The Life and Times of Shaye Saint John

Can’t stop watching Shaye Saint John videos on YouTube. I wanted to post a few that I thought were the best, but they all do what they do in more or less the same way and to an equal degree. You may as well just visit the Shaye Saint John YouTube channel, Elastic Spastic Plastic Fantastic. If you watch a lot of it, you’ll find some common themes including grotesquerie, trash, repetition, vanity, confusing allusions to nonsense concepts, and inhuman behavior. Each video features the character Shaye Saint John, a horribly disfigured woman who at one time may have been a performer of some kind or a movie star. She wears a manikin mask on her face and her arms and legs are made of wood. In many of the videos, Shaye speaks to doll with a burnt face whom she calls Kiki. The imagery of the videos drills into your brain and messes with your subconsciousness. Repeated phrases, non-linear progression, confusing signals, and the familiar yet unfamiliar parody of shallow female behavior all work together to create this very unnerving and uncanny presentation. Shaye videos are all, without exception, terrifying.

In the video above, Shaye Saint John is doing her thing in a haunted house for Halloween. It seems like it would be a good fit, because Shaye is monstrous and scary, but she’s almost too scary. What Shaye is seems to transcend the campy illusion of scariness that you get at most haunted houses. Yes, it’s just a person wearing a frightening mask, but it’s kind of apparent that the real person underneath the mask is also pretty frightening. I like how the little kids who encounter her are truly weirded out. She calls them trash and delicious brats and asks if they got scoliosis for Halloween. The one kid can’t even stick around long enough to collect his candy.

While researching into the origin of these videos, I was sad to learn that the creator, Fornier, passed away in 2010. I’m glad that the very perplexing and difficult work he left behind is still well-loved and widely distributed. There remains a beautiful html website, circa 2001, left over from when there used to be a Shaye store that sold t shirts and dvds. I don’t suppose it’s still active, but I’m glad someone cared enough to pay the hosting fees to leave the site up.

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