In June 2018 Selena Gomez’s pal Petra Collins used Instagram’s IGTV feature – which works as a video platform – to share short clips of the star naked in a bathtub. Yet these posts were nothing like the kind of sexy bath time photos Christina Aguilera shocked her fans with back in February. Instead, the videos were creepy and unsettling.
In one scene, for instance, the “Come & Get It” singer is holding what appears to be the skin of a disembodied face. Sat in a pool of murky green water, Gomez soon wears the face like a mask, staring into the lens of the camera with an intimidating expression. The video then cuts to what looks like a headless naked torso on an armchair in the next room.
In another shot, the 26-year-old leans in towards the strange face and sings to it in an eerie way. Later, too, the face is positioned on her back before it slides off and slips into the water. The only other sound that Gomez’s followers can hear are the echo of the bathroom and a dripping tap.
Weird, no? Does anybody else remember the doe-eyed Disney star who was the lead character in Wizards of Waverly Place?! Well, that girl appears to be long gone now. But brace yourselves: there’s more.
In another part of the video, an adorable dog and a sweet swimming turtle – perhaps the epitome of cute Instagram – appears. Aww, lovely, right? WRONG. Because this footage is intercut with glimpses of Gomez stroking a skinned torso, having a nibble on an amputated finger, and rolling an eyeball around in her mouth.
It’s also probably worth mentioning that in another video the actress is surrounded by birthday cakes and shaving her own legs using a giant butcher’s knife. (Personally, we’re glad we missed out on that party invite.) So the videos are unsettling to say the least. In fact, they look like they’ve come straight out of a horror film.
Unsurprisingly, then, Gomez’s fans took to social media to express their concern. While some claimed that the videos were “disgusting,” others complained that they were “too creepy.” One follower wrote, “We want our Selena back.” A few viewers even worried about Gomez’s health, begging her to “overcome the demons she is battling.”
What demons could they have been referring to? Well, in 2016 Gomez revealed that she has lupus, a disease that causes the immune system to stop functioning properly. Panic attacks and depression are potential side-effects of this condition, too. Yet the singer doesn’t shy away from talking about her mental health. In a conversation with Harper’s Bazaar in February 2018, for example, Gomez said she was trying to focus on self-care.
“Anyone who knows me knows I will always start with my health and my well-being,” Gomez said. “I’ve had a lot of issues with depression and anxiety, and I’ve been very vocal about it, but it’s not something I feel I’ll ever overcome. I think it’s a battle I’m gonna have to face for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that because I know that I’m choosing myself over anything else.”
But not all viewers were horrified or concerned by the Instagram footage. Some actually described it as having a Game of Thrones vibe, while others begged for a full version of the video, calling it “creepy” but “cool at the same time.” One fan simply commented that it was “perfect.”
We can breathe a sigh of relief, though, as clearly this footage is not from a documentary. The scenes were in fact teasers from Gomez’s latest collaboration with her bestie/artist/all-round cool chick Petra Collins. Previously, Collins directed the music video for Gomez’s single “Fetish,” and she’s also photographed the likes of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Frank Ocean.
Collins is no stranger to insta-controversy, either; she once had her Instagram account suspended after posting a revealing photo of herself. And since Gomez released these creepy clips, Collins has published some of her own photographs from the film. These pics were edited to look like Polaroids and seemingly have little to do with mental health or depression. Instead, they’re about art.
The photographer’s pal Moni Haworth, whose Instagram is full of bleak, evocative shots of attractive women, also posted two of her own spine-tingling images from the shoot. These included a pic of Gomez with translucent white eyes looking like one of the twins from The Shining.
The pictures and clips are all elements that make up a short film – the first of three from Collins – titled A Love Story. By the way, some fans are convinced that the face/mask thing represents Gomez’s on-and-off boyfriend, Justin Bieber. The pair have dated and broke up at least twice in the past seven years, after all, so this could be some kind of message.
In any case, the second film in the series is titled Cake, and the third is called Turtle. They not only feature cannibalistic behaviour, but also Gomez cuddled up to a woman who has fingers for a face. Yes, you read that right: Fingers. For. A. Face. Sat in a chair, she smooths Gomez’s hair as she kneels at her feet. Gomez wears a huge smile on her face throughout.
This is not the first collaboration between Gomez and Collins, mind. They actually initially encountered each other in 2015 during an interview the singer conducted with Wonderland magazine. Then two years later, the photographer directed the video for Gomez’s “Fetish” single. In it, Gomez writhes around in a kitchen that’s covered with shattered dishes and pouring rain.
In summer 2017 Gomez and Collins also did a joint interview for Dazed. “We were both kind of like awkward and timid in the beginning,” Gomez said. “People don’t know, but my personal life ties into the work we do together. Because you know things about my life that nobody knows, and I know a lot about your life that nobody knows. It comes out, somehow.”
Gomez went on to gush about how much she adores the unapologetic artist, too. “You make me feel more confident about the choices I make, like a sister,” Gomez said. “You help me, you encourage me and validate how I feel in that moment. I wouldn’t have been able to grow into the artist I am right now without you. It’s like this fire-and-water duality thing going on.”
However, early in 2018 their relationship seemed to take a turbulent turn when Gomez unfollowed Collins, as well as a bunch of other celebrities, on Instagram. This was before the release of the creepy footage, though, so perhaps it was all part of the artistic process.
For now, it remains unclear whether the horror movies will be released as longer films or whether this was just the pair having some fun. Regardless, we’ll be hiding over here behind a pillow in the meantime. Just let us know when it’s all over…