I’m Going Slightly Mad by Queen is a gothic rock ballad with a very original black and white music video, with outrageous outlines. The video was shot in 1991 by Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher of DoRo Productions, directors of other Queen videos too.
I’m Going Slightly Mad by Queen: Freddie is no longer a human being
Freddie Mercury is dressed and made up in Johnny Depp style in Tim Burton’s film “Edward Scissorhands”. Tousled hair, a little long, face bleached, elegant retro clothing.
It reminds us of Count Dracula, especially in the scene where he is lying in a field of white daffodils and stands up suddenly.
At the beginning of the video, he is sitting on a chair that rotates counterclockwise. In another scene we see him with a bunch of bananas on his head.
Let’s try to give meaning to these scenes. We are in the final stages of Freddie Mercury’s disease. He is no longer a human being. He feels like he’s some kind of artificial puppet like Edward Scissorhands. But he also feels an already dead creature that continues to exist, like Count Dracula.
He is aware that his existence will be short and illness brings him to the brink of madness. The chair that rotates counterclockwise represents the desire to go back and also the madness that induces him to estrange himself from reality.
What does the giant screw upside down represent?
The giant screw upside down can be interpreted in two ways. It can be metaphorically understood as a “screw” of the brain, that is, a missing piece that causes insanity. Or it is a kind of crackdown, that is the existence that is getting shorter, which is coming to an end.
The fate of Freddie Mercury depicted by strange characters and animals
In the video for “I’m Going Slightly Mad” Bassist John Deacon wears a jester hat, plays with a spinning top and turns around the giant screw and then meets with Freddie Mercury. Deacon represents the mocking destiny, which plays with the life of Freddie Mercury and made him a bad joke.
Drummer Roger Taylor wears a smoking teapot on his head. It is Freddie Mercury’s brain that is boiling and about to burst. In a later scene, he turns around himself with an antique three-wheeled bicycle. In another scene he is wrapped in bandages like a mummy.
Brian May dressed as a penguin talks to real penguins. The video also features a character dressed as a black orangutan.
All these senseless scenes depict the mind of Freddie Mercury in the grip of strange and bizarre thoughts caused by the disease but also by the awareness of his unstoppable end.
Freddie Mercury is reborn?
In one of the central scenes of the video, Freddie Mercury approaches his companions sitting on a sofa, but they move and he can not reach them. This represents the end of his life, the world that is continuing to move on and he will no longer be able to live.
In the final part we see colors: it is a cape of blue and red feathers. It could metaphorically represent the tail of the phoenix, the animal symbol of rebirth. According to mythology, in fact, the phoenix is able to come back to life from its own ashes. Maybe Freddie will be reborn?
The video “I’m Going Slightly Mad” ends with Deacon climbing stairs that disappear beneath his feet. He too disappears and only his colorful jester hat remains.