Today marks the AppleTV+ premiere of the new Beastie Boys documentary film directed by Spike Jonze — appropriately titled Beastie Boys Story. One cannot live on horror alone (although we try), and we’re major fans of the Beastie Boys here at the Terror Time office.
Coincidentally, we recently had a mandatory viewing of the classic 1981 horror film Wolfen, and the “wolf-vision” special effects used in that film reminded us of two things: the Beasties’ 1992 music video “So What’cha Want” from the album Check Your Head, as well as the first two Predator movies.
Directed by member Adam Yaunch (under the name “Nathanial Hornblower”), the video utilized a solarized photo-negative effect during handheld camera shots of the three band members performing straight into the camera in the woods.
The effect used for the sky overhead is amazingly similar to the technique used in Michael Wadleigh’s underrated shape-shifter tale Wolfen, featuring Edward James Olmos as one of a group of Native Americans in New York who claim the ability to turn into different animals — including wolves. “Wolf-vision” is used throughout the movie, showing the wolves’ POV as they stalk the nighttime streets of New York — though these scenes were actually shot in broad daylight, with the sky turned pitch black in the lab:
In “So What’cha Want,” shots of DJ Hurricane and Money Mark repeatedly switch between this surreal view and a mock-infrared effect — one later to be associated by millions of fans with scenes in John McTiernan’s 1987 classic Predator — which employs a similar effect to depict the alien hunter’s thermal-vision tracking:
See what I did there? I worked a Beastie Boys music video into an article about photographic techniques from two completely different genre films. You’re welcome!
Spike Jonze’s documentary Beastie Boys Story is now available on AppleTV+.