Music videos aren't supposed to give you nightmares

Ransom Riggs

... and yet, lately, making videos full of creepy, uncanny imagery seems to be the hot thing. David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick and Wes Craven never made music videos, but the hallmarks of their style can be seen all over MTV these days (or wherever it is besides YouTube that music videos premiere -- seriously, where?). If you're not sure what the heck I'm blathering about, allow me to provide a few seminal examples.

Artist: Bat for Lashes
Song: "What's a Girl to Do"
Creepy film it references: Donnie Darko (Animal masks? BMX bikers? Unsettling atmosphere? It's Darko all over.)

Artist: Royksopp
Song: "What Else is There?"
Creepy film it references: More than any film in particular, it seems to echo the photographs of Gregory Crewdson, whose strange and uncanny pictures feel a bit like stills from Spielberg -- if he made horror films. You'll see what I mean:

Artist: The Horrors
Song: "Sheena is a Parasite"
Creepy film it references: Jacob's Ladder, which, don't get me wrong, is an amazing flick. But this video's use of strobe lights, freakishly sped-up, slowed-down and reversed shots of people making grotesque faces, and the whole "my girlfriend is a demon" theme -- pure Ladder. (Though I guess if your band name is "The Horrors," it's all in a day's work.) Warning: potentially too creepy for work.