More information is emerging about the recently circulated footage that mixed parts of Marilyn Manson videos with a scene portraying Lana Del Rey being raped by movie director Eli Roth. But the account given by Manson, who addressed the subject for the time in a video interview posted today by NME, marks a shift from his camp’s previous statement and leaves out key details shared with Wondering Sound by Alan Lasky, who has worked on past Manson videos and is one half of the Sturmgruppe visual/technical group that originally posted the clip on its website more than a year ago. What’s more, Lasky said we haven’t seen the darkest of the related footage — and we might never see it.
Manson, who’s set to release his new album, The Pale Emperor, in January, acknowledging hoping to make a video with Roth and Del Rey but denied that this footage was intended for that purpose. “It was not meant to be a Marilyn Manson video,” Manson said. “The editor of the company that put it out was somebody who’s edited my videos. That video was something that was done with a camera that Eli, who’s my friend, and I both wanted to test out, so I let him test it out, and … what they filmed was put in context seemingly as if it were a Marilyn Manson video, and that was in no way the intention.”
Though Manson’s comment makes clear the footage was released by someone he’s worked with before, a representative for the singer had previously said the clip “must be fan video splicing up old Manson video footage with someone else’s Lana Del Rey footage.”
Manson also suggested that it was the Ultraviolence singer who scuttled hopes for a joint video. “Eli and I wanted to do a music video with her but she was being such a problem,” he can be seen telling the interviewer. “For me, personally, although I still respect her, I’m friends with her. I just left. I was tired … I was not willing to make that part of my video. Eli and I originally had intentions of making a video with her, but that is not the intention that is represented in that film clip because that is not what I filmed, not for my video.”
Despite reports that the footage in question arrived online only last month, Lasky says Sturmgruppe, in which he works with Richard Piedra, posted it in 2013 as essentially their work portfolio.
“When we work together as Sturmgruppe we tend to do very dark rock video stuff for Manson and other people,” Lasky told me on the phone on November 25, after the footage had spread and most of the content on Sturmgruppe’s website — along with the video itself — had been taken down. “We have had our reel up, which is the reel that caused the controversy in the first place, for a year and a half. And aside from the people who were looking at it for work-related stuff, very few people made any notice of it.”
He said the recent attention to the Sturmgruppe reel appeared to have begun when the creator of a Lana Del Rey fansite found the footage and posted “a couple of GIFs.” The process spiraled from there.
Lasky declined to confirm or deny that the Del Rey scene was from what was intended to be a Manson video, citing legal concerns. But he corroborated the substance of Roth’s 2013 comment to Larry King that the director had shot a video with Del Rey and Manson and, as Roth put it at the time, “The footage is so sick, it’s been locked in a vault for over a year.”
“A year ago the guy (Roth) said we did this video, it was too sick, we had to put it in a vault,” Lasky told me. “All true.”
Hard though it may be to believe, the clip showing the Del Rey sexual assault might not be the worst of the material that was shot.
“You’re not seeing all of the footage,” Lasky said. “We could only take the tamest pieces of what we did. The closest thing to the truth is what Eli Roth said in his interview.”
Asked if we’ll ever see the rest, Lasky replied that the other parties involved would almost certainly never allow the remaining footage to see the light of day.
“The first time everybody saw the first cut, we all went, ‘No,’” he said. “We did the first screening of of the cut and then they’re like, ‘That’s gotta go in a vault in a salt mine in Nevada, and nobody’s going to see it.’ This is some people who have done some fairly controversial work in the past.”
As an example of that past work, one of the other Manson-Sturmgruppe videos excerpted in the reel, 2012′s “Slo-Mo-Tion,” shows the word “rape” spelled out in blood-like red lettering on a window.
Lasky said Sturmgruppe worked hard on the footage and included the Del Rey scene in their professional reel as an example of their cinematography. “We’ve got some people who really enjoy making dark imagery and are really good at it,” he recalled. “They got together and make something so dark that all of them together, collectively, said we can’t release this.”
Manson, in his NME interview, also addressed the subject of rape.
“I would not make a video of that nature,” he said. “I don’t think either one of us were intending that to be ever seen even. It was more of a camera test. I’m a person who would beat someone’s ass if they raped somebody that I know.”
A rep for Manson hasn’t responded to Wondering Sound’s repeated requests for comment. A rep for Del Rey initially declined to comment and hasn’t responded since to repeated requests for comment about Sturmgruppe’s side of the story. Lasky didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Manson’s NME interview.
Kathryn Frazier, a rep for Manson, previously said the video was most likely created by a fan. “Manson did not direct this, shoot it, nor was it for a Marilyn Manson video or outtake footage made by him or to be used by him with his music,” she told Pitchfork on November 20. “It must be a fan video splicing up old Manson video footage with someone else’s Lana Del Rey footage.”
Watch Manson’s NME interview here, and read a November 26 emailed response by Sturmgruppe below, which says the true story is “far more bizarre than anything related so far.”
Thank you for your interest in Sturmgruppe. We received your recent inquiry regarding the footage that has created so much controversy on the web over the past few days. Obviously at this stage of the process the issues surrounding this event make it difficult for us to tell the our side of the story publicly.
However we did not want to leave your query entirely unanswered. What we can say is this: we truly live in the Misinformation Age. The Internet is not always a rational place and when something goes ‘viral’ it often takes on a life of its own, independent of any objective truth. The Web is the largest game of “post office” ever created. People take what they read on other websites, embellish it with their own agendas, and then repost it as gospel. Nearly everything published since the beginning of this fiasco is either entirely incorrect or taken completely out of context. Once publicists get involved and the spin-machine fires up, all hope of recovering the truth is lost. We do sincerely hope that the true story is told at some point, it is far more bizarre than anything related so far.
That said, if you have specific questions regarding this matter please forward them to this email address and we will endeavor to answer them as best we can.