Written by Anthony Trevino
Anyone that knows me well can attest to this fact: If I see a sign that reads KEEP OUT or if someone says, “DON’T GO IN THERE,” chances are I’m going in there with a flashlight and a crowbar. Because there’s still an angry adolescent in me that refuses to be told what to do and I enjoy feeling as if I’ve been exposed to some kind of hidden, off beat treasure, which is why my love-hate relationship with the internet could best be summed up as a Trouble Every Day kind of affair.
Now, granted I haven’t been spelunking in an abandoned house or lurked around the perimeter of a boarded up hotel in a while. However, I have been known to sink hours into following bizarre threads on Reddit and YouTube wherein I find myself shaking my head and saying, “I wish I hadn’t clicked on that.”
It was during one of these time-sinks that I came across Shaye Saint John’s video “Skin Tape.” Now, I should have known better, but what was I going to do? Not watch it? Pfffft. The video opens like an 80s workout tape with text that reads: Modeling Session: Skin Tape. From there I was thrust into two minutes and forty nine seconds of some of the oddest scenes my brain has ever been exposed to.
I was thrilled. I was terrified. And I watched it again…and again.
The video has the just the right amount of absurdity, comedy, and horror. The production value is pretty much zero and its shot on what I can only assume is a low-definition video camera, which adds to the dirty imagery that plays out on the screen. I was beside myself with uncomfortable joy, and yet, I felt like there was more to what was happening, like I wasn’t’ quite getting the full picture.
So, I went on a mission to find more intel on this individual made up of disparate mannequin parts. See, Shaye used to be a knockout super model that was disfigured in a horrific accident. Following her recovery she created a series of bizarre videos that would lead her to be an underground sensation.
Knowing about Shaye’s accident put the Skin Tape video in a different perspective. It became less about strange visuals and more about the character trying to cope with the loss of who she used to be. Shaye continues to repeat the same lines over and over. “Skin Tape”—which is just duct tape—and “It’s part of my condition,” along with shots of her rolling around a mountain of empty soda bottles that she refers to as a “Baby Bottle Ball Bath.”
There’s a lot of repetition in the video, as if to display the constant loop that Shaye’s psychosis is stuck in. The skin tape becomes new skin. The condition is her disfigurement. And to be honest, I don’t know what the fuck the Baby Bottle Ball Bath is, but I’ll never forget seeing that face leering at me for the first time from a top the pile of bottles.
And now….neither will you.
*The character of Shaye Saint John was created by Eric Fournier. Unfortunately, Fouriner passed away in 2010 thus ending the saga of Shaye, but leaving a legacy of hilarious terror behind.