Unexplained Campfires: Duran Duran – “Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran Hungry Like The Wolf

We start off with various people doing boring things in some vague city that is not in the Western Hemisphere. If I paid more attention to the news, I would probably know where this is, but I don’t. (This is just one of the many ways in which I have failed society.) Anyway, the city streets are crowded, there is poverty, and lots of folks have an affinity for sandals.

Next thing you know, two of the members of Duran Duran (the Cute Short Guy and one of the drag queens) suddenly run across a street and are nearly killed by angry people on Mopeds. But they manage to survive, and they are joined by the other drag queen band member. What’s going on? Are they running late for their concert? Did a shipment of hair gel just arrive at the port? Can they people possibly look more flamboyant and out of place?

Cut to a café of some kind, where a small person with interesting headwear is sitting on one of the tables and trying to coax a snake out of basket. I hope the waiter doesn’t sit us in that section. Or that section over there where it appears that an actual cow is waiting for her stuffed-shrimp appetizer. Oh, look, there’s Simon LeBon at one of the tables, looking about 12 years old, drinking a beer, singing, and staring at a rude man who is doing something with a monkey.

Simon takes off his glasses, which is a cue for the camera man to zoom in on an asexual necklace that Simon is wearing. Before we can ask Simon what’s up with the odd jewelry, he suddenly flips his table over in some fit of dissatisfaction. I guess the service must be really bad at this establishment, which is not surprising, considering the presence of livestock and all. Simon then dashes to a nearby farmers market, perhaps intent on making his own food, or maybe he just likes to ogle local produce while using a fake screen name.

We have a quick shot showing that other band members have somehow commandeered a rickety jeep, which means there is probably an unhappy native sitting by the side of the road somewhere, cursing British pop stars in a language that we don’t understand. We zip back to Simon, still at the market, and I think he’s drunk, mainly because people who are sober wouldn’t look like he does at that moment. This is followed by a montage of more band members running through the crowded streets, one of them wearing a potentially-offensive headband. We also have a brief glimpse of a woman with startling lipstick who is apparently very tired and falls to the ground. No one rushes to assist her, so the assumption must be that she does this all the time and people are sick of her games.

Meaningless shot of a bushel of corn.

Simon, now in another part of town for no reason, encounters oxen or some such pulling a wagon. He stares at them quizzically, not sure if he’s found the rest of his band or should keep looking. After careful study, he decides it’s not them, so he and his fedora run somewhere else. (Why is everybody so agitated and restless? Do they still use lead paint around here?) We get another brief glimpse of Lipstick Woman, only now she’s tromping about in a forest with some type of gang-markings on her face. (Is she stalking the writer who turned in the “script” for this video?) Then we have a transition shot, with special effects that make it very clear this video is 30 years old.

Now we have Simon straddling a canoe on a river, trying to be cool and squat like the natives but really looking like he’s got a body part caught in something. He’s making some other guy do all the paddling, which isn’t really fair, but maybe Simon has a clause about manual labor in his contract. (“I get top billing, I get the dressing room with the Jacuzzi and scantily-clad assistants, and I don’t participate in my own transportation.”) We spy another face-painted person peering out of the jungle, but we don’t know them so we don’t care.

Back in the city, two of the band members accost a small boy and torment him with a photo of Simon LeBon. (“Have you seen our moneymaker?”) The boy shakes his head in terror, not being fond of white people with odd names, especially now that word has gotten out about the foreigner in the farmers market with sketchy credentials and a fondness for dewy freshness.

Cue another crappy transition scene.

Next we have Simon crossing a rope bridge that’s practically falling apart, so you fully expect him to fall through and he does. Plop! Simon’s Descent triggers another scene, with yet another small boy rolling a big tire in front of a gas station, carefully avoiding unexplained campfires in the roadway as he does so. Then we have jump-cuts of a non-drag queen band member doing who knows what, girls walking in short skirts and presumably giggling about pointless things and/or the ineptitude of their parents, and a close-up of Rush Limbaugh. Oh wait, that was just an elephant at the end there.

The camera pans to the right of the elephant, and there’s Simon, standing in the middle of the river and bellowing the lyrics. (I often do this after having nearly plunged to my death. I burst into song. Don’t you?) He tries to do some kind of shimmy dance move, which is totally inappropriate and unsuccessful, then he makes a seductive face, turns toward the elephant, leers provocatively, and then heads that way. What the hell? Does Simon need some Dumbo lovin’?

Then we veer off into a sub-story involving the band member wearing the offensive headband. (You may not remember him from the opening scenes of this review. I certainly didn’t expect him to get a spin-off.) Apparently Headband Guy has totally enraptured some woman just by pretending to be an extra in a Karate Kid movie. I still don’t know what country we’re in, but it seems that such imagery is all it takes to woo the maidens who have managed to escape pre-birth marriage arrangements and/or didn’t hitch a ride on the first mail truck going to a bigger city.

Headband and Available-Etta immediately clutch each other in a sensual embrace while mystified street people look on. (I’ll just assume that “wax on, wax off” was one of the many sweet nothings the lovers whispered to one another as their love-fire burned brightly.) But then the scene ends and we never see them together again, so I’m guessing the spin-off was cancelled after the first episode.

Back to Simon, who is wallowing about in that damn river, all alone. (I guess things didn’t work out with the elephant. Hopefully they can remain friends.) We have a short scene with the Lipstick Jungle Woman grabbing the Cute Short Guy band member, and then kissing him, which causes her to briefly transition into a lion. (No one really expects that to happen on a first date, so I’m sure Cute Guy has a bit of regret about accepting her friend request on social media.) Why all these images of horniness and animals? Is it the heat, the lack of a dependable wi-fi signal, or all that lead-based paint?

Simon’s still in the river. He manages to frighten some boy on the shore, who then runs away in terror while dead trees sway in the background. Oh wait, he’s running to Simon, who has been magically transported to a convenient pile of rocks via some very questionable editing. Simon is very thirsty, despite having been swimming in water for most of the video, and the little urchin soothes Simon’s parched throat by squeezing liquid out of a dirty rag. We don’t know where that rag has been, and Simon could possibly die, but at least he’s not in the river any more.

Oh wait, I lied. Simon’s back in the water, doing a slo-mo Swimsuit Model maneuver, rising out of the river all drippy and such. This causes the conveniently-nearby Lipstick Jungle Woman to arch her back seductively and then start running through the trees. It’s not clear if she’s about to eviscerate a wild boar or she just remembered she has an appointment with her therapist.

Culture Club makes a brief cameo. No explanation given.

Then we’re back in the jungle, where Simon has also been to one of those street fairs where they do face-painting and everyone pretends that there are not more important things to be doing in life. Simon and Lipstick Woman appear to be stalking each other, now that they have artwork in common. They finally meet up in a convenient clearing and howl at each other, which automatically counts as a first date in some countries, then Lipstick Woman gets all moody and aggressively attacks Simon’s neck, thus living out the fantasy of every teenage girl in 1983.

Then, in a move that surprises absolutely no one in the burgeoning world of MTV where “over the top” is the new black, Simon and Lipstick start making angry, beasty love on the jungle floor. Clothes are torn, leaves are trampled, and we have an unwelcome close-up of Lipstick’s derriere as she crouches in animal lust, fully prepared to be mounted and stuffed. While they bang a gong, we have minimalist story-progressing shots of all the band members not named Simon finally getting together at that nasty café with the snakes and the bad service and the cattle.

As the song and the mating winds down, Simon manages to pull up his soggy pants and make his way to Café de Botulism, and the band members all gather around Simon as he apparently relates his adventures of the aggressive woman who did more than just throw her panties on stage. They all nod knowingly, being pop stars and used to having jungle sex every time they turn around. Meanwhile, the obviously poorly-paid extras in the background stare directly at the camera, deer in the headlights, and they don’t even pretend to be eating, adding even further polish to this fine piece of cinema…

Fade out.

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 07/11/10, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

5 comments

  1. Excellent post. I remember seeing them on TV and thinking wow, what an amazing band and what really cool music videos they had. Not to mention that the guys were pretty hot as well. now that i looked at the video again, I question my childhood crush

    Liked by 1 person

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