What would one expect to be the nature of a man who is cut off from society in an isolated hotel? I would say he slowly slips into insanity, which is precisely the outcome of the music video “The Kill, ? performed by the alternative rock band, 30 Seconds to Mars. It was named as the greatest rock video of its time. The music video is an allusion to the classic horror film “The Shining, ? based on a novel written by Stephen King.
However, it is more than just a man falling into madness, it is about finding himself in the process. Both the horror film and the music video display recurring themes throughout literature: mental instability, finding oneself, and coping with a multiple personalities. One must conquer internal battles in order to allow personal identities to surface. “The Shining, ? tells the tragedy of Jack Torrance and his family living in a remote hotel as the winter caretakers.
Eventually the father, Jack, falls into madness attempting to kill his family. The music video “The Kill ? follows the same concept, in which the group seeks complete isolation in an abandoned hotel, where their minds slowly drift into madness, mimicking the movie. While the music video and the movie are different, they have similarities. The not as obvious, but most parallel, would be the doubling effect. The music video presents a clearer picture of the doubling effect showing the band members coming face to face with a physical version of themselves, the real them. In “The Shining, ? Jack faces an alter ego of himself, the dark and self-absorbed version.
Jack does a good job hiding his nature, but as the madness hits full swing, Jack’s real personality is displayed. In both, it is an internal confrontation amongst one’s different personalities. While, in the movie, the personality he has been trying so hard to cover up has finally reached the surface, his personalities are working against each other creating a mad man. In the music video his multiple personalities work with each other. Both the sane version and the mad version are seen at the end of the video working together in unity. The imagery in the music video produces a sense of emotion and creates an atmosphere that appeals to the audience.
Images such as the band members wearing all black indicates a tortured and tormented soul, along with the dark setting. The most dominate color throughout the entire video is black, creating an atmosphere of mystery and death. The different shades of grey present in the opening scene set the mood for the video, haunting. While images such as a dead woman appearing on the screen add a sense of horror to the video. The video was shot from the outside looking inward, invading the lives of the band members as they slowly go insane. The movements of the camera aid in the overall feel of the music video.
The close-ups of the lead singer allows for one to look into his eyes and see the emotions and the effects of the madness that occur over time. The panning effect allows the viewer to see the story take place in the entire hotel. The use of sound effects plays an extensive role throughout the video. Several times the music comes to a pause; the lack of sound creates a frightening yet eerie atmosphere contributing to the overall sense of doubt. It is important to notice in the opening scene that no music is playing; the only sounds being heard are the words coming from a band member’s mouth.
As they enter into the hotel, a noise is heard, something that would appear in a horror film. This brief introduction shows the audience what will transpire as the video progresses. The music comes to a sudden stop, and brings back the horrific sounds from the opening scene. These sounds add to the creepiness and suspense that builds throughout the music video. It sends chills up the viewers’ spines whenever they hear the sounds, making them even more eager to see what is going to happen next. The lyrics play an intense role in the foundation of the music video.
Listening to the song for the first time it appears to be a dialogue between two individuals, a male and a female. However, the song is a monologue of the main character seeking to find his true identity. The artist, Jared Leto, says “it is about the relationship between yourself. It is about confronting the truth of who you are ? (Wikipedia. com), these words build the theme, aiding in its development.
The phrase “this is who I really am ? (line 24), ties the music video and the song together, working in conjunction of one other. The lead singer is seen face to face with his double in the hallway screaming these words to each other, “Fighting for a chance, I know now this is who I really am ? (lines 26-27). He has found the real him, although unwilling to except it at first, he finally realizes this is who he is. All in all, the lyrics, images, and sounds combine to make for a gruesome but captivating video.
The allusion to the classic film “The Shining ? shows that one’s true personality will eventually come to the surface. However, the entire music video relates to human beings, in a world where being different is frowned upon. People tend to put on a front in front of others, but behind closed doors is where ones true personality lies. Some people may not be as dramatic and sinister as the band members in the music video, but humans all struggle with finding out the real version of themselves.
Ultimately, the song is about accepting ones identity, and one day people will eventually be able to scream “this is who I really am. ?
Leto, Jared. “The Kill . Lyrics. A Beautiful Lie. Universal Music Publishing Group.
24 Jan, 200630 Seconds to Mars. “The Kill . Online video clip. Youtube, 22 Sept, 2010. Web. 11 Sept, 2014 < https://www.
youtube. com/watch?v=8yvGCAvOAfM>Wikipedia. “The Kill . 30 Aug, 2014 Web.
11 Sept. 2014