Over the weekend, Radiohead made waves in the rock world by suddenly erasing their entire Internet presence. Their Facebook page went blank. So did Thom Yorke’s Twitter feed. Their website gradually faded to white. What did it all mean?
The answer was revealed Tuesday, when the band released an excellent stop-motion video for their new single, “Burn The Witch.” At a time when artistic music videos are getting attention thanks to Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” Radiohead picked the right time to unveil a video that takes a page from horror movie history. Directed by Chris Hopewell, the animated video is a toy-like remake of the classic 1970s British film “The Wicker Man.” A police sergeant arrives in a village looking for a missing girl, and is shocked to find that the entire village is a pagan cult. After being shown around town by the cult leader, the sergeant is taken to a festival surrounding a giant wicker-man statue, where he realizes too late that he’s to be sacrificed to the pagan gods.
Radiohead teased the video on social media last night, with clips of a chirping toy bird and a girl about to be sacrificed posted on Instagram. With the full macabre video now available, we can see how Yorke and co. have blended two elements of British pop culture into what feels like a horror tale for the preschool crowd. At least the poor policeman in the music video gets a gentler ending than the one suffered in “The Wicker Man.”
“Burn The Witch” will be available on all digital platforms starting tonight at midnight.