This '90s Music Video Is Without A Doubt The Scariest Of The Entire Decade
Watching MTV in the '90s could be as terrifying as any blockbuster horror film thanks to some seriously creepy music videos. Whether it was the resurgence of heavy metal or the public's appetite for the bizarre, the '90s were full of scary music videos. There was Aphex Twin's downright demonic video for "Come to Daddy," and Marilyn Manson turning "Sweet Dreams" into pure nightmare fuel — but the video that likely still haunts the dreams of '90s kids everywhere (including this one) is Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." See, you expect to be terrified by the likes of Manson and Aphex Twin, but Soundgarden's grunge, alt-rock style tended more toward civil disobedience than apocalyptic nightmares.
Then the music video for "Black Hole Sun" happened and suburbia was never the same. The video is deceptively bright, its colors so vividly eye-popping, it will remind you of walking into a candy store — but that's all lies. Beneath the cheerfulness are smiles so wide they deform the faces of a neighborhood on the brink of being sucked into a swirling red sky of doom. In between, there is a Barbie roasting on a grill, a woman with a forked tongue snacking on insects, and a group of locals grinning as they frolic through an idyllic field holding a sign that reads, "The End is Nigh."
The horrors contained within the five-minute video for "Black Hole Sun" creep up on you slowly. They mess with your head as you are forced to see a world full of smiling idiots marching toward their doom. You have to remember, despite the '90s being pretty stable economics-wise, there were a ton of underlying societal fears about the environment, the upcoming millennium, the trustworthiness of the American government, and whether or not TV was making the world dumb. Of course Soundgarden decided to take all of these weird, insidious fears and put them into a blender.
Distorted faces, forced jolliness, and a neighborhood straight out of The Twilight Zone were just the beginning of the dark corners "Black Hole Sun" explored. The video's overarching theme is smile all you want, everyone is going to die and probably in some sort of horrible environmental event that will lead to the sky swallowing everything up. Sweet dreams, kids.
Other videos of the era were more direct with their scares, but Soundgarden cooked up a distorted version of reality that felt eerily plausible at the time. Those frozen, wide-faced grins and the little girl drooling ice cream down her face as the sky above began to swirl were designed to permeate your dreams. For these reasons, "Black Hole Sun" remains the most terrifying video the '90s has to offer.
Watch it again for old time's sake, if you dare.