Meshuggah – Bleed (2008) – Crawling bugs, chained demons, eyeball close-ups, hectic strobe lighting and all playing against brutal, assaultive riffs by a band that contributed to a couple of “Traces of Death” soundtracks and you’ve got the stuff of nightmares here.
Mushroomhead – Your Soul Is Mine (2009) – Produced in connection with “Saw VI”, this video plays like the poker game from hell, as the demented band members sit around a table and are subject to various acts of mutilation.
Deftones – You’ve Seen the Butcher (2010) – At a glance the video for “You’ve Seen the Butcher”, a single from the band’s Diamond Eyes album, seems fun enough, right? Beautiful, writhing girls in various states of undress in a beaten-down library, covered in sweat and jamming to rock. Then the blood starts to rain and suddenly things begin to look like a massacre.
Stabbing Westward – Shame (1996) – Ah, remember when music videos attempted to tell stories? In this eerie little short shocker, a lovely young woman is stalked by her psychotic ex-boyfriend who has recently escaped the mental institution to pay her a visit.
Korn – ADIDAS (1996) – What dreaming about sex all day had to do with mangled corpses in a car accident, I’ll never know. But the video, which depicted the band as a group of corpses featured some truly bizarre imagery, not the least of which the zombie-like re-animation in their body bags, or Jonathan Davis in women’s underwear.
Genesis – Land of Confusion (1986) While somewhat off the beaten path of metal and darkness portrayed on the list thusfar, one can’t discount this bizarre music video, which served as an allegory for Regan-era politics. The video, meant to be a dark political satire, features the grotesquely-exaggerated puppets of various celebrities, political figures and, of course, the band itself. Severed puppet heads in an odd, swampy harvest (ala “Motel Hell”) and other various creatures prove you don’t need a fear of puppets for this video to give you the creeps.
Tool – Stinkfist (1996) – Nobody does “weird” quite like Tool, and the video for their song “Stinkfist”, which featured body-mutilating “sand people” is a warped tour into stop-motion hell that only Tool could effectively provide.
Marilyn Manson – Dope Hat (1995) – Leave it to Marilyn Manson to take an already quite-warped theme like “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” and make it even more bizarre and nightmarish, as Manson tours a boat down a psychedelic river of blood with a group of terrified children in tow.
Nine Inch Nails – Closer (1994) A notorious video by Trent Reznor and Co. freaked the hell out of early 90s MTV viewers with its bizarre, snuff-film like video that gave us an odd blending of sexual fetish, animal mutilation and levitation -and that was just the censored version!
Aphex Twin – Come to Daddy (1997) This is the shit nightmares are made of. As far as I’m concerned, the name Aphex Twin (electronic musician Richard D. James) immediately brings forth the horrifying image of a group of destructive children all bearing James’ leering face, terrorizing locals in a parking garage and a television-born demon crawling from the set to scream in an elderly woman’s face. The video, directed by Chris Cunningham, was a monster success, no-doubt due to its nightmarish visuals, and made Aphex Twin a household name.