If Tim Burton and Henry Selick were to make a music video together, Eels’ video for Bone Dry would be it. The darkly delightful music video (above) with its grim, dancing skeletons was, after all, animated by Anthony Scotts, the man responsible for all the skeletons in Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride.
Set in a quintessentially eerie cemetery, the brilliantly animated short film follows the grim yet entertaining journey of a skeleton as he searches among tombstones for a woman who literally stole his heart. Along the way, he makes some skeleton friends who enjoy dancing together.
The video, which is as cheerful as it is morbid, was directed by Sofia Astrom of Starburns Industries, the company that also worked on Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa. Drawing on influences such as Disney’s Skeleton Dance, Ray Harryhausen’s skeleton fight from Jason and the Argonauts and Chris Hopewell, who animated music videos like Radiohead’s Burn the Witch, the producers decided they needed the “best skeleton animator in the world” for the project to bring the skeletons to life – enter Scotts.
“I love the contrast between the upbeat, almost ironic, tune of the song juxtaposed by the sincere lyrics about loss of love and trust. My aim was to reflect that in the video by contrasting the humorous parts of the skeleton band dancing with skeleton E wandering aimlessly through the graveyard searching for connection,” said Astrom. E, here, refers to Mark Oliver Everett, the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist behind Eels.
Bone Dry is a track off of the band’s new album The Deconstruction. The stop-motion video took six weeks and 17 people to complete.
It also fondly reminded us of Spike Jonze’s Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die by Your Side), which you can watch below: