Monday, April 28, 2008

Video Retroview: Megadeth's "Hangar 18"

A candid shot of yours truly (circa 1990) enjoying the premiere airing of the Hangar 18 video on Headbanger's Ball.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The world premiere of the new Megadeth video was set to air during Headbanger's Ball, and I couldn't wait. My memories are just as vivid of those of earlier generations who gathered around the television to watch The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. It was a momentous occasion. At the time, I was not a huge Megadeth fan, but much had been made in earlier episodes of The Ball about the large budget and special effects that would surely make this video a classic. Mustaine had talked about the video basically being a sci-fi short movie. As a young man, the thought of a cool sci-fi/metal short film must have been intoxicating. Then again, what the hell did I know...I wore Brut cologne in a misguided attempt to attract the opposite sex. Anyway, an entire episode was actually devoted to a behind the scenes look at the making of the video, so this was a big deal. The video for Holy Wars was already out, and although not as heavy as some of the music I listened to at the time, the high rifforama factor of the tune was certainly pleasing to my ears.

So, about the video...I'm not sure why, but in the early 90s metal bands started a trend that would later take over hip-hop videos all together, that of making us believe that their video was more like a full motion picture than a simple video clip for their latest single. Yes, Michael Jackson's Thriller came many years before this, but that lineage was broken and thus not influential to the bloated production that was Metallica's "The Unforgiven" (unequivocally the champion of pseudo artistic video-as-film garbage, especially the uncut 12 minute version). In any case, much like anything that Mustaine has ever done, the introduction in the Hangar 18 video is ridiculous and unnecesary. Sadly, it also plays second fiddle to Metallica's attempt at the very same thing (that being, The Unforgiven's 10 minute video intro). Simply not as lengthy or retarded as Metallica's, the intro nevertheless kicks things off strongly and leads us down a path of stupidity that only Dave Mustaine and the Nike AIR hightop wearing gang could bring us.

Highlights to look out for:

Vic, Megadeth's rip-off of Iron Maiden's Eddie, makes an appearance and speaks for the first time in history. Turns out, his voice is simply that of a production assistant through a cheap vocal harmonizer. Though we all thought that Vic was down with Megadeth, and he was a rebel at heart, here we see him wearing a suit, and leading an army of third rate actors in a campaign against Megadeth. Also note that he's getting help from other military fat-cats who seem evil since they smoke cigars. Man, the 80s and early 90s were all about military and political fat-cats. I don't know if I want Vic to be the guy to pick up the phone at 3am in the White House, the guy can't even see due to his permanently riveted sunglasses. Note his awful skeleton hands, which are constantly fused in the same position throughout the video, and clearly being held by the actor in his sleeves. They remind me of the hooks that kids wear with pirate costumes.

The large budget that Mustaine had talked about in multiple interviews is nowhere to be seen. Rather than spending a few hundred bucks to get an exterior shot of a field, they used the director's HO scale model. This screenshot may be dark, but when you watch the video (below) you'll see what I mean. Perhaps Mustaine got an advance for the video, and it magically went up his nose.

Much in the way that George Lucas employed Ewoks as lighthearted, Muppet-like characters in the Star Wars triology, here too we encounter this lil' guy, a budget E.T. made out of silly putty. Unlike the other monsters we are about to encounter, this fun loving alien means us no harm. Word to the wise, don't get'll see what the US government (under Vic's control) has in store for him.

Ed Wood would have been so proud. Clearly, the production staff raided storage warehouses at multiple studios and "borrowed" costumes for the shoot. Here we see an extra from Mos Eisley's cantina scene.

This alien was so embarrassed to be featured in this video that he put his fins over his eyes in order to not have to watch.

Just look at his mouth! Mustaine does a killer Rambo impression. During the Clash Of The Titans tour, he would have Kerry King and Scott Ian in stitches for hours. He'd grab a Megadeth bandana from the boxes of unsold merchandise, roll it up and put it around his head....then he'd repeat the following endlessly doing his best Rambo: "Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you!"

Look closely, you'll see the most anti-semitic moment in video history. Right as Marty Friedman is playing a solo, an alien with exactly the same hair as Marty is escorted by authorities. Perhaps most insulting is the gigantic nose that the alien has. Honestly, this is the sort of thing that should be investigated. Mustaine can be such a prick. This is totally uncalled for. No wonder Marty left the band. Can you blame him?

Throughout the whole video we see brief shots of this shirtless girl (with her back to the camera) being walked through the maze that is Vic's top-secret Airforce base. The director chose to use her as an ongoing theme that is woven through the video's fabric in an Ingmar Bergman-like fashion. Toward the very end of the video, the girl finally turns around, and rather than seeing what every male watching Headbanger's Ball wanted to see...we are confronted with a half-robot, half-lady creature wearing leather pants. Booooo! She's a robot? I thought this facility held aliens? The video's treatment really should have been scrutinized a bit more. This was the biggest disappointment in the whole video, even bigger of a disappointment than Vic's skeleton hands.

Look, I warned you not to get attached to the little muppet. The special effects team created only one alien creature that is not a human in a suit. As such, they had to get their milage out of this if one creature was gonna get the Dremel drill, it had to be this one.

They seriously must have paid a fortune to rent this crane, because it's shown in like every other godamned shot. You'll see.

Again, the director's passion for HO-scale model trains pays off big. I've never understood why on earth the members of Megadeth were being taken out in these containers at the end of the video. They were just playing to the entire workforce at the base, and the aliens, but now they are captured and frozen? Are they aliens? I'm so confused.

This video was of substantial importance at the time to Megadeth, not only because it showed the depth that the band was capable of, not only because it featured more guitar solos than Mustaine's failed stints in rehab, but also because of the following events:

Inspired by the subject of this song and its video, Nick Menza and subsequent Megadeth drummers decided to convert their once humble drum kits into replicas of the spaceship that was rumored to have crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. Note the floating bass drums, which mimic the propulsion mechanisms of the the craft.

In this picture, Dave Mustaine accepts the prestigious "Horrible Production Values In A Rock Video" award from Singapore's President Sellapan Rama.

And now, the masterpiece that made it all possible.


  1. This video is so classically terrible. Quite a good song though, I must say. And, as usual, Mustaine looks like an asshole.

  2. With only one exception, every metal video I have ever seen was one degree or another of stupid. What were we expecting anyway? I do like the model trains though...

    Oh yeah, that one exception - Kreator's 'Toxic Threat' clip. That was cool.

  3. i love this song. i actually love this whole record, but... oh, god, so much good shit here...

    1. why would there be different species of aliens in the one space craft?

    2. when they call all the "scientists" to return to the hangar, all these military dudes in their formal greens are on the shot. Why would the military wear their green on the field and is megadeth suggesting that those are the "scientists"?

    3. menza's bas drums have the radioactive symbol on them. are we to assume the aliens were radioactive? well, i guess the military dudes who took the alines from their ship will die of ovarian cancer before the video is over.

    4. good catch on the "jew-alien" and the mos eisley alien!

    5. did anyone ever thing that the reason that vic's teeth are permanently held shut by the hooks is an homage to mustain's singing style, since he never opens his jaw while delivering such classic lines as "suspended state of cryogenics"?


    1. He's an embodiment of "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." Those aren't sunglasses, that is a metal keeping him from seeing. Also, notice the large metal rings that cap his ears .

  4. This is a masterpiece. You don't understand a fuck! ;-)

    ps. You have to write a piece about Metallica "One" VHS. Two versions of the same song, with moronic comments by Lars Ulrich in between. 15 endless, expensive minutes of nothing.

  5. rust in peace is not only my favorite megadeth album, but it's also one of my all time favorite thrash metal albums. i know it's cool to hate megadeth, but i'll always have a place in my heart for that red-headed loser that was kicked out of metallica and cried on screen because of it. this video illustrated everything i love about low-budget filmmaking. the awful set designs, the awful effects, the awful costumes. it really is so bad that it's good. also, nick menza looks like a monkey. especially shirtless.

  6. It's hard for me to believe that someone who obviously worshiped 'Saved By The Bell' could have been listening to something "heavier than Megadeth" in 1990? hehe Really tho, have respect for core material leading to utter masterpieces of metal and film like Phallus & Skullhedface!!!

  7. Dave Mustaine's "vocals" are like thin, watery gravy that oozes all over your plate & renders the rest of your food inedible. His lyrics really suck too. And that moronic skull mascot thing is & always was gayer than gay.

  8. Still not as good as the first two albums, but it was a great comeback after the aptly titled "So Far, So Good... So What". Gar Samuelson was possibly the most perfect thrash-metal drummer, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, but I digress...........

    This song is pretty good and the video is so incredibly dumb. Funny thing is the videos got even worse right along with their material. You think they'd learn.

  9. good god i agree, mustaine's vocals are paper thin and have no balls to them whatsoever. yet another thing that i always hated about them.

    i remember megadeth getting pretty big around this time, doing the arsenio hall show and stuff like that...then like 9 months later metallica comes out and REALLY shows them how its done, they get super sucking even more and having even worse vocals than megadeth. i mean, james' vocals were pretty okay in the garage days EP, but by the time the black album came out...bob rock had put the idea in his head that he should sing. oy.

  10. The author picture would be cooler if those were Skidz pants and a Hypercolor t-shirt...but close enough!

  11. "Stupid" seems to be a popular tag.

  12. Agreed: Hetfield's hideous post-"Black" yodeling is worse than Mustaine's whiny yelping, although not by much. Megadeth has always been massively overrated, they don't have even one totally indispensable album. Mustaine's shitty vocals make Steve Souza & Paul Baloff sound good in comparison, yet people take Mustaine way more seriously for some reason.

    That said, he's still way cooler than Metallica which is what Dave always wanted to hear, so bollocks for him.

  13. Haha. Classic bad metal video. I love Rust in Peace though. Sure Dave's vocals suck but I never listened to thrash for the vocals anyway.

  14. of course "stupid" is a popular tag in this blog...we write about metal from the 1985-1994 era. how could we not use it all the time?
    credit goes to mustaine for at least noticing the extreme limitation of his vocal range and leaving it the hell alone (and burying it in th mix). its james that done lost his godamned mind and started yodeling. thats the perfect word for it. i think overall, kreator style higher pitched thrash vocals worked better. mustaine is no nasal, it drives me mental.



    that's a man-sized mullet you got there, lucho!

  16. Yodelin' Jimmy is actually Hetfield's third vocal style. First there was the falsetto thing he did during their demo era. Then, the familiar raspy thrash metal bark. Now it's the hilarious yodeling/crooning thing he does. He's a step away from blowing into a big brown jug with XXX painted on the side.

    I'm old enough to remember anxiously awaiting the 1st Megadeth album. Wow, what a disappointment that was, even by mid-80's metal standards.

  17. No one will ever be able to forget Mustaine crying on camera. The fact that Metallica included that in their video shows how much hatred they still have directed against him. He probably deserves it.

    This video sucks hard.

  18. megadeth was more or less entry level thrash for me. they were one of the few bands that made videos, so i could watch them on tv in the burbs and then somehow discover better shit as i got into it. and i did. can't stand to listen to them whatsoever now and i'm better off for it...

  19. Nuclear AbominationsMay 3, 2008 at 3:28 PM

    Megadeth has always been a shit band, always. It still puzzles me how they sold even one copy. They have always been the bottom of the worse.

  20. what i dont understand is how anonymous said. that megadeth has always been massively overrated?? how in sweet flying fuck were they overrated? they were always on the back burner and always looked at as a lesser band then metallica.

    and also. what metal music video is good? for example, people with epilepsy could not watch enter sandman.

    and atleast dave has stuck to his singing style. unlike hetfield who has changed 3 or more times. and has gonna progressivly worse

    i personally like megadeth better then metallica, but i dont hate metallica. but when people say this video is shit. i have to agree. its terrible. but no matter where u see the name Megadeth, some fuck underneath it just has to say metallica. will never change.

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