Interview with Robert Schober – It took us 28 days to finish Metallica’s All Nightmare Long video!

19/03/2021 Video Interviews Share

Minions! Get ready for exclusive content! We were honored to interview Mr. Robert Schober, the video director who is best known for working with bands like Metallica, Mastodon, Ghost, Disturbed, Alice in Chains, My Chemical Romance, Green Day  and many others. He also did some video effects for the horror movie The Ring Two. The interview we did with him is 1-hour-42-minutes-long (the longest  so far!) so get yourself some popcorn and dive into our conversation! We were honored to get exclusive, never-before-seen footage from the Metallica video! Robert Schober sent us 25 pictures of zombie models made by the game designer Andy Niesbet. You can see all of them in the footer of the article!

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He mentioned that he did an animated music video for Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) and Tony Joe White’s song called Boot Money . He also told a story about how he became a video director and ended up making music videos. Robert got in touch with Metallica while working on Mastodon’s Sleeping Giants and Divinations videos through Warner Brothers who liked his work. At the time, Robert Schober wanted to do a half-animated, half-live action video inspired by H.G. Wells' book War of the Worlds with a documentary vibe. He mentioned that that video was set in the World War I era with steampunk elements (“steam-powered robots, trench warfare against Martians” etc). That video (pre-Metallica’s All Nightmare Long) was supposed to be made for Mars Volta. Due to the death of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez' mother and the band’s hiatus, Warner Brothers pitched the video for Metallica. Robert metioned that the video was originally supposed to be  "World War 1 alternative history, sort of fake documentary for the Mars Volta“. He said that the robots at the end of the All  Nightmare Long video were made by himself (previously made for Mars Volta video). The "creature" in the video was designed by Dylan Jutt. Rob said that the X-ray of the creature was made by photoshopping images of "crabs or insects". The backrounds were done by William Weilend. Roboshobo said that the video was finished for "27 or 28 days".

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Robert Schober also said that Metallica’s manager Piter Mensch wanted the video to be Cold War-oriented or something "with zombies or Russians and the Americans". After that, Rob brought the Tunguska event to the picture. He also explained the concept of the video itself, saying that after Tunguska, the Soviets find spores and start using their "medical potential". But during the Cold War, "paranoid mutually assured destruction thing" the experiment with spores in the 70s wound up being used for "reanimating corpses in the middle of nowhere". He created the arc in the story that starts with a "utopian revolutionary period of an empire to like the height of the power and the paranoia that came with it and then sort of the aftermath of it". Robert Schober also said that in the epilogue, he added Arkansas chemtrails fallout news report and "reverse-engineered that into the story and made the idea that, like, chemtrails were actually, you know, something that existed because we were basically spraying as a defense against these zombie spores."

Robert also told us how the All Nightmare Long video was promoted via the New Kremlinology blogspot. He said that The Blair Witch Project, a horror movie that was labeled as true story via a fake website promoting purposes only. He added that the movie already mentioned was one of the first "found footage" movies and that he wanted to promote Metallica’s video in the same way. The dates on New Kremlinology blogspot were all made up "three, four or five years earlier" to give the blogspot more credibiltiy. The website itself was created by one of his friends with a goal to make the "found footage" story more appealing. Then, Kirk Hammett made a vlog about how he found some Soviet propaganda footage. The fake news story made by Robert was then promoted by Yahoo News.


Rob also said that the video was shot at an abandoned hospital in Boyle Heights. He mentions that it was his idea to use Experiments in the revival of organisms video as inspiration for the look of the video. He also stated that that video was Soviet propaganda "to  scare Americans into thinking that Soviets have figured out how to endlessly revive fallen soldiers in the battlefield by reattaching heads and limbs and things like that".


Regarding the idea behind the All Nightmare Long video he said:  "I thought it was interesting to have it span many decades in order to try to kind of tell a story about like how the idealism of a young empire eventually collapses on itself. Like sort of showing the repressed  neuroses or something like... Kind of a surreal psychoanalisis of how the mind of a government aparatus slowly unravels and becomes a shadow of itself." He then moves on to describe how the Soviets found the "footage" that explains how the USA abolished a parity of arms between the two of them with their nuclear weapons. Since the warfare became "radically unbalanced", the Soviets "came up with the idea to create this unseen biological pathogen  from the spores. Originally they wanted to use them for medical purposes, like to save people. And then the spores were then being appropriated to be used to turn people into zombies. In doing so, it allows them to play it off as a natural event that takes the Americans by the surprise." Robert Shober then explained that the idea by which the Soviets used baloons to attack USA with  biological weapons was actually based on a historical event – Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night when Imperial Japan in World War 2 attacked continental US with baloon bombs filled with biological weapons: "I think that kind of like being able to tap into some real anecdotes and allusions to technologies and strategies that both the US and USSR were toying around with over the 70-year period. It kinda makes for a perfect little horror film which is you know what I hope the video wound up being."


We asked Robert Schober whether the threat of nuclear war was real back in 2008. He replied: "I think that NATO has overreached its intended purpose and overstayed its welcome probably. I think the US is perhaps little to...I mean it definitely is too aggressive in its territorail disputes and dealings with the Russians. You know, I think it is crazy that the United States continually finds themselves on the brink of war with Russia over Estonia, Georgia or Ukraine". He then continued to talk about how the Georgian-Russian war in 2008 had an impact on him: "I do remember being very disturbed and upset for a week during that incident but how close it actually came to a real nuclear war, I have no idea." We then talked about the USA department of defense's plan to fight zombies (CONOP 8888) and then discussed the  Krasnoyarsk facility in which the All Nightmare Long video ends. (58 22)

After that, we asked him whether the All Nightmare Long sparked any controversy in Russia. "I was worried about, I mean you know obviously like the piece was meant to be like epic, very far-fetched, highly fictionalized science fiction horror thing but because I wanted it to be like a mocumentary or feel like it was something real. It had to be coutched in the story of the real actors, real players, and so it came down to the USSR and the United States. But yeah, I don’t know, I mean I hope…I’ve always hoped it wasn’t seen as being like Russophobic or anti-Russian or anti-Soviet…I don’t think that things are ever so black and white, good versus evil, that sort of thing but I mean, the video quite obviously goes quite over the top with like, having the Soviets doing like a zombie apocalypse but again… you know, The Soviets never did a zombie apocalypse but the Americans absolutely did a nuclear holocaust, which I think is unforgivable and terrible…The devastation spread with proxy wars in the 50s and 60s were unnecessary and out of line. 

Rober Schober also said that he used San Franciso in the video because of its location on the West Coast, where the spores would come from the weather baloon. The Golden Gate bridge and the fact that Metallica originally came from this city also contributed to it. We also asked him if the making of a full-lenght movie was a sound idea and Roboshobo agreed.

He then said that the Arkansas chemtrail news report from the end of the video was taken down due to the issue that all record labels including Warner Brothers had over ad revenue. He also added another reason which is that Warner Brothers got a cease and  dessist letter from that news station. "It disappointed me because again, I think that was kind of like a fun twist where like, because I had this real piece of audio because I retroactively worked parts of that news story into the overall story, like the idea that the United States discovered that if they aerosolized barium and sprayed it out of airplanes they could like, you know, kill the zombie spores with it, right? So the idea that like this local news crew in the United States comes across planes doing this and like try to make people paranoid about the idea that like well maybe chemtrails are actually you know, a preemptive defense against this like attack that you know, like the Soviets or the Russians are still contemplating doing to this day or just like some random terror group or something..." Rob mentioned that the video had like 8-9 million views when it was taken down. He recalled meeting the band, going to a dinner with them and getting a deluxe box set of Death Magnetic. Then, Schober mentioned that the two scientists in the video were wearing the same yellow hazmat suits from the 1995 movie Outbreak that Dustin Hoffmann and others were wearing. He also said that the abandoned hospital in Boyle Hights where the video was filmed was the exact same location where Disturbed’s Asylum video was recorded.

In the final part of the interview, Robert Schober talked about working with Ghost & Cirice and Rats videos. Cirice was recorded at the Philosophical Research Society, a small center run by Manly Hall (the author of The Secret Teachings of the Ages). The video was actually recorded in their auditorium. Then, Rob shared some details about his work with Alice in Chains. He was hired to make a movie about one of their albums, but that didn’t materialize.  So, make sure to check out those zombie photos and enjoy!

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