[Mourning Jams] Day 10: “Dancing With Myself”

October 2019 is a celebration of horror and music

This October, Daily Grindhouse is celebrating the collision between music and horror with a series of posts under the banner of Rocktoberfest 2019. There will be daily features, recurring bits, and some special posts around the subject.

Mourning Jams is your daily kick off every morning with a different music video that has some horror elements to it. Crossing genres, decades, and more, it’s a good way to get in the spooky mood this Halloween month.

Admittedly, “horror” is not one of the first things people think of when they hear a Billy Idol song. And even when it’s specifically his song “Dancing With Myself,” people will most likely go with the urban legend that it’s about masturbation (it’s not…but print the legend, even when the legend is jacking off). However, the pop punk prince with the sizzling sneer not only delivered an exceptionally fun little ditty, but also a pretty horrific music video with honest-to-goodness genre bonafides.

The song was originally recorded by Idol’s band, Generation X, but then he re-recorded to little or no fanfare. But this was 1981 and there was the rise of MTV and the music video. So Billy Idol brought in TOBE FUCKING HOOPER to direct “Dancing With Myself.” There’s no credits on the video or IMDB, but it’s fairly well known and Idol himself confirmed it on Twitter upon hearing of Hooper’s death. Now that rotting corpse with the doll makes a bit more sense, right? Furthermore, the concept is pulling from THE OMEGA MAN (which is based on Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend) about the last surviving person in a post-apocalyptic world full of mutants trying to attack him. Which leads to the best kind of fighting…dance fighting! “Dancing With Myself” is a pretty fun video, with oddly impressive connections to the horror genre, and definitely worth checking out (again, if it’s been a while).

Tune in tomorrow and every morning in October for a new music video to help start the day on the frightening foot as Halloween swiftly approaches.

Rob Dean
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