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NSFW! The 6 Most F-ed Up NINE INCH NAILS Music Videos You’ll Ever See

Ever since their inception in 1988, NINE INCH NAILS has been pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished both sonically and artistically. From the very beginning, Trent Reznor has always approached all aspects of Nine Inch Nails as a work of art, made all the more apparent by the collaborators he’s chosen for things like album cover designs (read a bit about Russell Mills right here) and the directors for his music videos.

In the span of 30 years, the visual aspects of Nine Inch Nails have been represented by so many unique and interesting (not to mention controversial) filmmakers. Auteur director David Lynch recently helmed the clip for “Came Back Haunted” from his last album “Hesitation Marks.” But if you go way, way back to the beginning and analyze all their music videos, you’ll find some truly ambitious, ground-breaking and plain ol’ fucked up stuff!

So what better way to gently guide you into your weekend than with 6 of the most disturbing, messed up NINE INCH NAILS videos ever created! Have a look below!

THE PERFECT DRUG

This 1997 video for a track that appeared as an original song for the soundtrack to David Lynch’s LOST HIGHWAY was directed by Mark Romanek (ONE HOUR PHOTO) and was intended to homage the illustrations of Edward Gorey. The creepy clip deals with Reznor’s character resorting to consuming absinthe as he mourns the death of his child, but the snowy setting also evokes Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING.

CLOSER (Director’s Cut)

Another clip helmed by Mark Romanek, and the most popular and well known of NINE INCH NAILS’ career is their music video for “Closer” from their timeless album “The Downward Spiral.” Inspirations are rumored to be drawn from the Brothers Quay stop-motion short film “Street of Crocodiles,” as well as the art of Joel-Peter Witkin, Francis Bacon and George Tooker. But really, as far as music videos go, it’s a unique clip unto itself and nothing like it existed on MTV at the time of it’s 1994 debut. Friend and collaborator David Bowie homaged “Closer” with his video for “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” directed by Sam Bayer. Below, enjoy the completely uncut director’s cut of “Closer!”

PINION

“Pinion” is only a minute long track and intended to be the opener for the EP “Broken.” But that didn’t stop Reznor from producing a music video for the clip, which actually opens up the long-form BROKEN movie. Basically, the very graphic video versions for all the tracks on the “Broken” EP (minus “Last”) are cut together with even more graphic, disturbing footage in between. It’s intended to appear as a “snuff” film and for years, it was mistaken to be a genuine one. And this is long after Reznor’s previous brush with “snuff” as mentioned in Greg’s great article here. While the BROKEN movie was directed by Peter Christopherson, the “Pinion” video was directed by Eric Goode and Serge Becker.

HAPPINESS IN SLAVERY

Alright gang. We’ve reached the point of no return! If you’re easily offended by male nudity, torture and general unpleasantness, this is where you should probably throw in the towel. If not? And you’re ready to brave some serious shit? Then proceed! “Happiness In Slavery” was directed by Jon Reiss and essentially features performance artist Bob Flanagan willfully submitting to the torture and decimation of his body. Flanagan died in 1996 of cystic fibrosis, and was also the subject of Kirby Dick’s 1997 documentary “SICK: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist.” While he also appeared in video clips for Danzig and Godflesh, it’s really this controversial Nine Inch Nails video that he’s most associated with.

SIN (Uncensored) 

From NINE INCH NAILS debut album, the two videos that played regularly on MTV were “Head Like A Hole” and “Down In It.” But there’s also a very not-safe-for-work video for the track “Sin,” directed by Brett Turnbull and featuring a lot of nudity and very explicit sexual conduct. (Not to mention lots of pierced genitalia.) Watch with caution!

GAVE UP

Last but certainly not least is the most fucked up NINE INCH NAILS video for the closing track off their EP “Broken” for the track “Gave Up.” A more commercially accessible video was created for the track which features Reznor and the band (including Marilyn Manson) performing the track live at the Tate mansion where Charles Manson’s followers murdered the actress & her guests, but this was the original version which ended the long form BROKEN movie. It is not a “snuff” film, but has often been confused as one. You have been warned!

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