14 music videos that are so bad they’re brilliant
Anyone can make a bad music video. There are thousands out there that are poorly shot, fail to make much sense or even worse, they’re dull and forgettable. But to make a video that’s so bad that it comes around to the other side and ends up being sort of amazing? That takes a special kind of genius.
Here, then, are 14 videos that we reckon are so bad they’re brilliant…
Judas Priest – Breaking The Law
Metal Gods they might be, but Judas Priest could have had a few entries on this list – seek out Turbo Lover and Hot Rockin’ for proof. We’ll stick with this all-time Priest anthem, which features guitarists K. K. Downing and Glenn Tipton dressed as priests and the band robbing a bank with the power of heavy metal.
Attack Attack! – Stick Stickly
‘This is so bad it’s just bad,’ some of you may cry, but Stick Sickly has become a genuine pop-culture phenomenon, the source of countless GIFs and memes and even some genuine affection. “I don’t even remember what the conceptual pitch was. But I do remember that there was one,” Attack Attack! vocalist/guitarist Johnny Franck told Kerrang!. “[Guitarist Andrew Whiting] did the crab stuff and we were like, ‘Fuck yeah, let’s just follow that…’ I feel like that was an iteration of the power stance. It was just a next-level rock’n’roll power stance.”
Immortal – Call Of The Wintermoon
And this is why black metal bands shouldn’t be allowed to make videos. When pitching for evil they often hit hilarious instead, which is definitely the case with this infamously awful clip. It’s set in a forest, obviously. You get thrown out of black metal if you don’t shoot your videos in a forest, or possibly a tundra. This also looks like Immortal were playing hide and seek on hallucinogenics, which may have been the case. Bonus points for the pointy witch’s hat.
Iron Maiden – Can I Play With Madness
Kerrang! readers voted Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son as the best Iron Maiden album of all time. It was a musical and conceptual tour de force, which can’t be said about the video accompanying its lead single. The fact that it featured late Monty Python star Graham Chapman suggests that Maiden intended for it to not be taken too seriously, but the hokey school-trip secrets’n’sorcery theme feels like the film version of a thankfully unwritten Dan Brown book for young adults.
The Chats – Smoko
Unlike most of the videos on this list, this one was supposed to be funny. It was, though, made for literally the cost of the sausage roll that The Chats guitarist Josh Price eats at the start of the clip. It succeeds both in spite and because of the complete lack of budget or production values, and its pure Aussie charm helped it go viral, racking up a million views overnight. The band have been touring the world and making a major splash ever since.
Motörhead – Killed By Death
The acting at the start is terrible. The green-lit effects are cheap and the treatment, which sees Lemmy strapped in an electric chair before rising from the grave on his motorbike is slightly baffling. Objectively, it’s not the best video ever made. But it is Motörhead and Lemmy, ergo it’s cool as fuck. That’s just science.
Pixies – Velouria
The official video for Velouria features the Pixies running down a quarry in slow-motion. That’s it. Nothing else happens. You might think that’s some sort of artistic statement or something, but the band actually made it when Top Of The Pops refused to let them play unless they also had a promo vid to go along with the song. As a sort of ‘fuck you’ they made this low-budget clip of themselves running down the quarry for 23 seconds then slowed the footage to fit the song. It may be shit, but it’s also seditious.
Devin Townsend Band – Vampira
There’s loads of Devin to choose from, but this cheesy comic horror romp wins hands down. And oh sweet lord, the dancing. It’s intentionally and knowingly so bad it’s good of course, but so bad it’s good it nevertheless remains. Watch the vid, bow down at Devin’s demented genius and then check out the Ziltoid The Omniscient-themed ZTV.
Virgin Steele – Perfect Mansions (Mountains Of The Sun)
Virgin Steele might be veterans now, but it’s good to know the advent of the 21st century didn’t affect their dodgy ’80s metal aesthetic. Accompanying a bonus track on the 2011 reissue of their previously reissued Age Of Consent album, this video is nine minutes long – but what a nine minutes it is! There’s a massive sword for no apparent reason, beach pilings, terrible colour switching and the band playing in what looks to be one of their living rooms. In other words, it’s magnificent.
BABYMETAL – Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!
This brilliantly bonkers video sees SU-METAL transformed into the windmilling Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!! of the title by a haunted neck brace. Of course. There are also nods to J‑horror with a spooky character that looks like Sadako from The Ring making an appearance. All in all it’s a hugely entertaining video that was instrumental in introducing BABYMETAL’s unique offering to the world.
Heene Boyz – Balloon Boy No Hoax
This is a slightly more obscure one, but with incredible rear projection special effects. Not good, just incredible. The song is based on the U.S. ‘Balloon Boy’ hoax case in which a family claimed their six-year old son had been trapped in a flying saucer-shaped helium balloon that reached 7,000 feet. The vid has garnered over half a million views on YouTube, which is both far more and far less than it deserves.
Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon
This is the hammiest of horror, with Oz playing a Dr Jekyll-style mad scientist before turning into a werewolf that’s far more rib-tickling than spine-chilling. It’s mainly down to Ozzy’s hair, which is blended into the werewolf fur which makes him look more like a stoned Wookiee with spaniel ears. Bonus trivia: Oscar-winning proper actress Emma Thompson plays Ozzy’s wife/lab assistant here. We’re not sure how prominent the role is on her CV.
Dio – Holy Diver
Yes, there are quite a few videos from the ’80s in this list, but that murky decade truly was the golden age for videos that are so bad they’re good. This is another great song from an amazing artist with a truly ropey video. The fantasy-themed production values are more Hawk The Slayer than Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings as Ronnie stalks a ruined cathedral like a deleted Dark Souls cutscene.
Queensryche – Queen Of The Reich
‘In the millennium after the 4th great war, the world was in chaos…’ The Star Wars-style opening crawl suggests epic ambition but the execution is pure bargain-bin as we head from Dio’s dodgy swordplay to Queensryche’s questionable sci-fi. There are slave girls and silver bikinis, robots and monsters. ‘To be continued…’ it promises, but thankfully it never was.
Read this next:
Kawaii-metal overladies BABYMETAL celebrate a decade of defying expectations with epic double live album.
As Foo Fighters began to settle into their role as one of the world’s biggest bands, their sixth album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace propelled them to even greater heights…