It almost goes without saying that the “Pacifier” video is largely based on “A Clockwork Orange”. Except, judging by the YouTube comments, some whippersnappers haven’t seen the film and angrily accuse Shihad of ripping of Rob Zombie’s “Never Gonna Stop” video.

But with the lineage settled, the next question is why is the “Pacifier” video so strongly based on “A Clockwork Orange”? I’d guess it was chosen to contrast the ‘ultra-violence’ of “A Clockwork Orange” with the peaceful wish of Shihad’s lyrics. Except being a music video, it can’t actually show any violence. It’s just implied with intense stares coming from droog Jon.

Back when this video was first released, I remember discussing it at the late great NZmusic.com. It bothered me that the video had borrowed so much from “A Clockwork Orange” but had done so little with it.

It made me think of Joseph Kahn’s brilliantly fun video for the Faith No More track “Last Cup of Sorrow”. That video is based on the Hitchcock film “Vertigo”. It starts off being a pretty faithful reproduction of the original, then it gets deliciously weird.

I mentioned this on the NZmusic.com forum and was surprised when Tom from Shihad (a forum regular) commented to say he kind of agreed. He’d not been convinced by the premise of the video, but the band being a democracy, he was happy to go along with it.

And more than a decade later, I still have the same issue with the video. The concept of “Pacifier” seems little more than, “Hey, we should do it like A Clockwork Orange!” Even Rob Zombie added his own bits.

When the song concludes with a euphoric “Come on, let’s take a look outside”, it seems a missed opportunity to use some lovely New Zealand outdoorsness, the sort that features in Shihad’s video for “A Day Away”. I want to feel the stress and tension of the lyrics, then have a wave of soothing love and calmness wash over. I don’t want to see giant codpieces.

But there’s one difference between my old thoughts on NZmusic.com and now: the name change. A couple of years later, Shihad felt compelled to change their name and settled on Pacifier. That brings a certain melancholic feeling to the scenes at the milk bar with “Shihad Pacifier” emblazoned on the walls, like the rebranding was kicking off before anyone knew it was going to happen.

Best bit: the droogs hooning around a Shell petrol station.

Director: Jolyon Watkins
Film Archive

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