Closer – music video by Nine Inch Nails

 

closer-trent-reznor-nine-inch-nails

Closer” is a song written by Trent Reznor and featured on the 1994 Nine Inch Nails album The Downward Spiral.

The music video was directed by Mark Romanek and first aired on May 12, 1994, having been filmed in April of that year. The video was infamous and helped bolster the success of the band. The video shows events in what appears to be a 19th-century-style mad-scientist’s laboratory that deals with religion, sexuality, animal cruelty, politics, and terror. Its imagery was controversial and included:

  • A heart connected to some sort of device; the beat of the heart corresponds to the beat of the song
  • A nude, bald woman with a crucifix mask.
  • A monkey tied to a cross.
  • A severed pig’s head spinning on some type of machine.
  • A diagram of the vulva/vagina.
  • Reznor wearing an S&M mask while swinging in shackles.
  • Reznor seated in front of a wall covered in fetish gear, wearing a ball gag.

Several times, Reznor, wearing leather pants, floats and rotates through the air, suspended by invisible wires. There are also scenes of Reznor being blown back by a wind machine while wearing aviator goggles.

These images seem to be inspired by the art of Joel-Peter Witkin, as well as Francis Bacon and George Tooker. The video is also very heavily inspired by the animated short film Street of Crocodiles, with much of the video being a live-action recreation of the sets and scenes from that film.

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