Thu
Dec 11 2008 8:04am

A Very Short Cult Classic in the Making

A time of darkness
A time of light
The crusade begins

…and so does a new music video from Chris Dane Owens, for his song “Shine.” The song has a beat but is otherwise unremarkable (Do you feel like I do / When the years rain down on you / Don’t you know you’re my life / When you shine on me). It doesn’t suggest a fantasy setting, but the video goes there with a vengeance; it has the cheesy feel of Highlander flashbacks, a bright color palette, real horses, and fake dragons. Owens’ IMDB hits have gone up more than a thousand percent this week because of the video, so I think it’s time you saw it for yourself.

The blond guy with the Lucius Malfoy hair is Owens himself; let’s call his character “Vladimir” and his lady-love “Philomela.” After that decision is made, we have a few options:

1) Vladimir and Philomela ride through the countryside. If Vladimir is really in love with her, go to 2. If he is deceiving her, because people who wear black and have mustaches are evil, go to 3.

2) Vladimir reluctantly leaves her side to do battle with the sword-wielding, floating women in black. Go to 4.

3) Vladimir sneaks off with his magic sword to go meet with the women in black. Go to 4.

4) Left alone in the garden, Philomela must defend herself against the Man in the Mask! Vladimir arrives and saves her and they run off together. If you believe in God, go to 5. If not, go to 6.

5) As they flee, a band of angels approaches them. If Vladimir is a good guy, go to 7. If Vladimir is evil, go to 8.

6) As they flee, a band of benevolent spirits approaches them. If Vladimir is a good guy, go to 7. If Vladimir is evil, go to 8.

7) They tell Vladimir that he must trick the evil women in black into giving him a magic sword which will help him win the loyalty of a fierce gang of pirates. Vlad puts Philomela somewhere safe and goes to Evil HQ, a dragon-infested castle on a mountaintop. Go to 9.

8) Made wary by their sparkly white appearance, Vladimir makes his excuses to Philomela and makes a rendezvous with the women in black and the Masked Man. They give him a sword and tell him to join up with some pirates and win them over to evil. If Vlad truly loves Philomela, go to 9. If he is still a low-down dirty deceiver, go to 10.

9) Before joining with the pirates, Vladimir installs Philomela with the Virtuous Sisters of Blessed Mercy, where she will be safe from the evil schemes he is hatching in conjunction with the women in black. Little does he know that the Sisters also command a powerful magic, one that Philomela has a knack for. He’ll find that out later. If the pirates are a dastardly band of wicked cutthroats, go to 11. If they are a lovable and jolly crew of rogues, go to 12.

10) Sometime during their sleigh ride, Philomela is invited to stay with a powerful order of good sorceresses. They give her a glowy magical book. Vladimir cannot interfere without blowing his cover, so he says nothing and leaves her with a mind to return and finish her off later. He pays little mind to the tales of the sorceresses’ power. If, when he finds the pirates, they are a dastardly band of wicked cutthroats, go to 13. If they are a lovable and jolly crew of rogues, go to 14.

11) Vladimir’s love for Philomela, purity of spirit, and superior grooming win the pirates over and they follow him with utter devotion. Now he has a good group of fighters to back his play against the women in black and the mysterious Masked Man. Just for kicks, they blow up another ship. Meanwhile, back in the shiny forest with the magic ladies, Philomela practices her magic and pines for Vladimir. Go to 16.

12) Though he was anxious about winning over the pirates to his cause, Vlad finds that they are more than willing to have some direction in life other than drinking, plundering and singing charming sea shanties. Just for kicks, they blow up another ship, then settle down to business. Meanwhile, back in the shiny forest with the magic ladies, Philomela practices her magic and pines for Vladimir. Go to 16.

13) Vladimir finds the pirates just as cruel and black-hearted as he’d hoped. They will suit his evil plans well. With a yo ho ho and a bottle of rum, they blow up a ship just for the fun of it and sail off to do horrible things. Meanwhile, back in the forest, Philomela has an inkling of her love’s true loyalties, and begins to practice her magic in earnest to right his wrongs. Go to 15.

14) Vladimir is disgusted to find that the pirates are lily-livered excuses for sea-cucumbers, but they are easily convinced of their errors by a touch of the cat o’ nine tales. He forces them to blow up a ship to prove their loyalty, and he knows they will do anything for fear of him. Meanwhile, back in the forest, Philomela has an inkling of her love’s true loyalties, and begins to practice her magic in earnest to right his wrongs. Go 15.

15) But Vladimir is getting too powerful for the comfort of the women in black and their mysterious masked master. He will upset their delicate plans! They summon a storm to put him in his place—Davy Jones’ locker. Even his heroic rope-swing cannot save him, and Vlad is lost to the deep. This time you have no choice about God: go to 17.

16) The women in black discover where Vladimir has gone with their magic sword, and they are pissed. They summon powerful magic and cause a storm so violent that even Vladimir’s heroic rope-swinging cannot save him, and he is lost to the merciless waves. This time you have no choice about God: go to 18.

17) Confused, Vladimir walks through an archway of purest white marble. A beautiful and distinctly feminine hand reaches for his in the classic Michaelangelo, and suddenly he is so full of life that he has to rip his shirt off. The fire of the divine burns away his impurities and clears the blackness from his soul, and he sees that all along he acted out of fear and hate. Returned to life, he goes forth in love to seek Philomela. Go to 19.

18) Confused, Vladimir walks through an archway of purest white marble. A beautiful and distinctly feminine hand reaches for his in the classic Michaelangelo, and suddenly he is so full of life that he has to rip his shirt off. When he is returned to the world, he realizes that he must go seek Philomela. Go to 19.

19) The women in black make other plans as they float through a graveyard that can only afford one ghost. They blow stuff up and cause dragons, fire and pounding hooves, while more dragons E.T. the moon and the women change into their wetsuits. The Masked Man grabs Philomela, but Vladimir is distracted by the dragon chasing him off a cliff. If you like romance novels, go to 20. If you’d rather re-read The Feminine Mystique, go to 21.

20) Some of the pirates who survived the storm join up with Vladimir, convinced of the rightness of his cause—or the beauty of his lady. Austin Powers punches Mask Guy, then Vlad takes over and fights him on the bridge. A pirate throws a dagger at the women in wetsuits, which makes sense, and then someone throws a box into a fiery well, which doesn’t. Eventually, the good guys fight their way through to Philomela and rescue her. If you believe in fate, go to 22. If you prefer self-determinism, go to 23.

21) While Vladimir and the pirates wage senseless battle against the bad guys, Philomela uses her newfound magical powers to escape from the ice-fortress. If you believe in fate, go to 22. If you prefer self-determinism, go to 23.

22) Philomela returns to the forest and prays at the stone circle, where it is revealed to her that she is no lowly noblewoman, but the long-lost Lady of Silver Ice! Her sisters place the ancient tiara on her head and the scepter in her hand, and she takes her rightful place at the head of their order. This is what she’d always dreamed of…and yet… When Vladimir returns after much hardship, on the eve of the celebration of her coronation, she looks into his heart and finds her happiness there. If you like fireworks, go to 24. If they’re not quite your thing, go to 25.

23) Upon returning to the forest and its powerful standing stones, Philomela relates the tale of her escape to her sisters. It is clear to them that, through hard work and practice, she has achieved adept-status and is entitled to wear the order’s diadem and carry its symbolic scepter. This is what Philomela had always dreamed of…and yet… When Vladimir returns after much hardship, on the eve of the celebration of her induction into the order, she looks into his heart and finds her happiness there. If you like fireworks, go to 24

24) Fireworks! Huzzah!

25) Too bad, you get fireworks anyway! Huzzah!

I would write the traditional Choose-Your-Own-Adventure THE END here, but Owens has said on his YouTube page that he plans two more videos that continue the story of our brave (anti)hero and heroine. This...could get complicated.

All pictures capped from the music video on Chris's official site.

25 comments
Daniel Chamberlin
1. critter42
I think they just grabbed a ton of books from the "Fantasy Romance" section and filmed the covers...
R O T
2. rogerothornhill
You know, this really hearkens back to a certain group of mid-80s music videos, the ones E. Ann Kaplan once classified as "classical" and "romantic." Whether one likes it or not, as with those pieces, the visuals here almost make the song superfluous.
Jason Henninger
3. jasonhenninger
I want to say...something...but I think my vocabulary just fell out.
Pablo Defendini
4. pablodefendini
rogerothornhill wrote:
Whether one likes it or not, as with those pieces, the visuals here almost make the song superfluous.

Almost? I would posit that the song is completely and utterly superfluous, by design.
Megan Messinger
5. thumbelinablues
I think my vocabulary just fell out.
jasonhennniger @ 3 -- You could always go on an epic quest for it!
Kate Baker
6. Kate_Baker
I have to admit, you almost scared me off with that Xanadu-like image at the top of the post, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

I guess when you have a limitless budget, a big ego and a big ego,(Oh did I say that twice? Whoops!) anything is possible.

Anything.

Really....

Anything
Samantha Brandt
8. Talia
Someone stop this man before he strikes again.

*eyes bleed*
Jason Henninger
9. jasonhenninger
I just read that the guy is from Los Angeles. Here I had been certain he was from some Nordic town with a lot of Ks and Js and vowels touching. Kjueurkklesgjaard or something.

To think, this elven prince of tight whiteness lives in my area code...do I run away? Do I stay and applaud? I'm so confused.
Jason Henninger
11. jasonhenninger
@10

Excellent idea. I think I'd buy him a flaming vanilla rum and guava nectar, served in a unicorn's horn and stirred with the thighbone of a supermodel.
Aimee Stewart
12. Foxfires
I haven't been this twitterpated since seeing The Nelson Twins sing "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection back in 1990.
Zee Zee
13. Zee Zee
Inspiration or critical comment: "Nice video / Shame about the song" - Lufthansa Terminal from BBC's Not The Nine O'Clock News (1980's satirical comedy prog.)
Tara Chang
14. tlchang
Your 'choose your own' commentary made *way* more sense than the actual video. (Rather like an elaborated upon "Literal Video")
Zee Zee
15. ForteTwo
For those that remember "Not the Nine O'clock News"... "Nice video shame about the song". Oh! And when's the movie coming out?
- -
16. heresiarch
@ 1: I know! It's really impressive how almost any random still from that video would work fabulously (FABULOUSLY) as a slush fantasy cover.
R O T
17. rogerothornhill
@11: I'll have what he's having. In a dirty glass.
Ellise Heiskell
18. Zee
I am expecting him to have wings in the next one. I have a feeling I will not be disappointed.

I will admit, it made me nostalgic for those video epics of the 80's.

I nearly killed a friend when I showed her my new favorite thing. Cue up two youtube windows, one with Gunther's "You Touch My Tra-la-la (sound up), one with Mr. Owen's "Shine", (sound down)
Megan Messinger
19. thumbelinablues
Zee @ 18, you nearly killed *me.* But since you bring it up... The 0:17 of difference inspired me to try a couple ways to sync the video, and there are a couple of neat things if you start the Gunther 17 seconds into the Shine video (great Pearly Gates, shirt-ripping scene), but I think my favorite is when Gunther is 4 seconds ahead.
Torie Atkinson
20. Torie
@ 18

Oh Gunther, I had forgotten him! That video is truly amazing. I think this video here is a different genre though.
Ben Rubinstein
21. BenRubinstein
I'm sorry, Megan, that your brilliant piece was overshadowed by the amazingness of the video.

It's like The Darkness, but even more unironicly extraordinary.
Bridget McGovern
22. BMcGovern
Okay. For three days now, I have tried to think of something clever to say about this, and I still can't seem to get past my initial reaction of: What. The. Fuck?

And, Megan, you are a genius.

"A pirate throws a dagger at the women in wetsuits, which makes sense, and then someone throws a box into a fiery well, which doesn’t." Classic :)
Zee Zee
23. Connie H.
Thank you for decoding the story for me. And here I thought it was some sort of blank cutup poem of a video!
Zee Zee
24. Andrew Plotkin
I am delighted with the idea of a choose-your-own-adventure game in which the *events* are fixed, but you're choosing the storyline *anyway*. The WTF goes all the way down to the narrative structure.

(Hm. Evil idea for a text adventure there, although it might work better as an illustrated adventure.)
Cae McDonald
25. shnou
But where does the crocodile fit in?

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