When you listen to Enter Sandman by Metallica, you immediately think of a beautiful rock song that is decisive, energetic and not very romantic. But if you read the lyrics, it will seem something completely different: a lullaby!
And if you watch the music video, you’ll understand that it’s a lullaby… horror!
The protagonists of the video are a boy prey to nightmares and Sandman, the man of dreams.
Enter Sandman by Metallica and the horror lullaby
The music video immediately starts with the boy’s images while he sleeps: he is not doing good dreams.
In his various nightmares we see him drown, fall into the void, escape from a truck gone crazy who wants to invest him, wake up covered by snakes.
The image of Sandman is an old man, wrinkled, with very white skin, in a tank top and shorts. We see him in the foreground several times and then sitting behind the praying boy.
Who is Sandman?
Sandman is a figure from the Anglo-Saxon-Germanic tradition. He is the sand god, a deity who put the children to sleep, throwing a magical sand over their eyes.
In the Greek-Roman tradition we find similar divinities, such as Hypno, Oniro, Morfeo.
For ancient populations, sleep was one of the fundamental aspects of human existence, such as life and death.
Sleep was considered halfway between the two, because the man during sleep seems dead but he is actually living in another reality. The power of the divinity of sleep is enormous, because anything can happen in his kingdom (the Kingdom of Dreams).
According to the ancients, through dreams one could enter the world of deities and see the future.
Enter Sandman by Metallica: straight from a comics
In Metallica’s music video, Sandman is a dark, disturbing, solitary divinity, almost like a horror movie.
It is very close to the character of the comics “The Sandman” by Neil Gaiman (1989-1996). This story is about a sorcerer trying to get immortality by imprisoning Death. However, during a magical ritual, he mistakenly catches the brother of Death, the Dream (Sandman) and holds him captive.
After several years, the sorcerer dies and the task of watching the Dream passes to the sorcerer’s son, Alex. One day, however, the Dream manages to escape and decides to punish Alex, populating his nights of terrible nightmares.
Who’s behind Sandman’s mask?
The actor who plays the sandman in Metallica’s video is Robert Golden Armstrong Jr., an American actor and playwright, famous for his western movies.