Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar Is 15: A Video History

A still from Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" video.
A still from Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" video.

Also: Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar Is 15: Daisy Berkowitz Speaks
Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar Is 15: Manson's Movie Roles (NSFW)

In the final analysis, Marilyn Manson will be crowned the king of signification at the end of the 20th Century.

It only took rock 'n' roll a short three decades to move from mop tops to heavy metal. While punk rock, hip-hop, and other new, provocative genres slowly came under fire for lyrical content and album imagery, Manson made that fire his bread and butter.

Was he truly anti-Christ? Gay? What does this man stand for? Over the years, and depending on whatever project he was currently promoting, Manson's "message" has been shrewdly abstract. That's because "the point" of Marilyn Manson is, in the great tradition of rock 'n' roll theatrics, the spectacle.

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No point of departure encapsulates the Marilyn Manson aesthetic like his videos. And to understand 1996's Antichrist Superstar, which was released 15 years ago this week, it's worth taking a look.

"The Beautiful People," directed by Floria Sigismondi

The first single and video from Antichrist Superstar may be the

album's definitive statement. It's at least the most enduring. The

creepy-crawly, Tim-Burton-gone-wrong, dirt-freak imagery created new

pathways in teeny-boppers' minds and forced them to pay attention.

"Tourniquet," directed by Floria Sigismondi

The follow-up to "Beautiful People" was a visual B-side that reigned in

the madness ever-so-slightly with loose allusions to romance (b/w S-M

and self-mutilation) and a distinctly less-whimsical, more "tortured

high-schooler" set (complete with angst-laden scribbles on the wall).

"Cryptorchid," directed by E. Elias Merhige and Marilyn Manson

Each of Manson's Antichrist videos after "Beautiful People"

made progressively less of a splash, but the controversy surrounding the

album, its various imageries (promotional, video, etc.), and

accompanying tour kept the flame alive. "Cryptorchid" was inspired by

Merhige's experimental horror film Begotten, and Manson quickly

paired up with the director. He liked Merhige's aesthetic so much that

the video they made together featured so much footage from Begotten that it was practically an eight-years-too-late soundtrack to the film.

"Antichrist Superstar," directed by E. Elias Merhige

Manson and Merhige teamed up again for the video to Antichrist Superstar's

titular track and thematic climax. This vid got a little more attention

as no music channels would screen the clip because of its grainy,

lo-fi aesthetic. Not to mention a whole lot of fascist imagery and Bible

rippin'. The video was exceptionally rare until uploaded to YouTube in


"Man That You Fear," directed by W.I.Z.

Manson's final single for his magnum opus was a look forward to the

hypercinematic grandeur he would spring out into from the dark, dank

cellar of Antichrist Superstar. You can't help but wonder if

the clip was meant to be an immediate almost-glam prelude to the

androgynous, evil-Bowie theatrics of "Dope Show" and Mechanical Animals.

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