West of Her Spine

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Title: West of Her Spine
Creator: Sweetestdrain
Date: 2007
Fandom: Dexter
URL: Streaming version linked here
handmade credits from the beginning of the vid

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West of Her Spine is a Dexter vid by the sweetestdrain. It premiered at the 2007 Vividcon vid show. The vid pairs what seems to be a romantic song with graphic imagery of a serial killer stalking and murdering women pulled from the TV show Dexter. While 'West of Her Spine' does offer a title card (or credits), it only shows the name of the song and the artist along with the vidder's name and no fandom information is given nor does the title card offer any indication that the vid contains violent subject matter.

The vid provoked significant commentary and debate both during and after the convention. While the majority of the debate focused on Warnings (or the lack of warnings), some fans used the vid as an example of the need for more thematic credits at the beginning of vids to help prepare the audience. Some of the commentary can be found here.

Vidder's Notes

In 2009, the vidder wrote extensive notes on the making of her vid and posted it as part of the Vid commentary LJ community. It can be read here. (WebCite).

Feedback and reviews

In 2009, the vid was the subject of Joyo/braver_creature's commentary as part of the Vid commentary LJ community. It can be read here. (WebCite).

Other reactions:


"Chock full of Deb, Dexter and Brian goodness. This vid was so...I guess beautiful's the only word, even though, hey, serial killers and brutality. (Uh, yes, that is my version of a warning, so if you haven't seen the show, think about this one.) *coughing* Someone said this in comments, and she totally nailed my reaction as well: What I really liked about this was the structure -- you begin with what's fake (Rudy/Deb) and the song choice is juxtaposed against that, but then you circle around to what is sincere (Brian and his real connection to Dexter, even if it's all effed-up), at which point the song choice becomes quite tender. I've always loved this song, and now this vid is always going to be the association I have with it."[1]


"And West of Her Spine, which is probably the most problematic of the three. I knew about the vid coming in, and I love how creepy it is and how it nicely gets the viewer expecting one thing and then skewers the expectations. I also like it as a commentary on creepy love. On the other hand... the only reason it's in F/M instead of M is because of how much screen time the women get. Unfortunately, most of that screen time is on the women as objects of desire or as literal objects, chopped up, stuffed in refrigerators, tied into parcels. This bit is creepy, but intentionally so, so while the images bug the heck out of me, the vid doesn't at this point. What does bug me is that a vid that initially comments on violence against women and women's bodies and literally making women into inanimate objects ends up focusing on the relationship between two men. And that's the part that I don't think is intentionally creepy, so it disturbs me much more." Gender and race!. ([http://www.webcitation.org/5xgcWUoqe WebCite).


I loved this vid; it's Brian's arc through and through, in all its creepy fixation. I like how sweetestdrain mirrored what the show did, making him seem innocuous at first and only eventually showing the monster within, and then after that moving on to the connection with Dexter, who is the closest thing to a soft spot Brian's capable of; she set the vid up in almost perfect thirds, in a pacing that worked really well for me. This gets everything about Brian: how good he is at passing for normal; how *utterly* fucked up he is; how very much he wants to connect with Dexter. The whole vid is a twisted love story, just as it should be.Fabulous work."[2]

External Resources

  • The vid was used by Jack Harrison in his "Critiquing the Lyrics, Critiquing the Music: Inverting the Critical Work of Fanvids" in 2010.[3]