This Nine Inch Nails Video Was Shot at The Scene of an Infamous Murder

By Matt Novak on at

The 1992 Nine Inch Nails song Gave Up is fantastic. But if you're at all familiar with the official video for the song, you'll know that it's a bit fucked up. The video was filmed at 10050 Cielo Drive — the Los Angeles home where actress Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by members of the Manson Family in the summer of 1969.

Trent Reznor started renting the house in 1992 and supposedly called it "Pig", referencing the fact that the murderers wrote the word "pig" on the front door in Tate's blood. Reznor started recording The Downward Spiral there, until he met Sharon Tate's sister who confronted him about his exploitation of the Manson murders for macabre pop-culture profits.

Suddenly, the brutal deaths of the people in that house were no longer an abstraction. The murder of Tate and four other people at the residence weren't just a spooky piece of history from which he could mentally distance himself. They were real people who had been viciously stabbed, beaten and shot by maniacs whipped up into an evil frenzy.

Reznor explained his experience with the house in the March 6, 1997 issue of Rolling Stone magazine:

My awakening about all that stuff came from meeting Sharon Tate's sister. While I was working on Downward Spiral, I was living in the house where Sharon Tate was killed. Then one day I met her sister. It was a random thing, just a brief encounter. And she said: "Are you exploiting my sister's death by living in her house?" For the first time the whole thing kind of slapped me in the face. I said, "No, it's just sort of my own interest in American folklore. I'm in this place where a weird part of history occurred." I guess it never really struck me before, but it did then. She lost her sister from a senseless, ignorant situation that I don't want to support. When she was talking to me, I realized for the first time, "What if it was my sister?" I thought, "Fuck Charlie Manson." I don't want to be looked at as a guy who supports serial-killer bullshit.

I went home and cried that night. It made me see there's another side to things, you know? It's one thing to go around with your dick swinging in the wind, acting like it doesn't matter. But when you understand the repercussions that are felt ... that's what sobered me up: realizing that what balances out the appeal of the lawlessness and the lack of morality and that whole thing is the other end of it, the victims who don't deserve that.

As a fan of Reznor and his work, I'm glad he grew out of that romanticisation of serial killers. It is unnecessary bullshit. The house was demolished in 1994.

[YouTube]