[Mourning Jams] Day 3: “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”

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.

It’s pretty impressive act of hubris to have the debut single of an album claim that a group is “back,” and yet that is what the Backstreet Boys did with “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” in the United States in 1998. Granted, that album was technically their second album internationally and was released in 1997, so it makes some sense…but it’s still a weird flex.

The music video for “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” kicks off, much like Huey Lewis and The News in yesterday’s post, with the group’s bus breaking down. The bus driver brings them to a weird castle to stay the night where the Tiger Beat fodder have weird dreams that sees them as different figures from horror history and also doing some sweet synchronized choreography together. Beyond the premise and some pretty good (and some pretty sketchy) make-up for the creature stuff, the video is actually chock full of connections to various genre titles.

“Everybody” was directed Joseph Kahn (TORQUE, DETENTION, BODIED) and the castle is the same house used in 1995’s live action CASPER movie. The bus driver is played by Antonio Fargas—a major staple of blaxploitation and grindhouse films including FOXY BROWN, SHAFT, I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA, CAR WASH, PUTNEY SWOPE, and a long running stint as “Huggy Bear” on Starsky & Hutch. The monsters are throwbacks to Universal Monsters (again), like The Mummy, Dracula, The Wolfman, Phantom of the Opera, and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, with an appearance by Frankenstein’s monster at the end. Oh, and the song is used to perfection in 2013’s apocalyptic comedy THIS IS THE END.

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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