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The Valley (1985)

Video  -  Short | Musical
5.8
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Title: The Valley (Video 1985)

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Really bad video for a really good instrumental song.
12 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Music video/promo for an instrumental piece by "Rolling Stones" legend Bill Wyman used in the Dario Argento film "Phenomena" (a.k.a. "Creepers" -U.S. theatrical title). The video is available as an "extra" on the superb Anchor Bay release on DVD.

Directed by Michele Soavi who went on to direct the superb "giallo" "Stage Fright" (which Trantino claims is "better" than anything Argento did --which I disagree with) and the freaky "Rosmary's Baby" influenced "The Church" and then the amazing surreal "Cemetary Man", this video is perhaps best forgotten in his dossier.

The video is an amateurish and helterskelter mix of "behind the scenes" footage from the film, "actual" scenes from the film, and slow-motion shots of Wyman in an strange room. If the confusing and confounding behind-the-scenes shots of crew, cameras, camera cranes, and wind machines had been left out, the video would have been much more successful as a piece on its own.

Shots from the opening sequence of the actual film which show a school girl wandering into a seemingly abandoned house are inter-cut with scenes of Wyman in a desolate looking room with plastic on the floor. He looks into the camera with a blank stare and proceeds to take out his guitar, plug it in, and mime playing to his Morricone-esquire guitar work. The result of the inter-cuts between the girl wandering and Wyman deliberately playing his guitar make Wyman appear to be a waiting threat to the lost young girl. However, as mentioned earlier, this simple and effective patchwork narrative of footage from the film and footage shot for the video is instantly destroyed by more utterly useless behind-the-scenes shots of the large film crew following the girl.

Then we get shots of Jennifer Connelly wandering around this same house as Wyman plugs his guitar cable into his guitar (in slow motion) plugs the other end into his amp (in slow motion) hits his head on a bare hanging light bulb --ouch!-- (in slow motion) and then. . .a completely bizarre shot of Dario Argento looking into a camera lens (?!) then back to Wyman (in even still more slow motion).

Later we see Wyman dip his hands into some tomato soup (which I assume is supposed to be blood --this late into the 80's and no one in Italy has heard of karo syrup with red dye?!--). He then splashes the tomato soup on his face (this is turning into a literal "spaghetti western"), and he then smashes that pesky hanging bare lightbulb he hit his head on earlier, with his guitar, all inter-cut with footage of the girl from the beginning of the film smashing her head through a window.

Overall, the video is so bad it's laughable. Which is surprising considering the director's later efforts.

However, the MUSIC is really good. A strange mix of Krautrock and Ennio Morricone, kind of how you might imagine a Tangerine Dream score for a Spaghetti Western might sound. Ominous yet subtle. (Wyman would later contribute music to Argento's "Opera.")

A "somewhat better" video for Claudio (Goblin) Simonetti's song "Jennifer" can also be found on the DVD, this time directed by Dario Argento himself, and containing new footage shot just for the video which is mostly the then 14 year old Jennifer Connelly running around in a big house in a nightgown.


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