Jormungandr Ė lost genius or just crap?
Jason Ardill tells all..
Anus Dei cover art

Blair Witch Project of shock rock video is Anus Dei by the mercifully obscure Scandinavian black metal band JORMUNGANDR. The song is the usual shrill torrent of incomprehensible gibberish with a lot of umlauts in it, punctuated by guitar torture. But itís not the song thatís memorable; itís the visuals.

The video has clearly been ineptly shot and edited. No attempt has been made to synchronize whatís happening on the soundtrack with the action on the screen. Most of it is a languorous art-house rolling shot of subway tunnels, trash piled up against walls and sleeping tramps. This is interspersed with images from occult books, mostly woodcuts of Satan and his witches, as if someone had held a video camera directly above an open book. At various points, heavily made-up male faces leer into the camera from a few inches away.

After several watchings, the obvious conclusion is that the video is half JORMUNGANDR pratting about in their bedroom, and half someone elseís film project footage, which JORMUNGANDR just happened to come across and edit into their video.

Although Ė perhaps thatís what weíre meant to think? Maybe this film looks so cheap because someone spent a lot of money to make it look that way? One thing is certain. By the time the monster appears, you know damn well youíre looking at a sky-high special effects budget.

Itís enough to give Aphex Twin nightmares. Thereís no face, just a peeled back skull and something like a huge set of dentures in the middle. Industrial limbs extrude from its shoulders, tipped with whirring claws Ė remember, this was made before Trent Reznor grossed us all out with Happiness in Slavery Ė which must have taken months to build.

When you first see it, the thing has its back to us and is tearing up dummies filled with offal, made to look like homeless people. This part looks a little fake, because of the over-the-top blood sprays and flying body parts, and itís hard not to laugh. Then it stops, like a dog sniffing the air, and turns round. It starts to stride towards the camera.

At that point, itís not funny any more. It moves with a horrible lurching gait, like Sadako from Ringu, as if it were broken on the inside. Iíve heard it said that they shot it running backwards, then played the tape forwards, to give it that disturbing stop-start lurch. Of course, from that point on itís all shaky-cam running, then thereís the Blair Witch ending with the camera lying on the floor. Game over, man, game over.

As rock video monsters go, itís an unsung classic. If the camera would only hold still, we would get a better idea of how it was done. Itís clearly not CGI, because that kind of technology wasnít available in 1992, when the video first surfaced. Fangoria did a special feature on the Anus Dei monster and came to the conclusion that one of the JORMUNGANDR members must be a genius with latex.

The film has been the source of rabid debate among those who have seen it, because it just does not make sense. Nobody has ever heard of JORMUNGANDR. Other than that one infamous track, they do not appear to have recorded any music. So, why spend tens of thousands on a video to promote a band that does not seem to exist any more?

Thereís more to tell. Contrary to popular belief, the video was never screened on MTV, nor was it sent to any other stations. The first person to broadcast it was Billy Two-Four (sic) an nineteen-year-old media student, who put it out on his public access show, Billyís Horrorday . He claims an anonymous donor sent it to him, which has, of course, led to speculation that he made the video himself, at college. Whatever the truth behind the Anus Dei monster, we know this much.

No one ever hired Billie Two-Four to make any more videos.

And, the track sucks

copyright 2004 Pelgrane Press Ltd