The Dancing Dead

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If there’s one pop culture obsession I truly hate, it’s zombies. I fail entirely to see the appeal of these grotesque, rotting corpses, reanimated into some blasphemous parody of life. The same goes for vampires, and all other manner of undead.

I do make one exception, however, for the Dancing Dead –not all the groovy groupies following the Grateful Dead on tour, but the music videos, ranging from the comical, to the touching, to the macabre, that bring the deceased back for one last dance.

Here are a few of my favorites:

You can’t mention this subgenre without Thriller, Michael Jackson’s lovingly bizarre tribute to horror flicks, and the granddaddy of all zombie dance videos.

The My Chemical Romance’s elegantly gothic Helena only makes its a few steps out of her coffin, but this video is one of my favorites for the beauty of its theatrically staged funereal service.

Easily the funniest of the set, the Dixie Chicks’ revenge fantasy, Goodbye, Earl culminates in a Thriller tribute starring a reanimated Dennis Franz.

Although it’s a good bet the song is (at least partly) about marijuana, Tom Petty’s creepy video for Last Dance With Mary Jane is instead about a necrophiliac romance with a heroine who doesn’t exactly come back to life, but does dance (above).

With a similar concept as Helena, the Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar collaboration Never Catch Me is the most genuinely moving of the videos, featuring two young dancers who seem to view their deaths as a true liberation, their joyful countenances standing in marked contrast to the despair written on the faces of their mourners.

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