrs. Neil Gaiman), Palmer holds nothing back when it comes to expressing herself... especially in this clip, which begins innocently enough, but you know that the band won't be keeping their outfits lily-white for long. Horror fans like us see a white-on-white theme and immediately think “that's just begging to be spattered with blood,” and the makers of this video understand that urge completely.
 
 
The Burning of Rome: “Norman Bates”
 
You can't beat a slick and smart tribute to Hitchock's Psycho, and while many bands have tried, this one actually manages to capture the master's balance of shock and wicked humor, and you'll find visual in-jokes lurking around every corner. I'll admit I could see the twist ending coming from a mile away, but I had so much fun getting there it didn't really matter, and the song is incredibly catchy to boot.
 
 
Cattle Decapitation: “Forced Gender Reassignment”
 
My eyes... my eyes! If just one video on this list earns the NSFW tag in all caps, it's this unbelievably pervy monstrosity of blasphemy, torture, rape and horrific mutilation. If you think you've seen it all, first refer to the song's title, and then bear in mind that the video takes that title 100% literally. It's a full-bore (pun intended) audio-visual assault that takes no prisoners. Well, actually, two prisoners, a man and a woman who get... well, like I said, please refer to the song title. You've been warned!
 
 
Dawn of Ashes: “Fuck Like You're in Hell”
 
These industrial metal maniacs strive to keep the “extreme” in extreme horror music, and that applies all the way down to their visual approach. From the tentacled Lovecraftian hentai monstrosities of “Transformation Within Fictional Mutation” to their hotel room snuff-movie promo for Hollywood Made in Gehenna, these cats manage to push all kinds of boundaries... and this clip is no exception, depicting a bloody black magic sex ritual that would make Clive Barker's Cenobites touch themselves.
 
 
Die Antwoord: “I Fink U Freeky”
 
This South African hip-hop trio are skilled at pushing buttons when it comes to shocking images, political incorrectness and breaking all rules of rhyme and reason. One of their many strengths is the use of spooky imagery to pound home their funky beats, and “Freeky” is one of their creepiest outings to date... this coming from a band who featured a male Lady Gaga impersonator getting a large insect removed from his/her private parts in the video for “Fatty Boom Boom.” Bear in mind, the lyrics get pretty nasty... who knew, right?
 
 
Family Force 5: “Zombie”
 
Sure, plenty of bands have adopted a zombie theme, to the point where I was starting to get really tired of the concept... until this insane rap-rock combo tore it up with an undead rampage that draws on the energy of the band's devoted fans – hundreds of whom showed up to play zombies for the video. Not only that, but the band was very cool about making sure every zombified cast member gets a little snapshot shout-out in the end credits. Respect!
 
 
The Heavy:  “Can't Play Dead”
 
This stop-motion animated clip is a loving tribute to a dozen horror classics, from Coffin Joe's At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul to I Walked with a Zombie and the original Evil Dead, and it does it handily without going the Nightmare Before Christmas route; instead, it's got a grittier, more surreal hand-crafted look reminiscent of the works of the Quay Brothers and other experimental animators, which adds to the unsettling atmosphere and macabre humor.
 
 
Hortlax Cobra: “Viva Le Difference”
 
I didn't catch it when it premiered, but a so-called “friend” introduced me to this video... that is, someone who was either unaware of my life-long phobia of ventriloquist dummies (thanks a lot, Magic), or totally knew about it and had some old forgotten debt to settle. I really like the song, but now every time I hear it, I imagine that damn dummy singing it to me. While I sleep. Grinning... Watching... Waiting...
 
 
Nekrogoblikon: “No One Survives”
 
This would one of the funniest and most entertaining vids of the year in any genre, but I think it's especially hilarious in a death metal context, because the creators know how to balance horror and humor in a way that perfectly compliments the band's insane free-for-all energy. The makeup FX are top-notch too, and so expressive that I kinda felt sorry for the poor goblin as he tries to impress his lady friend in the only way he knows how.
 
 
Wrath of Killenstein: “Ugly”
 
This was one of my favorite FEARnet premieres from this year; Killenstein is a no-bullshit horror metal unit that is finally beginning to get the recognition they deserve, and their latest video is just as gritty, grimy and gut-punching in its intensity as the music. It's not necessarily boundary-pushing in terms of style or substance, but it still dragged me into its deranged world and beat me senseless, and that's what true metal is all about.
 

 

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