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The “Hip to Be Scared” MV from Ice Nine Kills is a chilling and reverent homage to “American Psycho” — the perfect union of metal and horror.

Ice Nine Kills

Via @iceninekills on Instagram

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Horror and Metal have always ignited together like a wild, dark, mystical valentine of the genre. We kick off our Metal and The Macabre series by looking deeper into the horror genre’s most inspired music videos.

Director Jensen Noen’s chilling and reverent homage to Mary Harron’s 2000 American Psycho in Ice Nine Kill’s Hip To Be Scared is pure visual and musical magnificence.

For the most innovative band out there today, look no further than Ice Nine Kills (INK).  INK has been metamorphosing within different metal fluctuations (Ska-Punk, Emo Pop, Metalcore, Symphonic Gothic, and Industrial) since 2000 when they launched under the name Ice Nine.

Always throwing in touches of horror, it wasn’t until 2018 that the Silver Scream album series turned Ice Nine Kills into THE genre band.

Massachusetts native and frontman Spencer Charnas ushers in INK’s boldest love letter to the horror genre in a tour de force with The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood (2021), debuting Hip To Be Scared.

Harron and co-writer Guinevere Turner adapted Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 dark masterpiece for the screen.

They brilliantly hone into Patrick Bateman’s narrated journey through his internal dialog of self-importance, observations, and indifference toward others.

Christian Bale’s grimacing performance of Bateman, the narcissistic and homicidal debonair Wallstreet banker living two lives, brings much social satire to the backdrop of the Reagan era drenched in misogyny and commercialism.

American Psycho is a slow buildup to his boiling points of violence. He’s fascinating yet unsuspecting as he tries to cover up the disappearance of Paul Allen (Jared Leto), a fellow colleague and evident victim.

Produced by Lions Gate Films on a $7 million budget, Harron’s clever directorial work of neo-noir has grossed over $34 million worldwide.

Video Sequence Breakdown

Noen and Charnas didn’t use elaborate sets; they maneuvered within Bateman’s persona and were totally simple on a black background stage.

0:01  The video starts off with a pan shot of Charnas doing pushups in his chic minimalist apartment. Cut to flashbacks of a dead body and him in a suit. Singing in the spotlight and a slow zoom into his frame, Charnas is magnetic and reimagined as Bateman from that era in dress shirts, with the hair and suspenders.  “Valentino couture mixed with violence and gore!”

0:20  Switch to rapid edits of him at his apartment and looking in the mirror, masked. Shakey effects. “Well, I guess I’m a pretty sick guy!”

0:35 At the restaurant lounge, drinks and business cards of comparison with colleagues ensue with the smoothness of choreographed waiters’ dancing. “So the hell with good intentions!”

0:50  Charnas departing, a Maître d, (Nadia Teichmann, Ice Nine Kill’S Scream Queen) stops him. His cold focus, “I have to return some video tapes.”

0:58  Teichmann and another woman are in lingerie in Bateman’s bedroom. “You’ll find no escape once you’re captured on tape.  I’m aware it’s a bit avant-garde.”

1:05  All-encompassing side-angle camera work and edgy atmospheric editing. Teichmann, in bloody terror, ran into the hanging garment bags of previous victims. Band members playing solo. An unhinged Charnas running with a chainsaw.

1:47  Fast transitional zoom to Bateman’s living room, where a drunken Paul (Jacoby Shaddix emulating Jared Leto) sits, and Charnas comically rewrites the Huey Lewis commentary, “Do you like Ice Nine Kills?”

1:57  Shaddix: “Not really…”

1:58  “Their early work was a little bit too scene for me. But when the Silver Scream came out, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. (Charnas humorously bee-bops like Bale.) The whole album has a refined melodic sensibility that makes it a cut above the rest. Hey Paul!”

2:13  Chaotic and gore-geous edit transitions of Charnas hitting the axe, blood-soaked, band solos, to the red lighting contrast shots of him being still in his world of music, behind the sunglasses and Walkman.

2:29  Charnas is in hysteria, confessing on the phone while others move around in a crowded NYC hustle.

2:41  Shaddix lays as a bludgeoned corpse harmonically singing with Charnas. “So to hell with good intentions. So, to hell is where I’ll go. But the Devil makes exceptions. For all American psychos!”

2:59  Back to the restaurant. I absolutely love the two-person, two-step waltzing moves in unison around the restaurant — business as usual and without a care in Bateman’s upper-class world.

3:13 Zoom out from the television to Charnas as his alter Silver Scream ego-crazed killer boyfriend is interrogated. “This confession has meant nothing.” Ending at 3:33.

Noen beautifully synthesized the song’s visual interpretation and the film’s adaptation to flow consistently frame by frame.

Ice Nine Kills

What’s fascinating about the film is that we get acquainted with three different Batemans: the GQ slick professional, the Walkman Bateman — regulated by his music, and the murderous smiling psychopath.

Correlating to the song’s composition and lyrics, it also sounds like three matching tempos: rock opera, Huey Lewis sampling, and screaming metal intensity.

Hip To Be Scared also marks the first collaboration between Ukrainian music video Director Jensen Noen (The Perception) and Ice Nine Kills. Noen’s extensive music video discography includes artists such as Falling in Reverse, Asking Alexandra, and Demi Lovato. From the studio sets and digital landscapes, Noen incorporates various artistic approaches to visually draw in the artist with vivid colors while capturing the looming dark, hellish creatures and ominous-looking undertones of apocalyptic times.

He can execute a big blockbuster aspect ratio to his impeccable vision, much like the gothic looks of The Crow and Batman.

This makes Noen the perfect EYE for INK’s Silver Scream themes, including Funeral Derangements (Pet Sematary) and Assault and Batteries (Chucky).

With INK, every song has a stage, a story, and an interconnecting dramaturgical chapter.

Ice Nine Kills

Per his interview with veteran rock journalist Ryan J. Downey (Knotfest, Loudwire, MTV News), Charnas confirmed that Huey Lewis loved and blessed their rendition. Lewis has always had a great sense of humor; check out his comedy sketch on Funny Or Die!

Last year at INK’s 2nd Annual Silver Scream Con in Danvers, Massachusetts, several fans posted pictures with Charnas wearing clear rain parkas and holding rubber axes. There’s a continued appreciation and growing audience for Bale’s Bateman as the indie cult twisted protagonist.

Personally, I find Noen and Ice Nine Kills have brought back the magic to the art of making music videos again.

Essentially, for Charnas, every music video is the ultimate love letter to a horror classic, and this one sublimely invoked all of American Psycho. In fact, I found Hip To Be Scared “to be both commercially and artistically, a cut above the rest!”

The Details

Music Video

Director: Jensen Noen
Producers: Phoenix Vaughn & Ruth Devereaux

Song

Lyrics: Spencer Charnas & Steve Sopchak
Guest Vocals: Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach
Spoken Vocals: Nadia Teichmann
Produced: Drew Falk (WZRD BLD)
Mixed: Drew Falk & Jeff Dunne
Music: Joseph Occhiuti, Dan Sugarman, Ricky Amellino, Patrick Galante, Josh Strock, Drew Falk, & Huey Lewis and the News
Orchestration: Francesco Ferrini
Album: The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood (2021)
Label: Fearless Records

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