Well, you might think this came out after A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984), but you’d be wrong. That movie came out in November and appears to have had an early limited release in October of 1984 while this music video premiered in March of that year. If you didn’t know that, then you probably would lump this in with all the other films that were inspired by that movie. It even comes complete with a bathtub sequence. When I was younger this was just that other early computer graphics music video that goes along with Money For Nothing by Dire Straits, but never seemed to get as much play on MTV. That’s probably because The Cars didn’t explicitly mention MTV in the song. The music video actually has less in common with horror movies of its’ era, and relies on classic monster movies such as The Fly (1958), King Kong (1933), and Robot Monster (1953).
This was pretty ambitious for the time, coming in with a budget of $80,000, which according to Wikipedia was about three times as much as was spent on music videos of the time. It also did quite well that year at the VMAs, getting nominated for six awards. It won the first VMA for Video of the Year. It also won awards from Billboard and the Videotape Production Association’s Monitor Awards.
What is amazing to me is how many credits I found attached to this music video.
The obvious one is the girl. That’s Susan Gallagher. I love how her IMDb bio mentions all kinds of things like where she trained to act, that she was cast in commercials, was on the TV Show Safe Harbor, worked for The Home Shopping Network, etc. No mention that she just happened to be the star of one of the most well-known, revolutionary, and heralded music videos of the 1980s. You might think that would be something you would want in your biography seeing as it instantly disambiguates her from just any old actor for a large number of people. Even her “other works” section only mentions that she was a National Guest Spokesperson for Dirt Devil Products. She seems to have largely dropped out of acting till the 2010s. She appeared in I Killed My BFF (2015) on Lifetime and has even gotten into directing recently.
Robin Sloane was the creative director on the music video. She worked/works for Elektra Records. I can only find one more credit for her in mvdbase, but based on IMDb, I am betting she worked as a creative director and producer on more than just Violet for Hole and One for Metallica.
Sloane came onboard after director Jeff Stein showed her some visual effects work that was being done by the company Charlex. He’s worked on around 40 music videos including some other well-known ones such as Don’t Come Around Here No More for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and the hilarious Cherry Pie for Warrant.
The music video was also directed by two of the founders of Charlex: Alex Weil and Charlie Levi.
Alex Weil seems to have only worked on one music video, but apparently was a pioneer in the video medium in general. I was able to find two of his short films on YouTube.
I was able to find a few more credits for Charlie Levi. He wrote and directed the movie Childless (2008). I even found an interview with him about the movie.
If that interview is to be believed, then he worked on more music videos than just this one.
There appears to be some disagreement between sources, but I think we can just assume that Jeff Stein, Alex Weil, and Charlie Levi all produced the music video.
Danny Ducovny shot the music video. I can find only a few credits for him, but one of them happens to working as an “additional photographer” on the film Tough Guys Don’t Dance (1987). I’m going to just assume that he shot the infamous scene from that movie. It makes me happy any time I can post it.
Yes, he also happens to be David Duchovny’s older brother despite the slightly different spellings of their last names.
Danny Rosenberg was one of the editors. I couldn’t find many other film credits, but he appears to have worked on two movies in the Wee Sing series. However, I do know what he does today thanks to his LinkedIn profile. He is now “Lord Protector/Chief Engineer” at Meta/DMA. According to their own website, they “write the code that makes the whole world sing.” This guy just can’t get away from working in things that sing one way or another.
The other editor was Bill Weber. There are a lot of Bill Weber’s on IMDb, but I am pretty sure that number III and V are him seeing as they both feature a bunch of LGBTIQ films along with working with Grateful Dead back in the 1980s.
Kevin Jones worked as the Lighting Director. Seeing as IMDb seems to have more Kevin Jones’ than they know what to do with, I have no idea what other credits he may have after this music video.
Bob Ryzner was the Art Director. I can’t find anything on him.
The only other credit I could find is for the company Charlex themselves who appear to have worked on the music video for Jealous by Beyoncé. I’m willing to bet there are many more, much like I completely believe that Robin Sloane was involved in more music videos as well.
That’s it! Enjoy this trip back to the early days of both music videos and computer animation going mainstream.