Viktor Longo, Brooklyn-based crooner extraordinaire, premieres a three-part music video series he dubs, The Playboy Hitman. These videos accompany three very emotional and dark songs that he premiered over the course of early 2020 – “Loneliness,” “Wanna Die” and his cover of “House of the Rising Sun.”
We start this journey with the video for “Loneliness,” – a compilation of seemingly still images that move ever so slightly. Haunting motifs of figures cast in shadows of heavy emotion are the focus of this video.
The video starts off with a close up shot of two hands holding a lit match and its matchbox. You’re staring intently at the image trying to figure out if anything is moving, straining your eyes as you get closer and closer to the screen. The slight flicker of the flame is transfixing. Then after a couple minutes the screen abruptly turns to black shaking you from the uncomfortable feeling, but only just for a moment as another image appears on screen. You can now see the the person behind the hands. A couple more minutes of staring and then black again.
This is loneliness – this roller coaster ride where you feel stuck in this cycle of long periods of uncomfortable emotion, occasionally jolted out of it and right when you start to feel ok, that maybe this time was the last time, it starts again. At the end of the video, Longo’s Playboy Hitman character fades into a dim spotlight during the part of the song where his vocals start to get the best of you. You stare at the Playboy Hitman, slumped in posture and weary as you unknowingly mimic him and can’t help but become overwhelmed with emotion.
As we enter the world of the “Wanna Die” music video, we pick up where the “Loneliness” video left off and seem to enter the inner most thoughts of the Playboy Hitman. You see his demons, insecurities, pain. The violent nature of his thoughts are depicted by fire, guns, blood, the devil and a dominatrix.
Though most of the visual aspect of this video is full of intensity, there are moments of calm and grace that appear throughout. One moment that got me particularly was the scene where the Playboy Hitman was twirling in a dark hallway lined with ornate frames. I like to think it’s a representation of him being able to feel his feelings fully and give into that emotion. Whereas the feeling of “Loneliness” is more paralyzing, “Wanna Die” has energy and the Playboy Hitman is not afraid to let it show.
The video for Longo’s cover of “House of the Rising Sun” rounds out this three-part series in a more unsettling way than it began. In the opening shot, the Playboy Hitman’s outfit and chosen weapon lie dormant on a chair as the camera pans to a burning candle. A dark figure playing the guitar lurks in the shadows.
At first, my optimistic side wants to say that this bright burning candle symbolizes the rise of a something good for the Playboy Hitman. It outshines the darkness and even causes it to disappear. But in the end, it feels like the darkness was just hiding behind this bright facade only to extinguish it in the end.
This series hits deep in the gut. The seamless transition from video to video is so well thought out and the attention to detail does not go unnoticed.
“There’s a fascinating, terrifying and dramatic real life story behind these videos,” Longo explains but declines to go into further detail. “Maybe one day I’ll tell that story [but] until then, I will let mystery have her cruel and delicious way.” Maybe one day we’ll learn more about the truth of the Playboy Hitman but for now let’s just soak ourselves in the darkness of these videos on repeat.
Article/Cover Image: Merissa Blitz