[Mourning Jams] Day 7: “Midnight City”

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.

For their 2011 album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83 released a trilogy of music videos all directed by Fleur & Manu that are an interconnected story of psychically gifted kids breaking free of their oppressors and banding together. The first video in the saga, “Midnight City,” is below and is a pretty thrilling story with cool visuals along with a killer electronic track. At the time of recording “Midnight City,” M83 consisted of Anthony Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez, Morgan Kibby, and Justin Meldal-Johnsen. These days, it’s mostly just Anthony Gonzalez who will be releasing a new album, DSVII, in the near future.

Anthony Gonzalez is no stranger to genre work, though, as he provided the score for his brother Yann’s outstanding film KNIFE + HEART. For those looking for a mash-up of retro giallo sounds and current pop synth orchestrations, it’s a great soundtrack to pick up. Directors Fleur & Manu have worked with Drake, Lykke Li, Skrillex, The Avalanches and more. There are clear genre influences in the “Midnight City” music video from works like AKIRA, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. It even pulls from Stephen King’s Firestarter (government testing on kids with special abilities), and some of haunting lighting visuals would be repurposed in Edgar Wright’s THE WORLD’S END.

With Stranger Things and King’s own recent novel, The Institute, it seems there is a continued trope of governments experimenting on those with special abilities—especially kids. It’s most likely a leftover of real life Cold War programs like MKUltra or even more horrible events like the Tuskegee Experiments, but also speaks to the idea that the aging establishment sees talent and youth as assets to control and exploit; a theme that continues to resonate.

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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