The XX Factor

Katy Perry’s H&M Christmas Video is a Nausea-Inducing Pile of Creepy

The creepshow is just beginning.


If your Thanksgiving turkey comes laced with magic-mushroom stuffing this Thursday, your post-feast visions won’t be half as grotesque as Katy Perry’s holiday H&M commercial. The two-minute video features Perry dancing around with jazz hands and wide eyes like an evil Rockette in a slew of sparkly costumes, singing her new Christmas song, “Every Day is a Holiday.”


How creepy is this winter wonderland? Let me count the ways.

  • Perry kicks off the video with a line (“Welcome! Bienvenue!”) meant to evoke the opening number of Cabaret, as sung by the emcee of a sleazy nightclub witnessing the first breaths of the Nazi takeover in Weimar Germany.
  • Then, she’s surrounded by human-sized, unblinking gingerbread cookies with permanent bloodless grins iced across their gigantic faces.
  • Speaking of gigantic faces: nutcrackers. Glassy-eyed, wooden-jawed crackers of nuts every bit as menacing as the ones in that famous ballet.
  • Miley Cyrus’ stoned, brainwashed teddy bears stumble about in Christmas sweaters, ready to pass out on the Yule log and ruin the holiday for everyone.
  • About 35 seconds into the video, the deranged face of a giggling child-demon face fills the screen, making this a prime addition to the list of YouTube screamer videos you’ve been meaning to forward to your impressionable little cousins.
  • There are several creatures in this video that can only be the product of unholy intercourse between Ronald McDonald and a candy cane, or an Are You Afraid of the Dark? clown and an inflatable blowing man outside a car dealership.
  • The video’s second nutcracker invasion is even more ominous than the first—these wear mustachioed half-masks, leaving no doubt that they’re planning a night of violent, anonymous crime.
  • But I’m more concerned about the legions of reindeer in lederhosen and Marie Antoinettes in sparkly sweaters, who are forced to pull sleighs and cars against their will, like poor Iditarod dogs.
  • Santa was never meant to be seen topless, and it appears that he’s sedated his kittens to quell certain uprising.
  • The video wraps up with a “Happy & Merry” (H&M!) roar from a polar bear who’s been captured and isolated from its family, and who will certainly perish in our looming climate-changed future.

If you can survive all that doom and sinister gloom, you might get ill from all the quick cuts, characters spinning around in concentric circles, and a chorus that repeats over and over, louder and louder, higher and higher, like a broken music box. This fever-dream confection is best served on an empty stomach.