Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: "Heads Will Roll"

In addition to our "Midweek Fiction" post, we're introducing another regular feature this week--a weekly post about ways in which elements of fantasy and science fiction are represented in the fine arts.  We'll be featuring visual artists and musicians whose work somehow incorporates speculative elements, and hopefully kick off some interesting conversations about how these media forms enhance the fantasy and science fiction genres.

This week, we are featuring the song "Heads Will Roll" by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs.  The song was released in 2009, and Richard Ayoade directed the music video:

The song lyrics themselves don't spell out anything explicitly supernatural (although there is a reference to alchemy); rather, the speculative elements come primarily from the music video.  But while the video features a werewolf, ends with the band members being cut apart, and is primarily colored in red and black, it's also very whimsical--the sparkling costumes of the band, the twinkle lights in the background, and the glitter being thrown up in the air all create a delicate feeling in addition to the darkness.

Sure, it's possible to read this as a mockery of the horror genre, but I find it more interesting to think about the possibilities for fantasy created by juxtaposing whimsy and darkness.  For me, these delicate elements actually highlighted the horror of the werewolf's actions, rather than turned them into something campy.

What are your reactions?  Let us know in the comments!