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StephenT [userpic]

(Vid) Boy from the Mouth of Hell

3rd August 2007 (16:04)
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This may just possibly be one of the Signs of the Apocalypse, but I've finished another vid! (When I say 'finished', I'm referring to the two others I started, got stuck on, and abandoned, at least for now...) And this one's Spikocentric... 



I was listening to 'Boys from the County Hell' by The Pogues, which is all about a man who goes out to get drunk, gets into fights and beats people up for a living... but for all his tough-guy attitude, he still lives with his dear old Mother. And I thought "That's Spike!" This video was the result. 

Title: Boy from the Mouth of Hell
Vidder: stormwreath 
Fandom:
BtVS/Angel
Category: Character study
Character(s): Spike (plus Angel/us, Drusilla, Buffy)
Episode(s): BtVS seasons 2,3,5-7; Angel seasons 2,5
Song Title/Artist: 'Boys from the County Hell' by The Pogues
Rating: R (Warning: song lyrics contain strong language)
Format/Size: WMV / 29MB
Length: 2:51

Download link (right-click and save): 
Windows Media Player (WMV) version

Lyrics and director's commentary below the cut - avoid if you dislike spoilers. :-)

 


Boys from The County Hell

I decided to structure the vid around Spike's life, with his ongoing rivalry with Angel as a key point in the verses. The chorus of the song, meanwhile, includes the line "And Mother wake me early in the morning", so I used that to illustrate the main turning points and decisive moments, most of which by contrast involved women. At first, I thought about showing a different women every time (his actual mother, Drusilla, Buffy, Fred, etc) but in the end decided it worked better with mostly Drusilla as his 'mother', until Spike rejects her guidance and turns to Buffy instead.

The opening scene is the power walk scene from 'Fool For Love' (and not the similar one from 'Darla') with a dark blue duotone filter, to match the end of the vid. Incidentally, the 'Angel' font was taken from nikkimisplaced's site.

 

 On the first day of March it was raining.
It was raining worse than anything that I have ever seen.
I drank ten pints of beer and I cursed all the people there,
And I wished that all this rain would stop falling down on me.

This verse is about the abuse William suffered at the Underwoods' party, that just kept raining down on him, and how he ran away cursing all the people there. Only to get cursed himself... (dun dun DERR).

And it's lend me ten pounds, I'll buy you a drink,
And Mother wake me early in the morning.

The chorus shows the first key turning point in his life, as Drusilla turns him.

At the time I was working for a landlord,
And he was the meanest bastard that you have ever seen.
And to lose a single penny would grieve him awful sore,
And he was a miserable bollocks and a bitch's bastard's whore.

The 'meanest bastard that you have ever seen' has to be Angelus, here shown bullying and tormenting William even after he's become a vampire. In particular, I included the clip from 'Destiny' where William walks in on Angelus and Dru having sex. You can just imagine him calling Angelus a bitch's bastard's whore at that point, can't you? :-)

And it's lend me ten pounds, I'll buy you a drink,
And Mother wake me early in the morning.

...but here Dru accepts his offer of eternal love, and they become lovers.

I recall that we took care of him one Sunday.
We got him out the back and we broke his fucking balls;
And maybe that was dreaming and maybe that was real,
But all I know is I left that place without a penny or fuck all.

The newly self-confident Spike now gets his own back on Angel (with the help of a certain blonde vampire slayer) and leaves town with the girl. Incidentally, including the shot of the fake Cup of Eternal Torment from 'Destiny' was an oblique shout-out to the lyric "and maybe that was dreaming and maybe that was real."

And it's lend me ten pounds, I'll buy you a drink,
And Mother wake me early in the morning.

But tragedy strikes! Spike sees Dru in vampface feeding on a victim, and is horrified by the sight! How can he keep his relationship with her now?  (Yeah, I know, it was a lot more complicated than that on the show...)

But now I've the most charming of verandahs.
I sit and watch the junkies, the drunks, the pimps, the whores.
Five green bottles sitting on the floor;
I wish to Christ, I wish to Christ that I had fifteen more.

Distressed by having to face the truth about Drusilla, Spike sits alone at the Bronze brooding a lot, and starts drinking heavily. (I cut the scene from the Bronze just before we got to see Aimee Mann on stage, since it didn't seem fair (and was possibly libellous) to show her just as Shane McGowan is singing "the pimps, the whores".)  :-)

And it's lend me ten pounds, I'll buy you a drink,
And Mother wake me early in the morning.

Spike meets Dru about to feed on another helpless victim - that same little blonde girl from earlier, in fact - and steps in to save her instead! Dru is naturally betrayed and heartbroken by such treachery. (Seriously, you can almost feel sorry for her: first Angelus leaves, then Darla stakes herself, then Spike gets a soul. Now only Miss Edith is left to love her...)

[Instrumental break]

I used this for a montage of scenes summing up seasons 5, 6 and 7 of 'Buffy'. Spike chases after the girl he saved from Drusilla (yeah, yeah, I know...); at first she rejects him, which annoys him; but he tries again and finally manages to get close to her.

And it's lend me ten pounds, I'll buy you a drink,
And Mother wake me early in the morning.

And Buffy rewards Spike with the Champion's amulet. I'm rather pleased with the effect of combining the two scenes from the end of seasons 6 and 7; I think they work well together.

The boys and me are drunk and looking for you;
We'll eat your frigging entrails and we won't give a damn.
My daddy was a Blueshirt and my mother a madam,
My brother earned his medals at My Lai in Vietnam.

Newly souled Spike meets up with Angel again. At first they argue a lot, but eventually their guilt over their shared crimes draws them together. For reference, Blueshirts were the Irish equivalent of Blackshirts - a 30s Fascist movement. My Lai was a notorious massacre carried out by US troops during the Vietnam War - here, cutting together shots of Angel in the Boxer Rebellion and a cowering family of missionaries makes him look quite sinister, if you don't know that he's actually about to [try and] save them...

And it's lend me ten pounds and I'll buy you a drink,
And Mother wake me early in the morning.

Here I wanted to show Fred's death as the catalyst that finally forces Spike and Angel to cooperate fully, and also the point where Spike realises he wants to be a champion for his own sake, not just to please or impress others. I hope that comes across; in a way, I feel this is the one point of the vid where you really need to know the context from the show to get the message.

On the first day of March it was raining,
It was raining worse than anything that I have ever seen.
Stay on the other side of the road 'cause you can never tell;
We've a thirst like a gang of devils, we're the boys from the county hell.

The final verse talks about it raining heavily - reprising the first verse - so of course I have to show the final scene from Angel. Spike and Angel fighting side by side at last. The freeze-frame and zoom effect is something I discovered when doing another vid which is not yet finished; I think it works well here, especially combined with the fade to blue. Incidentally, the brief clip of Angel going into vampface is from his fight with Hamilton in that episode, and is a shout out to "we've a thirst like a gang of devils" - since, of course, it was his vampiric ability to drink Hamilton's blood that let him win that fight. Maybe that's another reference that only works if you know the show really, really well...

And that's it.

Comments

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 3rd August 2007 18:32 (UTC)
Spike - bondage fun

One of my favourite Pogues songs, and a great montage too. (Of course, being the model for Cassidy in Preacher, Shane is a bit of a vampire himself...) Loved how you didn't overuse the effects; mostly straight clips, and double exposures etc only when needed.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 3rd August 2007 20:41 (UTC)

Thanks! Cassidy was based on Shane MacGowan? Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Now I'm just a big fluffy puppy with bad teeth."

And clearly overusing effects is not something I'm capable of, considering there were probably more in that vid than in most of the others I've done. ;-) (Although a lot were things like reversing or cropping clips or playing with brightness and hue, which wouldn't be obvious unless you knew the episode really well)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 4th August 2007 01:06 (UTC)

You mean to imply that I *don't* know the episodes very well? ;-)

Seriously, I suppose effects in vidding is a lot like effects in music; every single sound you hear/image you see has been processed in SOME way, but the trick is to make it not obvious, to have it all flow smoothly. It's the small tweaks that do all the difference. And that works very well here, I think.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th August 2007 16:15 (UTC)

You mean to imply that I *don't* know the episodes very well?

Perish the thought!

Although since you do, you'll be able to tell me which two clips in the vid I've got running backwards (reversed video), yes? :-)

#1 vf Fcvxr ba gur onypbal bs gur Oebamr sebz Fyrrcre, #2 vf Fcvxr va gur ubfcvgny orq gnyxvat gb Natry va Qnzntr.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 4th August 2007 16:53 (UTC)

#1 vf Fcvxr ba gur onypbal bs gur Oebamr sebz Fyrrcre, #2 vf Fcvxr va gur ubfcvgny orq gnyxvat gb Natry va Qnzntr.

There you go, speaking Welsh again. Since I've mislaid my Enigma machine I simply had to re-watch the vid.

Hmmm... I'm guessing it's got to be one of those where there's not much movement. The one of Angel sitting bleeding on the floor, and the one with him and Spike arguing over astronauts and cavemen...? *shrug* Hard to tell sometimes when they're taken out of context and put into a new one.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th August 2007 17:39 (UTC)

www.rot13.com

The first because I wanted to show Spike putting down his drink and looking around him, rather than looking around and drinking; the second because I wanted to end on Spike looking reflective rather than end on Angel talking.

Posted by: Trepkos (trepkos)
Posted at: 3rd August 2007 21:49 (UTC)

That was a rollicking good vid!
Excellent!
Sorry - no crit.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 3rd August 2007 21:55 (UTC)

Thank you!

And don't worry about the "no crit" thing; I'll just assume it was perfect as it is... ;-)

Posted by: spikeNdru (spikendru)
Posted at: 4th August 2007 01:50 (UTC)
Fanged Four

I liked this a LOT. The lyrics really do fit Spike's situation, and I agree with the decision to use Dru as the mother-figure and catalyst for many of the changes in his life.

I laughed out loud at the verse: He was the meanest bastard that you have ever seen. And to lose a single penny would grieve him awful sore, And he was a miserable bollocks and a bitch's bastard's whore. which is absolutely perfect for Angelus, who was not only infamous for his cruelty, but also for his cheapness. That is exactly how Spike would have seen him after he caught the other rooster in the henhouse shagging his destiny!

I also really like the blue filter over the powerwalk. It ties in nicely with the NFA scene.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th August 2007 16:10 (UTC)

Thanks! (And thanks for the rec, too).

I was surprised by how effective the blue filter was; deciding what to do about the instrumental introduction to a song is always one of the hardest parts for me...

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 8th August 2007 16:44 (UTC)
bad wigs

I just d/l'ed and watched this vid. Enjoyed it very much indeed - certainly don't think I've seen a BtVS vid done to a Pogues song before.

Great work.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2007 20:24 (UTC)

Thanks!

They just seemed like the sort of group Spike would probably enjoy in real life. Assuming he didn't actually have a deep secret yearning for, y'know, Enya. Or Dido. Or Sarah Maclachlan...

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 11th August 2007 10:27 (UTC)

Fabulous song choice. I particularly enjoyed Angel's introduction and Spike's putting his hand out for the amulet being matched to "lend me ten pounds." The blue filter bookending was really effective emotionally and technically (getting those overlays of Chosen and NFA to look natural).

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 11th August 2007 11:57 (UTC)

Thanks! I tried to go for some approrpriate matches to the chorus - my own favourite is "I'll buy you a drink" as Drusilla tosses the dead clubber to Spike.

The blue overlay at the end - if you mean the one of Spike fighting, that's actually from NFA too, not 'Chosen'. It's when he's rescuing the baby from those cultists.

Posted by: shadowscast (shadowscast)
Posted at: 19th August 2007 04:47 (UTC)
Spike exhilerated

I really liked this! And I enjoyed reading your commentary, too—it's cool to know what you were thinking, and it definitely deepens my appreciation for the vid.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 20th August 2007 19:04 (UTC)

Thanks! I always enjoy reading other people's commentaries, author's notes, "making of" features, and so on, so it only seems fair to do the same myself...

Posted by: lilred26x (lilred26x)
Posted at: 22nd August 2007 03:11 (UTC)

Very nice! And I really enjoyed the commentary. No surprise as I'm the one who always watches commentaries on the movies I like. Thanks for sharing this!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd August 2007 15:59 (UTC)

Thanks!

Just curious - did you watch the vid then read the commentary, or read the commentary first?

Speaking for myself I think I'd prefer to watch unspoiled then read to see what I'd missed/whether something was deliberate or a coincidence/etc afterwards; but I'm not sure I'd be able to resist not reading the commentary while the vid downloaded!

Posted by: lilred26x (lilred26x)
Posted at: 23rd August 2007 02:46 (UTC)

I try to always watch unspoiled and that's what I did with your video. I was able to resist reading while it was downloading by having multiple webpages open and jumping back and forth. :)

Posted by: bendy (bendy1)
Posted at: 1st October 2007 13:40 (UTC)
SV - Another Day In SV

That was an inspired song choice - ace, thanks :D

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 3rd October 2007 10:53 (UTC)

You're welcome. :-)
Tx.

Posted by: Classic Anne and The Girls (classicanne01)
Posted at: 3rd October 2007 00:10 (UTC)
Like Pencils?

I was sent here from bendy1's page and I have to say WOW! I liked how you put all those scenes together to tell your story. It came out great!
The explanation with the lyrics made it that much better.
Nicely done :-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 3rd October 2007 10:43 (UTC)

Thanks! (And glad the commentary was useful)

Posted by: yourlibrarian (yourlibrarian)
Posted at: 13th January 2008 02:26 (UTC)
Here from buffyversetop5
DawnTop5-ruuger

I always enjoy reading author's notes, and found yours quite interesting as well. I liked that Butch & Sundance ending to the vid, which went quite well with the song as well (which actually made me think of Firefly in the opener).

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th January 2008 19:33 (UTC)
Re: Here from buffyversetop5
spike-shadowpuppets

Thanks! I enjoy writing the notes, so it's win/win. :-) Incidentally, the end scene of the vid was actually the first part of it I did, and it all flowed back from there.

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