That Time Zack Snyder Directed a Lizzy Borden Video


Once upon a time, before 300, before Watchmen, before jokes about “Martha” and #releasethesnydercut, Zack Snyder was a music video director. His most famous contribution to that medium is probably Soul Asylum’s “Somebody to Shove” clip, which seemed omnipresent on MTV in 1992 (at least until a few months later, when Soul Aslyum showed us what omnipresent really meant with “Runaway Train”). This is generally common knowledge.

What gets mentioned a lot less often — to the point that I, a scholar of completely useless pop culture knowledge such as this, had no idea prior to a recent Vanity Fair career retrospective video — is that Snyder’s first-ever job was directing Lizzy Borden’s 1989 video for “Love is a Crime” (which was not omnipresent on MTV). The director was just 23-years-old at the time.

The video doesn’t have many of the elements which are now considered Snyder hallmarks — there are no speed ramps, no lovingly homoerotic lingering shots on bare and barrel-chested men, no recreations of iconic pop culture characters as Randian mass murderers. Still, I don’t think you’d know it was a first-time director just by watching it, which is impressive.

That’s not to say the video is good — it definitely hasn’t aged well — but it’s no worse than like 99% of stupid ’80s metal videos.

Snyder told Vanity Fair that he barely remembers making the video, and attributes its substantial focus on a scantily-clad dancing woman to Lizzy Borden (as transcribed by MetalSucks):

“I think I might have still been in [film] school when I did that video. I did look at it the other day and was like, ‘Wow, what the hell is that? Did I really do that?’ [laughs] Clearly, I needed the money.

“I have very little recollection of [making] it other than I know that even for me in film school, there was no money. There was no budget.

“I just remember going, ‘I don’t know if i can film a thing for this amount of money. I’ll try. I don’t know where we’re gonna get a model who will do it for this amount of money, those things you want.’”

You can watch both the video itself, and the Vanity Fair video of Snyder discuss the Lizzy Borden video, below.

Snyder’s latest film, Army of the Dead, hits Netflix this Friday, May 21. The NSFW opening fifteen minutes are at the bottom of this post.

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