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Ah, the high-def world of music videos today are so easily accessible on YouTube and Vevo, it is frightening. But us Gen-Xers know the thrill of the “music video premiere.” We waited on MTV for the new video to be shown, or for kids like me who didn’t have cable…Friday Night Videos.
This was the case with a couple of classic, campy, monster movies. Here are some fun, totally 80s, mini, monster movies (including the long-version video) that should bring back music memories. (RELATED: The Evolution of Animation through Music Videos)
This first one is a long-form Frankenstein tribute by Huey Lewis and the News, “Doing It All for My Baby.” This one was not a favorite of the band who didn’t much appreciate having to don all that Dracula and Igor makeup. But since it is silly and catchy like everything else Huey Lewis did in the 80s, we’re glad they did.
Not be outdone in the hunchback world was Van Halen’s cover of Roy Orbison’s “(Oh) Pretty Woman” from the 1982 album Diver Down. This was one of the first videos to be banned from MTV due to the opening sequence featuring a bound woman being fondled by a couple of midgets. I guess it’s okay when regular-sized folk fondle each other. But midgets? We can’t have that. If they had only watched until the end they would know it’s a transgender model, and all would have been peaches and roses in today’s world.
Still, it has the feel of a weird Wes Craven grindhouse classic like The Hills Have Eyes meets Hunchback of Notre Dame, and a bevy of action B-movies. This might be more action than Halloween, but everyone is in nifty party costumes. Since we’re all still missing Eddie Van Halen, you have to admit he looks extra awesome as a cowboy.
Another tribute to horror genres that runs from The Twilight Zone to Alfred Hitchcock classics is the ode to paranoia, “Somebody’s Watching Me,” by singer Rockwell (with some vocal help by Michael Jackson in the chorus). I always through the first person perspective going through the house was pretty eerie, but so was the big, cute mastiff getting a little Amityville Horror treatment. Don’t forget that creepy grinning postman at the end. Rockwell had a couple of other mild hits with similar themes like “Peeping Tom” and “Obscene Phone Caller,” but nothing ever matched the success of “Somebody’s Watching Me”…and you know what…I think his paranoia was just a teensy bit prophetic.
Or maybe not…I’ll ask Alexa…she’s always listening….
We can’t do spooky, Halloween-style videos that absolutely reek of the 80s without the 1984 hit theme to Ghostbusters from Ray Parker Jr. This had everything 80s you could want: neon, poppy cool synth beats, movie clips, a product placement logo t-shirt (Ivan Reitman directed the video), a new dance step, big shouldered-clothes and pushed-up sleeves, and (of course) cameos from many SNL alumni and celebrities who most teenagers don’t give a rat’s behind about. Ooh, is that the video with Melissa Gilbert and Jeffrey Tambor? Seriously, though.
Still, we loved it, and it is now something with which we all can’t help but sing along.
Who ya gonna call? C’mon…say it…SAY IT!!!
Finally, there’s one I know that has been brewing on the back of your mind since I mentioned music videos and monster movies, so we’ll end this list with it. That’s right, “Thriller” from Michael Jackson. Today, I realize there are many idiots at Halloween office parties who have turned the “Thriller” zombie dance into the coordinated skit of choice put together by the accounting department who regaled us all with their rendition of “YMCA.” However, it is hard to deny what a groundbreaking feat this was from Michael Jackson and crew, particularly in 1983. You got the full-on, retro monster plot directed by John Landis whose other memorable monster feat was American Werewolf in London. Don’t forget the “coolombie” and “werecat” make up by Rick Baker and narration from the legend himself, Vincent Price.
So here we are, weighing in at more than a $1 million budget and 13 minutes in length, is Michael Jackson’s mega hit, “Thriller.”
Want some more spooky video fun? Check out my post from last week featuring spooky, scary, funky and emo skeletons.
Next week, I’ll share some more recent remakes of Halloween standards.
Header image screenshot from “Doing It All for My Baby,” by Huey Lewis © EMI.