Writer(s) Manson, Ramirez, Gacy
|Format CD single|
Label Nothing Records
|Producer(s) Trent Reznor, Dave Ogilvie, Marilyn Manson, Sean Beavan|
"Antichrist Superstar" is a promotional-only single from Marilyn Manson's second studio album of the same name. The song itself is symbolic of the climax of the concept album's story, the point where the abused and wretched victim at the center of the tale takes on the identity of the nihilistic culture war iconoclast Antichrist Superstar, rampaging the world and destroying anything in his path. This image is conveyed by the song's triumphal and ominous tone; the guitar riffs are deliberately reminiscent of horns and trumpets in a totalitarian rally, in which Manson sings, and could be an allusion to how his critics see him as a threat to Christian morality and, therefore, the world.
In concert, Marilyn Manson usually sings the song atop a podium in a stage filled with banners embellished with the album's distinctive "lightning bolt/shock" symbol, much like the Nazi Nuremberg Rallies and sings the song with highly exaggerated body movements and postures meant to mock and parody dictators and televangelists.
Rover's Morning Glory uses this song's intro as the show's intro song and anthem.
The music video for the song, directed by E. Elias Merhige and co-directed by Manson, was filmed sometime during 1996, but remains officially unreleased. It was originally screened at the 1997 San Francisco Film Festival as part of a program titled "Newly Minted Memories". It won a Golden Gate Certificate of Merit in the "Music Video" category.
In 1996, Merhige was contacted by Manson to produce a music video for "Cryptorchid" the day after he saw Merhige's 1991 experimental horror film Begotten. Manson and Merhige met in Los Angeles, California, where they produced the video. Merhige then expressed interest in filming a video for "Antichrist Superstar", but wanted to use a bulk of footage outtake that he had already compiled. He shot excess material featuring Manson, then edited it together with the pre-existing scenes.
Merhige used military footage from different countries and different wars that depicted the fascist aspect of the song. However, Manson was not quite sure that it represented the criticism that the subject matter deserved. Ultimately, release of the video was vetoed by Interscope, who was appalled by the quality of the cinematography. The frontman, for his part, expressed interest in seeing its release someday, quipping: "that's not to say it won't be seen but I'm not sure if [Merhige] ever had a fair chance of finishing it because of the record company."
For over 14 years the film was shelved by Interscope. Despite this, on June 19, 2010, the music video was released in its entirety on YouTube. The leaked video is 5 minutes and 43 seconds in length although, according to the title card, its total run time is 5 minutes and 23 seconds. It was filmed by Merhige in black and white, incorporating footage from Begotten as well as the military warfare footage. Original scenes including Manson were also filmed where he is seen playing a demagogue in a business suit tearing pages out of a bible from the top of a podium similar to his live performance of the song. Henry S. Rosenthal of San Francisco-based film company Complex Corporation mentioned his involvement in the production of the video and he is credited in the film's intertitle. In mid-2011 the music video was put up for streaming on the band's official website.