The Queen of Pop once ranked “Justify My Love” the best video from her own sprawling catalog — and while we don’t completely agree (see below), it’s impossible not to consider this erotic slice of voyeurism. Within, director Jean-Baptiste Mondino wanders through the halls and bedrooms of a very accommodating hotel, documenting snippets of sexual encounters heavy on the BDSM. MTV banned the clip, which only gave the singer a publicity boost. Not that she needed it. – R.R.
Madonna made high art out of sacrilege with her notorious “Like a Prayer” video, a molotov cocktail of melodrama, racial commentary and religious symbolism. Director Mary Lambert would release a film version of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary a month later — but for both cola brands and conservative Christians, this was the true horror project. The rapidly edited scenes — including stigmata, bleeding eyes and the spiritual laying of hands — smashed taboos with madcap zest. “I wanted to speak about ecstasy and to show the relationship between sexual and religious ecstasy,” Lambert told Rolling Stone. “I think that subconsciously a lot of people understood this and were either enthralled or outraged by it.” Maybe even both. – R.R.