It was only a matter of time before Slayer’s lyrics leapt off the printed page and made their wanton way to the visual medium. The band’s discography is gorged with tales of mass murderers, serial sadists and drooling deviants of every stripe – vicious mental cases just begging for a cinematic reception.
Enter Metalocalypse director and big-time Slayer fan Mark Brooks who created a 20-minute DVD titled Playing with Dolls, a 12-episode video-graphic novel that will be included exclusively in Slayer’s World Painted Blood Deluxe Edition, out November 3 in tandem with the World Painted Blood Standard Edition. Inspired by the songs on World Painted Blood – in particular, Jeff Hanneman’s “Playing With Dolls” from which the horror short takes its title – the film blends elements of animation and still-photography into a visual style similar to that of a graphic novel. A trailer for the short has just been posted at www.slayer.net. The soundtrack for the Playing With Dolls short features clips from all 11 of the songs on World Painted Blood; in addition, the music bed for Episode #7 is taken from “Atrocity Vendor,” a new song that is not on the album.
“It’s not live action and it’s not animated,” Brooks explains. “It’s a weird hybrid of the two, and I haven’t seen a lot of things done this way.”
No mere music video, Playing with Dolls is a stark, 12-part nightmare that breathes corrupt life into Slayer’s latest syllabus of stalkers, psychopaths and serial killers, merging their aberrant psyches into the supremely focused desire of a single, merciless malcontent. A methodical distillation of one man’s lethal frenzy, the film follows the gruesome outbursts of a nameless protagonist. He is not an indiscriminate murder junkie, but rather a highly creative snuff-artist with a deeply personal sense of purpose – a man for whom murder is the only conceivable way forward. With a black heart hardened by tragedy, he chooses his victims carefully. His methods are as grisly and varied as they are poetic.
“It’s a little weirder than your regular blood n’ guts type thing,” Brooks says of the storyline, “which I think is a reflection of Slayer’s music.”
But make no mistake: There will be blood, and plenty of it. As the real-life boyfriend of one of the film’s “victims” told Brooks after a private screening, “I almost threw up while I watching that. And I think that’s a compliment.”
Slayer – bassist/vocalist Tom Araya, guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, and drummer Dave Lombardo – started recording World Painted Blood, the band’s 10th studio album, last October in a Los Angeles studio with producer Greg Feldeman, and completed it this past May. Recording World Painted Blood was a unique experience for Slayer who has historically begun the recording process with all songs written and fully rehearsed. This time, they did the bulk of writing and song development while in the studio. According to drummer Dave Lombardo, “On this record, we worked a lot more collectively, we were more attentive to each other’s ideas and willing to try them, which only benefited the album.” World Painted Blood is, indeed a Slayer album, and consequently deals with topics such as death and destruction, war, serial killers, and the Apocalypse.
“Psychopathy Red,” leaked online a year ago, was inspired by the heinous Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, aka the Rostov Ripper, who confessed to brutally murdering 56 children. “Beauty Through Order” (Kerry King: “one of Jeff’s songs, it has a very heavy ‘do me’ intro to it then explodes with a really cool vibe,”) “Unit 731,” “Playing With Dolls” (Lombardo: an awesome track, great song structure, great vibe”), “Public Display of Dismemberment,” and “Americon,” a King composition. Of “Americon,” King explains, “It’s about what I think the rest of the world thinks of America. We may not be big on a lot of people’s lists, but I don’t care what you think of my government, of my economy, or whatever. I live here and this is one of the best places that I’ve ever found to live. So f*#k you if you don’t like it.”
Log onto www.slayer.net to view the trailer for the Playing With Dolls graphic novel, and to pre-order your copy of World Painted Blood.