When Slayer releases the deluxe edition of its forthcoming album, World Painted Blood, on November 3, the package will include a 20-minute DVD entitled Playing with Dolls, a horrifyingly gruesome video-graphic novel directed by Metalocalypse director and Slayer fan Mark Brooks.
Inspired by the songs on World Painted Blood - in particular, Jeff Hanneman's "Playing with Dolls" from which the horror short takes its title - the film blends elements of animation and still-photography into a visual style similar to that of a graphic novel. The soundtrack for the Playing with Dolls short features clips from all 11 of the songs on World Painted Blood; in addition, the music bed for Episode #7 is taken from "Atrocity Vendor," a new song that is not on the album.
"It's not live action and it's not animated," Brooks explains. "It's a weird hybrid of the two, and I haven't seen a lot of things done this way."
No mere music video, Playing with Dolls is a stark, 12-part nightmare that breathes corrupt life into Slayer's latest syllabus of stalkers, psychopaths and serial killers, merging their aberrant psyches into the supremely focused desire of a single, merciless malcontent. A methodical distillation of one man's lethal frenzy, the film follows the gruesome outbursts of a nameless protagonist. He is not an indiscriminate murder junkie, but rather a highly creative snuff-artist with a deeply personal sense of purpose - a man for whom murder is the only conceivable way forward. With a black heart hardened by tragedy, he chooses his victims carefully. His methods are as grisly and varied as they are poetic.
View the Playing with Dolls trailer:
"It's a little weirder than your regular blood n' guts type thing," Brooks says of the storyline, "which I think is a reflection of Slayer's music."
But make no mistake: There will be blood, and plenty of it. As the real-life boyfriend of one of the film's "victims" told Brooks after a private screening, "I almost threw up while I watching that. And I think that's a compliment."