Lily Cole and Alice Dellal are among the victims of "Can't Go Back".
Bobby Gillespie plays a stealthy and stylish accessory to murder in Primal Scream's video for their new single "Can't Go Back", directed by Kim Gehrig, in which models Lily Cole, Alice Dellal, Rosemary Ferguson and Kiera Gormley meet their ends in striking ways. "The idea behind the video was to create an Italian horror/Dario Argento-style film starring Bobby," says Gehrig. "This genre hasn't really been explored in music videos before and it really worked with the track. In those kind of films, beautiful women always meet their deaths, and they always look amazing as they do so. The concept was for Bobby to be performing in a corridor of light, and as he travelled down it, different women would be murdered. In each colour a different death would take place and it would appear that he is somehow responsible. By the end, however, we realize he is not when Bobby is himself killed with a pick axe. I wanted the concept for each of the deaths to be very original, almost like the murderer was an artist creating images."
Filmed in an old monastery in North London which used to be a police dog training camp, Gehrig said the setting lent a "slightly eerie vibe" to the video, augmented by the very specific lighting that falls on the various deaths of Gillespie's femmes "I wanted to create a similar mood to the Giallo films, in particular Inferno and Supiria. The colours we used are very stylized and unreal, creating an immediately heightened atmosphere. I love colour and I wanted to really push the lighting to be almost psychedelic and very rich. It needed to feel as if Bobby was almost willing these deaths as he performs, so the colour palette for each death reflects the coloured light that Bobby is in at the time of each death."
The models also steered the video in the right direction, with
Gehrig admitting that her starting point was to ask, "Who will look hot
even when dead?" She cast the girls together with stylist Katy England,
who also styled the video, again with Dario Argento's horror movies in
mind. "Because the coloured light played such an important part in the
video I needed to keep the clothes all neutral/pale so the coloured
light would reflect on to the clothes and change their colour
accordingly. I dressed each girl according to her murder and also to
show four different types of characters like you would in a movie. The
women were glamorous seventies girls with sexy hair and glosssy make-up
like the actresses in the Argento movies. The beauty and innocence of
the perfect girls in pale coloured dresses made a stark contrast with
the tension of the murders," says England.
Gillespie initially wanted to be the one doing all the killing, and "had loads of ideas of how to kill each girl off" - on this shoot, though, he wasn't the one calling the shots.