Lana Del Rey has a strange habit of releasing music videos that evoke notoriously horrific characters from the past. Her latest clip for “Freak,” an ode to ’60s-era Hippies, seems to allude to one the counter-culture’s strangest mass murderers.
By accident or design, similarities between a bearded man and three women in the video and the notorious Charles Manson are uncanny.
In the summer of 1969, Manson, who led a demonic cult in the California desert, inspired his acolytes to commit a series of nine murders over a five week period.
The victims included pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four other people at her home and, separately, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. The Tate-LaBianca murders became one of the most sensational murder cases in U.S. history.
Although Manson wasn’t present at the murders they were carried out on his orders. Through drugs and sex, he maintained an almost hypnotic control over his followers.
His three most slavish followers were Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten. They participated in the murders. All, including Manson, were eventually convicted and sentenced to long prison terms.
The connection to Del Rey’s video comes at about 26 seconds in. It shows three women paying slavish attention to a long-haired bearded man shortly after he takes a dose of psychedelic drug LSD in a form known as window pane. Manson wore his hair and beard the same way.
Coincidentally, on Feb. 6, the Lifetime Network aired “Manson’s Lost Girls,” a movie about the murders, focusing on the women who committed them.
Atkins died in prison in 2009. Krenwinekl, Van Houten and Manson are still in jail today. Another accomplice, Linda Kasabian, who drove the get-away car, testified against them and escaped prison.
Del Ray’s latest video isn’t the first play, by coincidence or design, on an infamous murder.
In her video for “Shades Of Cool,” she’s blasted by a shotgun after flirting with an older man who bears an eerie resemblance to mass murderer Richard Speck.
Speck tortured, raped, and murdered eight student nurses from South Chicago Community Hospital on July 14, 1966. It was one of the most sensational crimes of the decade. He died in prison at age 49.
Del Rey has always had an obsession with death and the darker recesses of life. Check out the video below, let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest music news.
Editor’s Note: The character in the video is played by Father John Misty, real name Josh Tillman, a singer, songwriter, guitarist and drummer who has played in a number of West Coast indie bands.