Snipping off hair, paedophilia, naked ladies, macabre Macbeth, the new video from Marilyn Manson’s eighth studio album of the same name, Born Villain is a rather sordid journey through a goregasmic laboratory where your senses are constantly played with.
Directed by the cherubic Shia LaBeouf, you will definitely find this video very disturbing if you are really not into gore and body modifications and other forms of post-modernist shock kitsch. But, well, this could have been just another Lady Gaga video, more hock quotient minus the shock value. But Shia LaBeouf’s terse directing and as he dubs Marilyn “the scariest person of his teen years”, their vision brings fruit of a now hackneyed genre which is losing its shine due to poor direction and lack of commanding creativity. But when you have the demented Marilyn Manson and the talented Shia LaBeouf, the expectation of getting disappointed is greatly minimized. The video is amazing, articulately shot, and the powerful imageries have a lot of things to tell you only if you are willing to forego your reservations against something so aesthetically violent yet so hauntingly beautiful.
So you have in the beginning Marilyn Manson shearing off the hair of two ladies (who well could be the witches), A paedophile molesting a boy, a William Tell like game where the shooter puts a bullet in the head. If you progress beyond that without painting the walls with your breakfast, there’s another scene where the man cuts out his own eyes, reminding us of that famous eye slitting scene from Un Chien Andalou. Marilyn Manson in the video is a Vincent-Casselesque infernal doctor perfoming body modifications.
And he sings. And this song, though not exactly like his previous singles, manages to catch your mood and attention even if you don’t watch the video. For the video makes the song shout for a place of its own as it overpowers the song. The song is peppered with bleak Macbeth references, like when Manson shoots a man and calmly interjects, “Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.”
Towards the end of the video, we see Manson pulls a needle in and out of a lady’s cheek and then kisses her. You will definitely feel the bile rising unless you are fan of such weird torture gimmicks. It reminded me of Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo series which again is a series of flabbergasting images. The images just reach the extreme as the video nears completion. Manson’s penchant for body modifications clearly serves as a theme in the video as we see him feverishly working on some in the video.
I have a feeling that Born Villain might be the biggest hit of his career as it releases in the autumn of 2011, but as the video sinks in my vein, I still wonder how he got Shia LaBeouf to direct such a scum-filled video of preposterous tenacity. This video will overwhelm you. It’s a tornado. A sheer force of obscure violence which I expect to come from only a violently twisted genius as Manson. This time, two’s a company and two’s a crime as well.