[Mourning Jams] Day 12: “Long Hard Road Out Of Hell”

October 2019 is a celebration of horror and musicThis 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.

Marilyn Manson has always tread the line between evocative and tryhard. On the one hand, his music and imagery can have laserpoint focus on the hypocritical, shallow, and otherwise truly corruptive elements in society that lead to a growing internal rage. On the other, there is a sense that Brian Hugh Warner saw Alice Cooper and decided to really get in those squares’ faces and wake up the sheeple. That being said, he and his eponymous band have turned out some excellent albums, songs, and music videos. Look no further than the amazing song and video, “Long Hard Road Out Of Hell”—which has an impressive pedigree that weirdly connects with a bunch of cultural touchstones.

The song (named after a line in Paradise Lost) was created in collaboration with the Sneaker Pimps for the soundtrack to the 1997 SPAWN movie. The soundtrack for the Todd McFarlane comic book film was overseen by Happy Walters, who has supervised many soundtracks and music selections from 1993 up to this day. Much like his work with the JUDGMENT NIGHT soundtrack, Walters wanted tracks that fused two different styles of music together—in this case electronica/techno and heavy rock/industrial. It should also be noted that Walters was the co-founder of Immortal Records which not only unleashed those two soundtracks on the world, but also launched the careers of Korn, Incubus, and Thirty Seconds To Mars. Manson and Twiggy Ramirez wrote the song with producer Sean Beaven (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses) and the Sneaker Pimps were brought in to add some production elements, but mostly just sing harmonies and back-up.

The video for “Long Hard Road Out Of Hell” was directed by famed photographer Matthew Rolston, who was discovered by Andy Warhol and has shot almost every celebrity in the latter half of the 20th century for Interview and Rolling Stone and others, before going on to make music videos with every conceivable type of artist. Seriously—his music video filmography includes spots for Don Henley, En Vogue, Foo Fighters, Morrissey, David Bowie, Jewel, TLC, Matchbox 20, and many others—including, of course, Marilyn Manson.

This music video was shot in the Ambassador Hotel (where RFK was assassinated), and utilizes a lot of intentionally “profane” imagery with Manson and others striking religious poses from icons and other biblical depictions while slathered in blood and goth makeup. There’s a lithe androgyny to Manson, specifically, in this video as he writhes around in a sheer dress and fantastic hair, blurring the lines of imposed gender roles and sexual identities. Unsurprisingly, MTV did not play “Long Hard Road Out Of Hell” often due to its scandalous elements. Rolston elevates upending religious iconography to a mesmerizing art as he captures it all beautifully in distorted tableaus, vivid colors, and blasphemously seductive staging.

In 4 minutes and 20 seconds (kaaawink), “Long Hard Road Out Of Hell” invokes or is connected to: John Milton, Renaissance Christian art, Aleister Crowley, various R&B artist of the ’80s and ’90s, the mid-’90s techno scene, the early-’90s goth scene, the late-’90s nü-metal scene, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Manson, RFK being blown away. What else do I have to say?

Oh, and somehow Adam Sandler fits into this, too. (No, seriously—Sandler was Happy Walters’ best man at Walters’ first wedding and Walters is also reportedly the partial inspiration for HAPPY GILMORE). Now THAT…is a long road. Also the song remains dope.

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

Rob Dean

Based out of Austin TX, Rob writes some things for the Internet: sometimes film reviews, sometimes funny stuff, but all embedded with secret Masonic messages. He loves film, comic books, and is still mourning the loss of Pushing Daisies. His dream is to one day have his musical based on The Goonies debut on stage. Yes, that last part is real.
Rob Dean

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