4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!
Today, on what would have been his 80 birthday, the Shattered Lens pays tribute to Texas’s own, Tobe Hooper!
The Austin hippie who redefined horror and left thousands of yankees terrified of driving through South Texas, Tobe Hooper often struggled to duplicate both the critical and the box office success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s only been in the years since his death that many critics and viewers have come to truly appreciate his unique and subversive vision.
Down here, in Texas, we always believed in him.
It’s time for….
4 Shots From 4 Tobe Hooper Films
Eggshells (1969, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Tobe Hooper)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Daniel Pearl)
The Funhouse (1981, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Andrew Laszlo)
Lifeforce (1985, dir by Tobe Hooper. DP: Alan Hume)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Daniel Pearl)
4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!
This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films. I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.
Today, we take a look at two very important years: 1973 and 1974!
10 Shots From 10 Horror Films: 1973 and 1974
Female Vampire (1973, dir by Jess Franco, DP: Jess Franco)
Don’t Look Now (1973, dir by Nicolas Roeg, DP: Anthony Richmond)
The Wicker Man (1973, dir by Robin Hardy. DP: Harry Waxman)
Lisa and the Devil (1973, dir by Mario Bava, DP: Cecilio Paniagua)
The Iron Rose (1973, dir by Jean Rollin)
The Exorcist (1973, dir by William Friedkin, DP: Owen Roizman)
Black Christmas (1974, dir by Bob Clark, DP: Reginald H. Morris)
Deathdream (1974, dir by Bob Clark, DP: Jack McGowan)
The Ghost Galleon (1974, dir by Armando de Ossorio, DP: Raul Artigut)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Daniel Pearl)
4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films is just what it says it is, 4 (or more) shots from 4 (or more) of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films lets the visuals do the talking.
Today, I am proud to pay homage to a director from my home state, a man who changed the face of horror and the movies but who was treated terribly by a jealous film industry. I am talking, of course, about Texas’s own Tobe Hooper. Hooper redefined horror with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Though his later films were never quite as critically or financially successful as that classic, many of them have since been rediscovered by audiences who now better appreciate Hooper’s quirky sensibility. Hollywood may not have known how to handle Tobe Hooper but horror fans like me will always appreciate him.
It’s time for….
4 Shots From 4 Tobe Hooper Films
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Daniel Pearl)
Eaten Alive (1976, dir by Tobe Hooper. DP: Robert Caramico)
Salem’s Lot (1978, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Jules Bremmer)
The Funhouse (1981, dir by Tobe Hooper. DP: Andrew Laszlo)
I wish the literal video for this was still up. Oh, well.
All these years later, I still don’t have any idea why she goes into that house. I guess we are supposed to believe she lives there with these two kids that miss their cue?
These other kids nail it.
Despite finding lists of all the celebrities in this video, I have no idea who this guy is that Ray Parker Jr. becomes for this bit.
I also wonder why she didn’t see him while turning away from the moving table to go to the window.
In the window is footage of the movie that has aged horribly. Parker Jr. is blue screened in there for this famous shot.
He ain’t afraid of no ghost. A lawsuit on the other the hand, that’s a different matter. I hope this music video doesn’t remind me of a Huey Lewis & The News video as well.
Now Ray Parker Jr. stands creepily outside of her window.
This is looking familiar.
Chevy Chase can call Ghostbusters if he has a ghost problem…
but what about if he gets stuck in Benji again?
Who can he call then?
I knew this looked familiar.
Do You Believe In Love by Huey Lewis & The News (1982)
Do You Believe In Love by Huey Lewis & The News (1982)
I’m sure it’s a coincidence. I just find it humorous to see that considering the lawsuit saying that this song ripped off, to one extent or another, the Huey Lewis & The News song I Want A New Drug. The scene above is from the video that helped kick off their career on MTV and set the tone for their future videos since it was such a success despite being ridiculous. Is the riff in You Crack Me Up…
sound like the same riff from Johnny And Mary by Robert Palmer?
Or is it just me?
What a feeling. Thanks for making that one easy, Irene Cara.
Something tells me that Cindy Harrell was hired by someone who saw the movie Model Behavior (1982), which she was in.
Model Behavior (1982, dir. Bud Gardner)
Model Behavior (1982, dir. Bud Gardner)
From what I’ve read, they just showed up on the set of a movie Candy was shooting to try and get him to make this cameo appearance.
Ray Parker Jr. rising from the top of the stairs like he’s Michael Myers come to kill her. Why?
Or at least scare her. It’s probably a reference to Gozer.
Melissa Gilbert. I have no idea what she’s doing here. I’ve only seen an episode or two of Little House On The Prairie, so I guess there could have been some episodes with ghosts. Some of these cameos feel like they happened because the celebrities were involved with NBC.
Speaking of cameos I can’t explain, it’s former baseball player Ollie Brown.
I do like that for the majority of the shot it looks like she should be falling over but isn’t.
More people that Parker can summon for some reason.
Don’t worry about them.
Pose for the featured image of this post.
Is it 555-5555…
or 555-2368 as you showed earlier?
George Wendt apparently got in trouble with the Screen Actors Guild for his appearance in this video. I’ll link to the article with that information at the end.
Senator Al Franken.
Now we get a series of confusing cameos.
Danny DeVito. I think this is only the second music video he has ever been in. The other one was for the song Billy Ocean did for The Jewel Of The Nile (1985).
Carly Simon for some reason. She would go on to do the theme song to Working Girl (1988) with Sigourney Weaver. Maybe they were friends. I don’t know.
Umm…one more thing. Have you tried calling the Ghostbusters? No clue as to why Peter Falk is here.
The breakdancing was improvised. So was Parker Jr. pushing Bill Murray around.
I think Teri Garr has one of the best cameos.
Don’t swallow that cigarette, Chevy.
Fun fact: In European and other non-US markets, the “no” sign was flipped.
If you want to read some more information about the video, then follow this link over to ScreenCrush where they have a write-up on the video with information from people who worked on the video.
According to mvdbase, Ivan Reitman directed, Keith Williams wrote the script, Jeff Abelson produced it, Daniel Pearl shot it, and Peter Lippman was the production manager.
If you ever get a chance to watch the literal music video for this, then do so. I doubt it will surface again though seeing as this music video almost didn’t get an official release because of the issues surrounding all the cameos.
When I was a kid I remember seeing the album Countdown To Extinction in the store. I remember it to this day–not because I was listening to them at the time, but because of that cover.
I saw that, and figured this band was not for me. I was a child at the time. I didn’t really get into heavy metal till I went to Cal in 2007. I knew some of the big bands, and had probably heard music they had done, but that was about it. The only band I remember having an album for in the 90s was Metallica. That’s fitting when discussing Megadeth because they are an unintentional spinoff of that group.
Lead-singer Dave Mustaine was the guitarist for Metallica until he was kicked out of the band in 1983. Metallica were well known for their heavy drinking. They were even nicknamed Alcohollica for awhile. The problem was apparently that while the rest of the band were funny drunks, Mustaine was a violent drunk. That was too much of a deadly combination, so they kicked Mustaine out of the group. Kirk Hammett would end up taking his place. To say that Mustaine was heart-broken. I remember an interview he gave close to twenty years later where it did, or nearly brought him to tears.
After Metallica, Mustaine would go on to form Megadeth. A couple of successful albums later, and they hit upon the one that featured the classic, Peace Sells. That song was so popular that according to Mustaine in the book I Want My MTV, MTV even stole part of it to use it in the theme for MTV News:
MTV scammed me. They never paid for using the bass line from “Peace Sells” as the MTV News theme. I wrote that music.
Several albums later, they released Countdown To Extinction. The album did well–I’m sure this amazing video didn’t hurt.
There are different stories floating around about the source of the song. If you go to Wikipedia, then you get this alleged quote from Mustaine:
I wrote that about myself. It was pointed out to me that I’m kind of schizophrenic and that I live inside my head. Which is something I don’t subscribe to, but I enjoyed the theory nonetheless.”, and “I think all of us are sweating bullets all the time. Society’s a joke right now, and people are getting more and more hostile. When you think about having an evil twin or schizophrenia, I think a lot of us are schizo, because we live inside our heads. There’s someone we all confer with; it’s called our conscience. Some people cannot control their other side; it takes them over. Everybody has that psychotic side. Everyone has a thing that will make them snap.
The problem is that if you actually follow the source cited for the quote, then it takes you to a page that no longer exists even though it was apparently retrieved on January, 23rd 2017.
Hop over to Songfacts and you get a bit of a different story.
Dave Mustaine has said that the song is about himself, and that he wrote it after “it was pointed out to me that I’m kind of schizophrenic and that I live inside my head.”
He revealed on VH1’s That Metal Show, however, that the song was inspired by a friend of his girlfriend (and later, his wife), Pam. This friend suffered from anxiety attacks – Mustaine called her “s–thouse crazy.” She would take Pam to a party, have an anxiety spell and leave her; Mustaine would get the call and have to pick her up.
After Mustaine wrote this song, Pam thought it was about her, but Dave assured her she was “not that crazy.” Said Mustaine, “I wrote this song about her nutty friend.”
The video is a perfect storm of concept, director, and cinematographer.
The video shows us Mustaine in a nightmarish mental health cell where we are taken into his brain by literally seeing multiple versions of himself talking and interacting with each other.
There are two parts that I particularly like.
The first part is when two Mustaines are harassing another from the sides while that one is holding what looks like a human heart before they all come into sync to say the lyric, “Mankind has got to know his limitations.”
The other part is when you see one Mustaine kicking another in the face who is sitting in a corner.
The director of the video is Wayne Isham. Isham has worked with everyone from Rod Stewart to The Spin Doctors to Faith Hill. He seems to have primarily worked with heavy metal bands that include both Metallica and Megadeath. He is credited with inventing the Bon Jovi video for Mötley Crüe–Home Sweet Home–and then giving it to Bon Jovi, who built their career on that style.
The cinematographer is none other than Daniel Pearl. Pearl is the man who has shot well over 400 music videos from the early 80s to today. You could probably write a whole book that is comprised of a series of interviews with him about each video he remembers working on, and you would have a mini-history of music videos from the MTV-era.
He has only helmed a couple of projects because he has stated that he’s perfectly happy with being a cinematographer. One of the few videos that he got behind the camera for was Butterfly by Mariah Carey. He has shot seventeen of her music videos. He has also worked on several feature films, including the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
That’s why I referred to this video as a perfect storm.
I made a mistake yesterday when I spotlighted Fantasy by Mariah Carey. I only relied on mvdbase for directing credits, so I thought this music video was solely directed and shot by Daniel Pearl. It turns out, she co-directed it with him. He still shot it, but they made the video together. You can still see the strong influence that a talent of Pearl’s caliber had on the music video. It also makes it more interesting to talk about since this video does share aspects with Fantasy, that was directed only by Carey, and those elements are used correctly this time.
The video starts us outside the house as we rise up from behind a birdbath. You’re immediately greeted with white columns that are like prison bars. It is raining. That means that inside of the two seconds that the initial shot lasts, we get a hint that there was once something here that is now empty, the house is like a prison, and the rain sets the sad tone the video begins on.
The next shot we see a man walking past what could be flowers lying on the ground.
That shot is followed by a clear shot into the rain-filled birdbath with the faceless man way in the background, and out of focus, climbing the stairs onto the porch of the house. That confirms to the audience that the birdbath is now only filled with rain that acts as a stand-in for tears while also telling us that the video is now moving from the emptiness of the outside to the interior of this prison. Him being out of focus also highlights his faded existence in Carey’s life.
The rain is then shown washing off the mud his footprint left on the stair. Tears may be sad, but that shot tells us that we are supposed to see them as a cleansing force rather than something that is going to drive Carey deeper into herself. It is also another sign that he is being washed out of her life as he is in the present.
Then we begin our trip into the house through the Baby Doll inspired hole-in-the-wall. You can just barely see the man’s finger in the lower lefthand-corner as the camera moves forward to show us Carey on a bed with a rocking horse behind it. Then, in a split-second, we see Carey get a small smile on her face. That is followed by a shot of her legs that, along with everything else about the shot, indicates to us that she is an attractive person that is cooped up in this house in bed like she is a baby in the safety of her crib. Then the lyrics kick in, we start to get to know her, and begin her journey.
The next shot is of Carey in a barn with a baby horse. You can also see a shadow that moves across the entrance and quickly disappears. We’ve gone from his feet to a quick shot of his hands to a shadow. The horse has gone from something wooden in a room that obviously means something to him since he is making one last visit to it, but that we and Carey are already moving past it. These parts are memories that she is thinking of as she lies half-asleep in bed.
We get a few more shots into the house through the hole, and our last shot of the guy as he pulls away. Awake and still in the bed, she visualizes the horse in the barn again and it running around a small patch of grass surrounded by a wooden fence. She sees the outside via a window that we can see has had been wiped away at to make it possible to see through it–probably on numerous occasions. It cuts between these window shots and her getting progressively up from lying in the bed before she finally rises to move onto the next stage of her recovery.
Now we see her on the stairs. But we see her from behind the bars of the stairs.
We also see the chandelier that is beautiful, but abandoned, as shown by the cobwebs on it. It’s another sign that there was something here once and that this house has now become a prison that needs to be escaped from no matter how gorgeous it once was. This is done at the same time as we see the golden-light shining in from outside representing hope, and indicating to the audience that the video will now move Carey to the next stage of her recovery, which she does as she runs down the stairs outside.
As she does it, we can see that there is not only the peeling on the wall that we could see before, but also another hole in a wall.
We next see Carey outside straddling a tree branch like she would if she were riding a horse. The tree is an intermediary step. It reminds her of both riding the horse and stability–since the tree won’t move.
We can also see the wind blowing in her hair that is in contrast to her hair being stationary inside the house. We also get conflicting images of the horse still in the little gated area and running wild with other horses. It is also no longer raining outside, but can see tears on Carey’s face. She’s beginning to let go.
We now see Carey holding onto the trunk of the tree. She is no longer in its embrace. She is standing on her own two feet, but leaning against it for comfort because she hasn’t completely let go yet. It cuts back a few times to her in the tree before she runs away from it.
Next, we see Carey finally taking the horse out from the first gate that kept it in a very small area.
That is followed by the horse jumping the barb-wire fence. While the horse makes it over the fence, it still catches its legs on it.
Carey then runs up and grabs the fence herself, wounding her hand. It cuts back to her in the tree at first, then follows that with her knocking down the fence. Her and the horse are escaping free, yet wounded. This nicely ties the horse and Carey together. Both were trapped, and in releasing one, the other also gained their freedom. The cut tells us that while necessary, it isn’t painless, no matter how strong she has become at this point.
We now see her ride the horse for the first time in the video.
We see her feed it, and have some last moments with the horse before the camera pans up to show that she is alone again like she was at the start.
The difference is she is outside in the sun, hopeful, ready to start again, and free of the memories of the relationship that were comforting and confining.
The whole time, these images and transitions correspond with the music and lyrics. In particular, she keeps talking about what she is letting go returning to her if they were meant to be together. We see that it doesn’t. I like how you can read this apparent contradiction in different ways.
There are a couple of other things to notice while you watch the music video. There are several indicators of the passage of time. One of my favorite ones is the way the wood that makes up the wood fence changes. Sometimes it looks new.
Other times it appears to be rotting with vines growing on it.
The other thing I like is that it is usually not a single horse running free. You can read that several ways too.
In Fantasy, the rollercoaster elements are isolated and don’t appear throughout the video. It’s a memorable visual, but that’s it. It is also gone at about a minute-and-forty seconds out of the approximately four-minute runtime. The Butterfly equivalent to the rollercoaster is the horse. The difference is that the horse, and what it represents, is interwoven throughout the video from it being a rocking horse behind the bed to running wild beyond both of the fences–wooden and barbed-wire. Yes, the two songs are quite different in their subject matter, but it could have served the same purpose. It kicks off the song, but doesn’t bookend the video even though it should since it can stand in for a ride through the “fantasy” as well as the song itself.
The other thing that is used better is blur. It is distracting in Fantasy, feels like someone trying out a new feature they discovered on their camera, and almost gives you the impression that Carey wanted to blur out everyone else to place the sole focus on her. Here, you only really notice it when someone tells you to look for it. Otherwise, just like the progression of the horse, it feels seamless.
I’ve done numerous music videos inspired by movies so far. Yesterday’s Opposites Attract by Paula Abdul is based off of Anchors Aweigh (1945) with Gene Kelly. However, this is the first one that not only explicitly remade a particular film, or part of a film, but also got the director of said film. Stanley Donen actually directed this music video for Lionel Richie.
It was shot by Daniel Pearl because of course it was. For those of you counting, that makes four music videos shot by Daniel Pearl that I have spotlighted so far. That is out of his around 450+ documented music videos.
According to Wikipedia, this was shot at Laird Studios in Culver City and at the LeMondrian Hotel in West Hollywood on a budget that was somewhere between $350,000 and $500,000.
The music video’s main influence is of course Royal Wedding (1951), which Stanley Donen directed. But it also has a nod to The Seven Year Itch (1955).
This music video was such a big deal at the time that HBO aired a half-hour special about the making of it.
Michael Peters did the choreography. He also did the choreography for Beat It and Thriller as well as Love Is A Battlefield.
Rodney Dangerfield and Cheech Marin make cameo appearances. Diane Alexander, who would later marry Lionel Richie, is also in the music video as one of the dancers.
Donen and Glenn Goodwin produced the music video.
While the song did well when it was released, it still made Blender magazine’s list of the 50 Worst Songs Ever. Of course they are using WatchMojo’s definition of “ever”. That means there are only four songs that pre-date the 1980s, they had to be “hit songs”, and somehow their staff had heard every “hit song” that had ever been “released” at the time.
Judging by the songs on the list, Blender magazine thought Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go–not on the list–is a better song than The Sounds Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel–on the list. Or if we are to take its title for what it says the list is, it means Anger Is My Middle Name by Thor–not on the list–is a better song than Broken Wings by Mr. Mister–on the list. Let that one sink it. Kudos to the trolls who came up with this list. That is unless it was meant to be a parody of these kinds of lists. That’s probably a stretch. Regardless, it is amazing when you stop to think about it. This song was #20, mainly on the grounds that it was probably written with the music video in mind. That never happens.
All that said, there are far better Lionel Richie songs and music videos out there. I just happened to stumble upon this one the other day and it paired well with Opposites Attract that did a much better job being based off of an Old Hollywood movie–even if it did imply that Abdul has sexual relations with a cat.
Footnote: One of the underlying themes behind Blender’s choices is whether the song offended them in some way, such as their portrayal of minorities. That’s rich considering one of their comments on Kokomo by The Beach Boys is:
“It’s all anodyne harmonizing and forced rhymes (“To Martinique, that Montserrat mystique!”) that would have driven Brian totally nuts had he not been totally nuts already.”
They also complain about We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel this way:
“Can you fit a cultural history of the twentieth century into four minutes? Uh, no
Despite its bombastic production, ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ resembles a term paper scribbled the night before it’s due. As the song progresses, Joel audibly realizes he can’t cram it all in: The ’70s get four bellowed words amid the widdly-woo guitars and meet-thy-maker drums. The chorus denies responsibility for any events mentioned, clearing up the common misconception that Billy Joel developed the H-bomb.
Worst Moment: “China’s under martial law, rock & roller cola wars!”: No way does conflating Tiananmen Square with Michael Jackson selling Pepsi trivialize a massacre.”
Truly, the period between 1949-1989 is the cultural history of a century.
Yes, it is weird that a song about Billy Joel’s memories of growing up in a world that was already filled with a history of horrible things would go from fine details to jumping over decades with mentions of only a few things from them. It’s almost as if when you grow older, the things that occurred when you were a child affected you more than the ones you encountered later in your life. Specifically, his list of events start to drop off exactly when he would have turned 21 in 1960. What followed was an uprising during a frightening period most visibly shot down by civil rights leaders being murdered and then a further clampdown on that period of change afterwards. Crackdowns on freedom and living under the threat of nuclear annihilation would be relevant to kids growing up in the 1980s. After that, it makes sense that he would lose track of events and just see them as horrors that his generation has left the next one despite attempts to change things. He would also go through them fast since that clampdown did occur so fast that America went in the span of ten years from Woodstock to Reagan being the president-elect.
Oh, and he mentions Watergate, Punk Rock, Menachem Begin, Former Governor Ronald Reagan starting his bid for the Presidency, Palestine (the Israeli-Palestine conflict was still going on after Begin was elected), the airplane hijackings of the 1970s, the rise of Ayatollah in Iran, and Russians invading Afghanistan. That’s four things from the 70s, right?
I can also understand how they could misunderstand the chorus that is interwoven with the events that occurred in the world that Joel grew up with, lived threw as a young man, and is now seeing a new generation inheriting along with new problems as meaning that there’s a denial of responsibility for those events. It’s almost as if the song takes you through the life of one person who lived through a period when even with large numbers of people uprising, it still only caused changes, but not an alteration to the trajectory of the world that continues to burn and appeared to only speed up after those changes.
Finally, I am truly offended that Joel would end the song with China being under martial law and Coke & Pepsi running ads using rock & roll stars to sell soda being mentioned back-to-back. Being so confused at the end that he says “I can’t take it anymore” bothers me. Rock and Roll being a driving force in causing people in communist countries to uprise during the 80s with that same genre being used to make people think the important battle in their life is between two types of sugar-water truly is to “trivialize a massacre.” The Tiananmen Square protests were also the height of the popularity of Chinese rocker Cui Jian when his song Nothing To My Name became an anthem for the protestors. That reminds me, one of these days I’ll have to review the 1989 Soviet film Gorod Zero where Rock and Roll is portrayed as the savior of their country.
Sorry, I just had to mention that here since I already did that music video before I found this amazingly ignorant list. I also wanted to mention it because it really makes me think that this was purely intended to troll people or outright parody these kinds of lists. I would love to have an actual copy of the magazine so I would have more context than text excerpts.
Happy Birthday, Erin! If it weren’t for your Artwork of the Day posts, then these posts probably wouldn’t exist. I can’t thank you enough.
Okay, so why did I pick out this particular music video?
The title fits with Erin’s handle on here.
It starts off with a big picture of something you would find on a pulp novel that she would post. The mermaid later on also looks like something I would expect to see on an Artwork of the Day post.
Just like The Warrior by Scandal that I featured for Lisa’s birthday, this was also shot by Texas Chainsaw Massacre cinematographer Daniel Pearl.
Also, it connects exploitive artwork together with dancing thanks to director Kenny Ortega.
Speaking of Kenny Ortega, he has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments over the decades.
Recently he brought us what I have been told is an abomination of a remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
He also brought us the nightmare fuel that is the High School Musical films.
He choreographed Material Girl for Madonna.
A year before this music video he choreographed what has been deemed in recent years to be one of the most homoerotic music videos of the early-80s. That being the one for Billy Joel’s Allentown. Billy Joel himself is quoted in the book I Want My MTV about the video. He said that when it blew up on the Internet, he went back and took a look at it. He sees it too, but said that he honestly didn’t notice at the time. I believe him. It does look like a David DeCoteau 1313 movie at times except with dance and set to music. However, it still looks like a good representation of what Joel is singing about. I can see the homoeroticism going over Joel’s head.
Oh, and he is credited with single-handedly destroying Billy Squier’s career with his music video for Squier’s song Rock Me Tonite that he made a year after this one. If you read this Lisa, anytime you want, just tell me, and you can take one of the days to do a post on that music video. I would love to see you tear it apart by talking about everything wrong with the horrifying dancing in it.
There was some justice on that fifth one. Based on his music video credits on mvdbase, it appears that after Rock Me Tonite, almost nobody wanted to work with him. That wouldn’t matter too much though since he was also working on films like St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), Pretty In Pink (1986), and Dirty Dancing (1987), to name a few, before also going on to direct Newsies (1992) for Disney.
As for The Tubes, they are a San Francisco band that has important connections to the formation of MTV.
In the early days of MTV, one of the things they were in desperate need of was cable subscribers. One of the most successful ways they spread cable was through the infamous “I Want My MTV” slogan. That goes back to the funny $1 story with Mick Jagger. Another way they got cable subscribers was by proving the network was having an effect on the record industry rather than just being a curiosity. This is where The Tubes play a big part.
John Sykes and Tom Freston were sent by Bob Pittman to Tulsa, Oklahoma because that was where they had the highest concentration of subscribers according to Freston. One night Pittman got a call from them with some news. They noticed that a record store in the area was sold out of The Tubes. Since they were the only one playing The Tubes, according to Pittman, they knew it had to be them. Pittman said that was the first evidence they had that they were causing records to be sold.
The music video for their song Prime Time was played on the first day of MTV. They also had a few more made in 1981 before having a big hit with She’s A Beauty. It was in heavy rotation on the network. It’s a prime example of the kind of music The Tubes made. They were known for things like What Do You Want From Life? (consumerism/media), Talk To Ya Later (sex/politics/media), and the song White Punks On Dope, which is about their own fans.
That’s the one where their lead singer would come out as the character named Quay-Lewd wearing ridiculously high platform heels while being dressed like some combination between a classical musician and a punk. In the performances I have seen on YouTube, they would have him get pinned down by a falling stack of amps during the instrumental portion. You can see a reference to that when “Beauty” and the kid plow through a stack of amps.
Chuck, my new concert correspondent, has this to say about seeing them live (you can also read it in the comments below):
There are very few bands I haven’t seen in concert at least once. The Tubes in concert were right at the top of my “best” list. They were absolutely incredible. If you didn’t love them when it started, you certainly did when it ended. They weren’t really concerts, but life changing, spectacular events.
At one of their concerts in Santa Monica, the ensemble on stage during their last song of the night included a full choir, three or four high school cheerleader squads, the UCLA drum corps and marching band, around 70 jugglers, dancers, acrobats, various musicians, circus animals, (including an elephant) The Tubes themselves, and gawd knows what else. Everyone in the audience was jumping on their seats, which isn’t easy in folding theater seats. We were all hoarse from singing along (screaming along?) during “WPOD”
… and all this was AFTER most of the audience had the crap scared out of them during a way too real “terrorist takeover” lead-in to “Funky Revolution.” Something no band would dare attempt nowadays.
The kid was played by the late Alexis Arquette. It was her first acting job at the age of 13.
I first saw this back in the early-2000s when it was played on VH1 Classic. I was hooked instantly. It seemed to take forever to end up on YouTube. It is near the top as one of my favorite bizarre 80s music videos. Patty Smyth on the other hand was not happy with it, saying in the book I Want My MTV:
“When I saw the video, I was crestfallen…I had no idea it would look like an off-Broadway production of Cats.”
I am glad she didn’t realize it would look the way it does. I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t see Patty Smyth in ridiculous hair and make-up, move in to do battle with a guy who has just fought off dancers in post-apocalyptic costumes, including appearing to have snapped a woman’s back in half. Seriously, is that what happened to the lady in pink? The music video sure makes it look like it. Even Smyth reacts like it happened. It wouldn’t be the strangest thing I have noticed while re-watching an 80s music video. If you pay close attention to the one for Karma Chameleon by Culture Club, then you’ll notice there is a split second where two guys appear to be stuffing a corpse into a wicker basket.
There are even crazier music videos featuring dance–*cough* Bonnie Tyler *cough*–but I hope this will do. It was also shot by Daniel Pearl, who others might not know by now, seems to have shot every music video under the sun, as well as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
It was directed by David Hahn who appears to have directed this music video, and nothing else. Did Patty Smyth blackball him? I highly doubt it, but I wouldn’t have put it past her. You might not know this, but before Van Halen went to Sammy Hagar, they asked her to front the band. You can read about that here. I get why she didn’t take the job. Among other things, she said, “If I had done that, I never would have written ‘Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough.'” Still, I can hear her in my head belting out songs like Why Can’t This Be Love? and Humans Being.
Ken Walz produced it, who you might recall producing I Know What Boys Like by The Waitresses.
That’s it! I hope you have a great birthday, Lisa.
I love and hate when I end up with a music video like this one. I love it because there isn’t a whole lot to talk about, but that’s also why I don’t like it. At least Cyndi Lauper’s She Bop let me off the hook with a simple joke. That music video really does speak for itself.
Brian De Palma shot this video over two nights in Saint Paul, Minnesota on the 28th and 29th of June 1984. The first was purely shot for the music video. The other was shot on the opening night of the Born in the U.S.A. Tour. Springsteen and the E Street Band performed it twice during the show to make sure De Palma got enough footage. De Palma shot it because he was a big fan of Springsteen. As far as I know, there isn’t anything more to that.
The other major thing is that this is the music video with Courteney Cox getting pulled up onstage to dance with Springsteen. I love how she just launches up onstage with him. It looks like they had some steps or something so that Springsteen wouldn’t be yanking her up there.
As for the music video as a whole, it’s clean, simple, and De Palma obviously knew how to capture the energy of the group. You’d think that Springsteen hadn’t quite picked up acting because he seems starstruck and having the time of his life, but I don’t think so. I have never seen him live, but you can roll back to 1981 and watch the music video for The River to see that simply isn’t true. You can even go back further to 1977’s Thunder Road and see again that it isn’t true. I think the reason Springsteen looks like that is that it was probably the first time he was doing this kind of stage performance music video. I can imagine De Palma telling Springsteen to just let all the energy out regardless of what time they were shooting, and that he would make it look good.
Of course I type of all of that, and then stumble upon something really interesting. This was not the original way the music video was going to be done. It was originally going to be directed by Jeff Stein and shot by veteran cinematographer Daniel Pearl. There was a little falling out between Pearl and Springsteen during shooting that ended up coming around full circle on the shooting of Springsteen’s Human Touch. I would link to the site that explains the whole thing, but it looks like it might have been destroyed since it was posted in 2011, and is in limbo thanks to the Google Cache. Assuming that’s the case, I have repeated it below with a link to their site that may or may not work.
Here is an example of how the music video could have looked. Hopefully the two videos are still up when you read this post.
At the end of July, a video surfaced online of the music video of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”, but not the iconic version directed by Brian DePalma where Courtney Cox makes her famous appearance at the end dancing with the Boss. This one is a somewhat blurry, copy-of-a-copy duplicated-tape version with Springsteen and Clarence Clemons on a soundstage, literally dancing in the dark.
So what IS this footage, where was it shot, and why has it never been seen before? Legend told of a first version of the song shot before the DePalma version, but no consensus has ever been reached on what happened.
Now, THE GOLDEN AGE OF MUSIC VIDEO has uncovered the true story of this first attempt to shoot the “Dancing in the Dark” video, straight from the two GAMV luminaries who helmed the original shoot: director of photography Daniel Pearl and video director Jeff Stein.
An award-winning cinematographer whose career spans nearly forty years, Daniel Pearl should be heralded as the MVP of the Golden Age of Music Video. Having acted as director of photography on a multitude of legendary music videos – everything from Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” to the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” to Guns N’ Roses “November Rain” – Pearl has always given music videos and commercials their cinematic due by treating each shot with feature film-level attention. Serving as cinematographer on the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, Pearl has made all his music video projects, big budget or small, sparkle and shine in ways only the most gifted eye could.
“What happened was this,” Pearl explained about the first “Dancing” shoot. “I’d never worked with Jeff before, but Jeff is a New Yorker, and a producer named John Diaz put us together. Jeff’s idea was that ‘Dancing in the Dark’ was Bruce Springsteen in a completely dark space — black floor, black walls, black ceiling, stage as well. We’re at Kaufman Astoria Studios. Bruce Springsteen in a room in the dark. And I went, ‘Well, that isn’t really much of a concept,’ but he goes, “Oh no, it will be cool. Don’t worry about it, it’d be cool.’”
“Now for Bruce, this was the first single he’s releasing after Nebraska, which was not that big of a hit for him, so, Bruce is very nervous,” Pearl continued. “We’re all on set now and Bruce is really pumped. I mean, he’s been working out, and he has a little bit of stubble. Now, I would take a look at people when they first show up. I’ll say hello, and I take a quick look at their face to see, if I know them, if anything is changed – I’m seeing how to light them. I’m take a look at their face and where they part their hair — I mean, those all things that matter to me when I do the lighting. So anyhow, he’s got serious sideburns. Big sideburns, he’s pumped, rippling muscles in his arms, good muscle definition, he’s wearing a wife beater sleeveless shirt, sharkskin pants, and black pointy-toe shoes and basically, that’s the New Jersey, sort-of early ‘60s thing going on, right? But very manly, right? So I lit him very hard – hard edge lights for his rippling muscles, and just really chiseled him with light. He comes out and he stands there and he goes, ‘I don’t know. I think you should get like a big silk [lighting filter] out here and just put a big light through the silk, and silk over the camera, the big silk, you put a big light through it and I go, ‘That’s how we light Stevie Nicks.’ I said, ‘You’re not a p*ssy, you’re quite the opposite. You’re super manly here. I can’t light you like I would light a woman.’ And he said, ‘But that’s what I want.’ And Jeff Stein is there, and said, ‘Just try it once doing it Daniel’s way, and if you don’t like it, we’ll change it.’”
“So we shoot [a few takes], right? Then Bruce goes to the green room, and never returns. Bruce leaves. He just disappears. Doesn’t say a word to anybody, and he’s just out the door, gone. I’m like, ‘Oh, f*ck.’ I’m thinking to myself ‘Oh, my God. Am I, like, responsible for this falling apart?’ John Diaz says to me, “Don’t worry about it. It’s not on you, blah blah blah.’” But Pearl blamed himself and his comments for Springsteen’s quick departure.
Director Jeff Stein, a friend of Springsteen’s to this day, said he was brought in to direct this video, but immediately had misgivings about shooting Bruce in anything other than a concert setting. Then, when the concept of Springsteen and Clarence Clemons in an all-black background setting was established, Stein wanted to try shooting the video all in one take. Reluctant to further discuss the details of the shoot on the record with me, but acknowledging that Pearl was to blame for the walkout, Stein would only agree to be quoted as saying, “I love Bruce, and I had nothing to do with it [the video]. I usually take the blame, but not for that (laugh).”
The whole experience left Pearl somewhat scarred, resulting in him deflecting any opportunity to work with the Boss again. Pearl then started shooting various projects for commercial and music video director Meiert Avis, and soon, a Springsteen video was the next gig scheduled. Pearl said no. Three or four Springsteen videos came to Avis, and Pearl could not bring himself to say yes to any of them, still feeling guilt from the “Dancing in the Dark” experience.
“So Meiert goes to me, ‘So what am I going to do? I got a Bruce Springsteen job,’” Pearl recalls. “So I said, ‘I’m not going to shoot Springsteen. No, no, no. I told you, I don’t shoot Springsteen. No.’”
Little did Pearl realize that he was destined to cross paths with Springsteen again.
“So then a few years pass, and Meiert hired me to shoot a band called the Rituals and we’re shooting all the view on materials, it’s always like rituals like ancient African rituals, and we’re shooting in this cave and we got this moving camera. There’s lightning-strikes machine, and we’re shooting weddings and all first strange ritualistic behavior. And then when shoot material with this girl in like a ‘30s or ‘40s apartment. Well, we’re shooting the girl and there’s lightning flashing, and they told me we’re going to New Orleans, and there’s going to a street car and a spark when it goes over the joint. And so I’m playing with that in this shoot as well, and there are interior lights coming through the windows.”
“In between takes, I look, and Springsteen comes walking into the studio. So I go, ‘Oh, f*ck. What the f*ck is he doing here?’ I’m thinkin he’s probably coming out to a meeting with Meiert to talk about either what’s he going to be doing in the future, or look at some video Meiert made for him. So I just keep my eye here on the camera, thinking I’ll just stay with the camera and he’ll leave eventually. I won’t to have to deal with this guy. I’m not going to talk to him. So we’re shooting another take and as we finished the take, I get tapped on the shoulder by Springsteen, and he goes, ‘Daniel, the circle becomes complete.’ He says, ‘You were right on how you wanted to light me. I was wrong. This is my song. We’re shooting here now, and this is the only way we could get you to do it. I want to apologize because you were right.’ And that turned out to be the video for ‘Human Touch’, which I think, is a great video in a lot of ways.”