British artist Chris Cunningham is known for his enigmatic short films and art installations which are fuelled by his uncompromisingly unique artistic vision. Over the course of his career, Cunningham has created several memorable music videos for a wide variety of artists, ranging from electronic musicians such as Autechre and Squarepusher to the iconic Björk.
However, Cunningham’s greatest contribution to the world of music videos remains his 1997 creation for the Aphex Twin song Come to Daddy. Filmed inside the same council estate as Stanley Kubrick’s seminal masterpiece A Clockwork Orange, Cunningham’s music video presents disturbing glimpses of an urban dystopia that is run by tiny delinquents.
Cunningham certainly borrows a lot from Kubrick’s investigations in A Clockwork Orange and elevates them to the world of nightmares, featuring a group of anarchic children who wear the grinning faces of the Aphex Twin musician Richard D. James. Kubrick had previously collaborated with Cunningham for the visual effects of A.I. Artificial Intelligence but Cunningham eventually quit.
In an interview, James revealed that the entire idea for the song started out as a joke: “Come To Daddy came about while I was just hanging around my house, getting pissed and doing this crappy death metal jingle. Then it got marketed and a video was made, and this little idea that I had, which was a joke, turned into something huge. It wasn’t right at all.”
Cunningham agreed: “After Come to Daddy I was offered virtually everything you can imagine, the majority of which was very dark, similar types of things as Come to Daddy. Doing the Madonna video seemed like something significantly different. I always want to try to explore other aspects of my interests. Come to Daddy was more about having a laugh.”
Watch Chris Cunningham’s director’s cut for the terrifying 1997 music video for the Aphex Twin song Come to Daddy below.