James Herbert (director)

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James Herbert (born 1938) is an American painter and filmmaker known for directing a series of music videos for the band R.E.M.. He has also made over forty short films, including John Five (1992) and Jumbo Aqua (2001), and directed four independent features: Scars (1997), Speedy Boys (1998), Rabbit Pix (2005) and Abandoned House (2007). Some of his short films have been collected on the video compilation Figures (1990).[1]

Herbert was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He studied with the abstract expressionist painter Clyfford Still and the experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. Herbert was R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe's art professor when he studied at the University of Georgia. Stipe greatly admired Herbert's films, and in addition to having him helm R.E.M.'s earliest music videos, he later cited Herbert as a significant influence on him individually and artistically.[2]

Music video filmography[edit]

  • "Wolves, Lower" (live), R.E.M. (1982)
  • "Carnival", Limbo District (1983; 12-minute film featuring four songs: "Those Devil Eyes", "A la maison", "Rhythm Forward", and "Daydreaming")[3][4]
  • Left of Reckoning, R.E.M. (1984; 20-minute short film)
  • "Pretty Persuasion", R.E.M. (1984; segment from Left of Reckoning, excerpted as a standalone promo for play on MTV and music programs)
  • "Green Grow the Rushes", R.E.M. (1985)
  • "Driver 8", R.E.M. (1985; co-directed with Michael Stipe)
  • "Life and How to Live It", R.E.M. (1985; editor(ial advisor) Jackie Slayton is often credited as co-director)
  • "Feeling Gravity's Pull", R.E.M. (1985; editor(ial advisor) Jackie Slayton is often credited as co-director)
  • "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)", R.E.M. (1987)
  • "The First Fish to Walk on Land", dance film collaboration with Elle Udaykee Trapkin and music by Allen Welty-Green (1988)
  • "Turn You Inside-Out", R.E.M. (1989)
  • "Low", R.E.M. (1991)
  • "Revolution Earth", The B-52's (1991)
  • "Fish and Boots" (1995; interstitial footage between music videos on R.E.M.'s video compilation Parallel, excerpted from R.E.M. 1995 tour films)
  • "All the Best", R.E.M. (2011)


  1. ^ "Figures (1990)". AllMovie. Retrieved 2012-09-22.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Title unknown". Archived from the original on December 16, 2008.
  3. ^ Limbo District; Herbert, James. Carnival. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
  4. ^ "Title unknown".[dead link]


  • James Herbert: "Stills" Santa Fe, NM: Twin Palms, 1992. ISBN 0-944092-19-5
  • "Body Language" (interview conducted by Stephen Gallagher) in: "Filmmaker" (February 1999), pp. 59, 109

External links[edit]