Lady Gaga has always claimed she was a geek in high school. Based on her new video for “Born This Way,” a sci-fi mini-epic with stylistic nods to “Aliens,” “Superman” and “Metropolis,” we believe her. (For music critic Ann Powers‘ take on the video, check out our sister blog, Pop & Hiss.)
In the seven-minute origin story, the singer’s “Mother Monster” emerges as a nightclub-ready heir to the extraterrestrial queen from James Cameron‘s “Aliens.” She’s nasty, maternal and ready to produce a whole new race. Gaga introduces the video’s extra-planetary premise in voice-over, saying, “On G.O.A.T., a government-owned alien territory in space, a birth of magnificent and magical proportions took place.”
G.O.A.T. sounds like it might share a system with LV-426, the planet where Sigourney Weaver‘s Ripley and the rest of Nostromo crew pick up trouble in “Alien.” Gaga births her own embryos, a gooey approximation of the ones Ripley torches in her showdown with the alien queen in the sequel, and Mother Monster morphs into a spider-like creature resembling the biomechanoid designs by Swiss artist H.R. Giger that were featured in the “Alien” franchise.
Gaga and her director, fashion photographer Nick Knight, make other cinematic references in this genre mash-up. “Born This Way” opens with Bernard Herrmann‘s score from “Vertigo” and the singer sitting astride a crystalline throne straight out of Richard Donner‘s version of Krypton in “Superman.” (This being Gaga, Krypton is naturally gay-friendly — the whole scene is encased in a pink triangle, and a sparkly unicorn gallops by).
Looking like a sister to one of Guillermo del Toro‘s nasty “Pan’s Labyrinth” fairies, Gaga sports an extra eyeball on her chin, and when she withdraws a gun from her crotch, it echoes Rose McGowan‘s machine gun leg in Robert Rodriguez‘s “Planet Terror.” The teeming dancers around her resemble the gyrating masses of people in Fritz Lang‘s “Metropolis.” And even Zombie Boy, a Canadian fan of George Romero‘s movies who has covered himself in full-body zombie tattoos, makes an appearance, with Gaga wearing zombie makeup alongside him.
Besides providing plenty of fodder for cinema nerds, the video has served another purpose for Gaga, publicizing her “Born This Way” album, which is due May 23. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out below.
– Rebecca Keegan
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