Premiere: Ethel Cain’s “The God” is the Perfect Dose of Midwest Psychedelic HorrorWatch a chilling music video timed perfectly for Halloween
The Midwest is a deeply haunted place. When the days get shorter and the trees drop their leaves, the landscape’s creepiness comes out and the various spirits and curses that haunt it feel so close you can almost touch them.
Indiana resident Ethel Cain is a recent transplant to the Midwest, but she seems intimately familiar with the region’s type of peculiar shadowy strangeness, and makes gorgeous, haunting dream-folk-pop that evokes it in cinematic ways. Her Golden Age EP from last year has a dark supernatural lost-in-the-woods-at-night feel that reminds me of classic rustic horror like Children of the Corn, The Wicker Man, and the incredible (but unjustly obscure) historical documentary Wisconsin Death Trip. But for her new video, for a spooky and sprawling electronic track called “The God,” she takes a different approach, channeling the slick psychedelic eroticism of vintage Italian giallo movies and the generations of horror filmmakers who’ve been influenced by them (and showing off some truly vertigo-inducing stripper heels while she’s at it).
“I made the first demo of this song almost two years ago,” Cain tells us. “I was listening to scary podcasts on a long drive home one night, and I came to a particular episode where a man was walking his dog through a field when the sky suddenly turned red and he looked up and saw a massive, godlike creature moving across the horizon, towering all the way up into the sky. I wondered what it must feel like to be in the guts of such a beast, hot and red and smothering. I’ve used this song as an entrance track during live shows before but I finally got a wild hair recently to spruce it up and film a video. I recently moved into an old church and thought it would be the perfect setting.”