Review:1996/10/13 The Bold and the Beautiful

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The Bold and the Beautiful
of The Beautiful People
music video
Author Lorraine Ali
Date October 13, 1996
Rating 95/100
Source Los Angeles Times

The Bold and the Beautiful
By Lorraine Ali on October 13, 1996
Los Angeles Times - Entertainment
Lorraine Ali writes about pop music for Calendar

In this month's Sound & Vision, where we rate music videos on a scale from 0-100, shock rockers Marilyn Manson follow up a mechanized nightmare version of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" with the equally sinister "The Beautiful People." In the tradition of Alice Cooper, Manson tops its industrial-based torture rock with gory dramatics that are dungeon-like, but updated and technologically advanced enough for savvy audiences of the '90s.

The Florida quintet, whose album "Antichrist Superstar" is on Trent Reznor's Nothing label, injects some camp and fantasy back into the largely earnest, reality-based rock world. Manson's comic-book appeal is an alternative to the confessional, good-guy style of Pearl Jam, or the geek-rock of bands such as Weezer and the Eels. The music is totally escapist, the band ill-behaved and the results chillingly sensational if not slightly repulsive. Whether you like it or not, this is the reaction to grunge.

Another kind of dramatic style returns to rock, this time with its originator Patti Smith. The legendary singer comes back with the first video from her new album "Gone Again," and though it doesn't serve up any creepy-crawly images, it does capture the raw power of Smith herself. Her consciously dramatic movements and the video's gutter-romantic imagery are as gorgeous as Manson's "Beautiful People" is ugly.

Marilyn Manson, "The Beautiful People." Directed by Floria Sigismondi, this video takes place in a Frankensteinian lab, where evil experiments (and scary video shoots) take place. When Mr. Marilyn Manson is not sitting on his throne--an electric chair--he sings into a contraption that looks like a cross between an old microphone, a scooter from "Quadrophenia" and a turn-of-the-century torture device. In other shots, he wears a complicated dental contraption that stretches his mouth wide enough to fit an entire KISS show--and we lucky viewers get the close-up shot! Pretty sick. The large cast of characters wear cumbersome metal body apparatuses, while people dance ritualistically outside the bleak stone walls of the Manson lab. The coolest effect: abnormally tall, distorted figures shrinking to fit under doorways, then shooting back up to awkward heights again in a matter of seconds. This video is as eerie as any seat-producing nightmare, yet as frightfully entertaining as a high-tech house of horrors.