[Mourning Jams] Day 26: “Mad Hatter”

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.

“Mad Hatter” was the last video/quasi-single released by Melanie Martinez from her 2015 debut album, Cry Baby—hitting the internet in September 2017. Like with Martinez’s other work, there is a sense of continuity between her various videos (literally all of K-12‘s videos are a part of her film of the same name), but each can be taken on its own as a singular weird sugar-induced nightmare. Martinez’s sound is a more up-tempo (and less rigor mortis as performance art) version of Lana Del Rey meeting a a more chill but slightly more broken Billie Eilish. For her visual aesthetic, though, Martinez goes full subversion using “innocent” child imagery, a lot of kawaii culture aspects, and magical realism paired with Lynchian sense of lingering shots and effects that turns joy into despair. It is very much a musical extension of the work of artist Mark Ryden brought to infernal depths.

Directed (and conceived) by Martinez, “Mad Hatter” is a delicious slice of creepy with giant stuffed animals transforming into demonic Teletubbie giants, flesh being ripped from the face, and plenty of uncanny valley moments usher along multiple Alice In Wonderland allusions. It’s a spooky pastel nightmare that, like so much in this world, hides its true savagery behind a forced face of compliance and happiness. Check out “Mad Hatter” below!

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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