An android faces demonic creatures in a dark forest in the legendary filmmaker and composer’s new video for ‘Utopian Façade’
Legendary horror filmmaker and soundtrack composer John Carpenter is back with a new music video for “Utopian Façade”, the soaring penultimate track from his second studio album Lost Themes II. In its video, an android faces off against nightmarish creatures in a dark forest. “I’m convinced that nothing is more fun than staying up all night in the woods making monsters come to life,” says Gavin Hignight, who co-directed the video with Ben Verhulst. The video is something of a reunion for Hignight and Verhulst – last year they worked with Carpenter on “Night” (taken from his debut album Lost Themes), with the “Utopian Façade” video continuing some of the themes and ideas they’d established back then.
As Hignight explains, it was important that the “Utopian Façade” video honoured Carpenter’s visual influence without simply imitating his style. “(We were) not trying to rip off his films, but more trying to understand the feeling and vibe of those films, then translate that into a shortform piece that felt original, but familiar at the same time,” he says. “His work stands the test of time because of the way it’s carefully lit and shot, the thought that goes into each and every character, and in my opinion his use of practical effects. We strove to do that on a smaller scale.”
For the character of the android, the directors took inspiration from 70s science fiction films like THX-1138 and Logan’s Run, as well as illustrations from classic sci-fi novels, with wardrobe designer Jennifer Garnet Filo adding a touch of anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion to the mix. The final look came together after they cast model Erika Angel in the lead role. “She had the perfect look for the character,” Hignight says, “We needed someone who was uniquely beautiful, but could also balance between fragility and strength in a beat.”
The monsters that the android faces off against needed to feel “nightmarish, yet techy and digital” to fit into the world they’d created. “We needed something between a corpse and a robot – not a cyborg, but something organic with a mechanical component, vague like many things in our dreams and nightmares,” Hignight says. The video ends with a cameo from Carpenter himself, which was an intimidating experience. “What do you tell the guy who made all the movies that made you want to make movies?” he adds. “Like the previous video, I hope it shows the influence of one legendary artist on those branching out now, exploring and making their own art.”
Carpenter will be starting his first ever UK live tour next month – visit his official website for dates and tickets.