There’s nothing I love more than an esoteric music video that challenges Hollywood’s weird perception of spirituality – and emo rapper POORSTACY does just this in his “Hills Have Eyes” music video. It was produced by Travis Barker, the drummer for Blink-182, so there’s a lot of professional understanding of the industry tied to the symbolism of the music video.
The title of the song alludes to two things: the horror film of the same name and the Hollywood Hills. That film is about a family of cannibal mutants attacking innocent people in the desert. Touches of such horror are visited in the music video through the cannibalistic symbolism of Hollywood culture.
This Video’s Meaning Challenges Hollywood
Hollywood is taken to task and we get our first clue in the opening scene of the music video. We see a camera fading out from the Hollywood sign, but it’s spelled “Hollyweird.” That name is a reference to the strange way people choose to live in Southern California, especially in Hollywood.
At times, people have even called it satanic, and we’re reminded of this when a raven or crow flies past the sign in a horror movie fashion.
But notice something in the upper corner: it’s a sunny day, and the Moon is moving out of the Sun’s path, ending a total Solar Eclipse. This music video takes place after POORSTACY “wakes up” from his Hollyweird nightmare which we see confirmed in the next shot as he wakes up on the concrete.
POORSTACY is dressed in his normal alternative style. One might call his appearance satanic, but what I find especially clever about the lyrics of the song and the music video itself is that appearance is aesthetic and mindset is everything. After all, many celebrities look traditionally beautiful, but “normal” and are morally corrupt.
The meaning is more than skin deep in this song. Hollyweird isn’t about style – it’s about choices. POORSTACY talks about it in his opening chorus:
No sleep in California 'Cause the hills have eyes and they're looking for you They're right around the corner I've been tryna figure my life out since I fell apart
Your Dreams Can Kill You in Hollyweird
The entire song and music video is POORSTACY “waking up” from the nightmare of Hollyweird.
Throughout the video, you see apparitions of a mutant family, especially the figure I would like to call Demented Mickey. It’s clearly an allusion to Mickey Mouse of Disney, and I interpret it as a symbol of the deep corruption of the entertainment industry. Major corporations suck the life out of young children and young actors and introduce them to a life of misery.
Disney’s “perfect” aesthetic is ugly and evil on the inside.
POORSTACY’s Hollyweird nightmare that he wakes up from happens at a drug-fueled party. We see him hanging on the couch with a young woman also into an alternative lifestyle. But nobody seems to really care about each other at the party, and neither does the woman sitting with POORSTACY.
The only thing anyone cares about in Hollywood is themselves and it’s slowly killing them.
People act strange in the Hollywood hills
Living in fame, getting high on pills
High price tag on a lotta cheap thrills
Brand new bag, red bottom high heels
Highway shorts, can you show me how it feels?
Cocaine Caviar, champagne X pills
Soft kisses on your neck, you like it when I give you chills
POORSTACY starts to feel disoriented at the party and has visions of the child mutant and Demented Mickey. Something seems to change in him internally, so when a person with a camera dressed in horror movie villain and nightmare walker Freddy Krueger’s shirt approaches him, POORSTACY snaps. He slams a bottle over the person’s head.
This marks the point in which POORSTACY’s nightmare changes to a lucid dream. We see him standing in the middle of the party and the camera focuses on him closer and closer. But it switches to Demented Mickey. At first, you think POORSTACY is looking at Demented Mickey, but if you pay attention to the background, you realize that POORSTACY is Demented Mickey.
The cinematography is capturing POORSTACY’s realization that he has become something twisted and ugly inside and will only perpetuate corruption himself.
Awareness of True Evil
But this realization isn’t limited to the singer. At the party, POORSTACY is led into a bedroom by the woman he’s with. She throws him on the bed and gets on top of him, clearly intending to take advantage of someone high and thus unable to consent. We switch to POORSTACY’s point-of-view, literally through a blink frame of his eyes, and the woman changes into a demonic figure.
What she appeared on the outside isn’t who she was on the inside. Her alternative style was a coincidence. But no doubt POORSTACY felt comfortable around her because she mirrored his own style.
Hollyweird traps you by giving you what you want.
POORSTACY pushes her away because he has agency and is rejecting the evils of Hollyweird in this video. He gets up and leaves the party even as Demented Mickey, his evil self, pursues him.
It turns out in the end POORSTACY always had a choice not to be corrupted. It’s a vicious, but true condemnation of the entertainment industry and everyone involved.
Interestingly, we then see POORSTACY get into Travis Barker’s car to drive away and watch as Demented Mickey looks on. We hear a car crash and the screen goes black. Is POORSTACY and Travis Barker dead? No.
It’s a rebirth.
We see the same scene from the beginning of the music video. POORSTACY gets up from the ground, his resolve strong even though he’s aware he’ll always have to fight the temptations of Hollyweird as a musician.
It’s a clever music video that fuses a lot of elements from the entertainment industry to criticize the industry, but I want to end on its spiritual significance.
You don’t accidentally become evil or satanic. It’s a conscious choice. Yes, you may be tempted and even taken advantage of, but you must reject that temptation, advocate for yourself, and do the right thing even when it’s hard. And it will be hard.
The point of the music video is that Hollyweird isn’t evil because of its style, but because of its infectious and morally corrupt mindset. POORSTACY can dress and sing in whatever style he wants because it’s what’s inside that counts.
I think that’s something a lot of people who criticize the entertainment industry forget. They focus on weird or dramatic aesthetics instead of analyzing the intentions and actions of celebrities instead. This is true of all famous people. Someone can look good, but be evil inside.
And when you don’t see past the glitz and glamour you’re shown, you’ll be taken in by Hollyweird too.