David Lynch’s “Crazy Clown Time” music video imagines a Lynchian lawn party

Watch a Disturbing New Music Video from David Lynch

Watch a Disturbing New Music Video from David Lynch

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Slate's Culture Blog
April 2 2012 3:10 PM

David Lynch Debuts a Frightening Music Video


Still of David Lynch's video for "Crazy Clown Time."

When musicians direct their own music videos, the results are hit and miss. Then again, most musicians aren’t David Lynch. Lynch has just released the new music video for his song “Crazy Clown Time,” the seven-minute title track off his debut solo album, and we’ve embedded the slightly NSFW video below.

The video is as Lynchian as any of Lynch’s movies, and not just in being a little terrifying and not a little bit nonsensical (which it is). As with any powerfully Lynchian piece of work, it takes wholesome-seeming Americana circa the 1950s (here, a backyard barbecue, names like Susie and Danny, and a football player in full uniform) and perverts them until they’re discomfiting and downright disturbing (Susie takes her shirt off, Danny lights his hair on fire, and the football player keeps running in place).


In Lynch’s distinctly surrealistic style, the video evokes the worst kind of frat-party hedonism (the image of frothy beer spat on naked bodies seems particularly Freudian and distasteful), and that point toward the end of any good party when it starts to turn sour. As long as the status of any future Lynch movies is uncertain, it serves as a short but fully-realized dose to hold fans over. (Much moreso than his seemingly half-assed and self-parodic coffee commercials.)

This isn’t the first music video Lynch has directed. His most famous is probably the one he did for Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” a song that appeared on the soundtrack for Wild at Heart; he has also directed the videos for “Shot in the Back of the Head” by Moby, “I Predict” by Sparks, and a handful of others. The strangest of them may be the 39-second theatrical teaser that Lynch directed for Michael Jackson’s music video collection Dangerous: The Short Films. Instead of trying to describe that one, I’ll suggest that Lynch fanatics watch it for themselves: