Inspector Owl and the Bloody World of Underground Hungry Hungry Hippo Bouts
It's been awhile since my main dealer of great indie-rock music videos, Mick Cullen of Subterranean Radio, managed to connect. Either his wares were not quite to my taste, or they were and the bands never responded. This time, though, he sent me some local (for him) heroes in the form of Inspector Owl, and the result is just plain ridiculous fun.
I make no bones about my fondness for over-the-top violent storytelling in music-video form. I grew up on the censored stuff on MTV, and since the best music videos have been banished to YouTube, they pretty much have carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want. Inspector Owl's "Mousey" is no exception.
Directed by Ben Nissen of Haphazard Films, the video features the band as participants in an underground, high-stakes Hungry Hungry Hippo game. It's every Bond gambling scene you've ever watched, except that it's plucked down into an abandoned basement to give it that extra 8mm feel.
The band comes across as little more than action-movie stereotypes, but since it's clearly meant to be an Expendables-level parody of itself it works. Too much is too much, but way too much is just right.
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"Ben and I had worked the night before to get the location set for shooting, we hung lights, set the table, built a ghetto dolly, made sure we had all of the props ready, and made some delicious fake blood," says Corey Wills of Inspector Owl. "I think everyone of us has wanted to be in an action movie. We grew up with movies like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and Predator, and I know I personally have always wanted to ram a machete through someone's head while also shooting a gun."
And ram a machete through someone's head he does indeed. As foretold in the prophecy, the game quickly degenerates into a bloodbath when evidence of cheating becomes apparent. (Hiding extra little white balls up your sleeve, since you're probably asking.) Suddenly it's all karate, gun battles, and a final climatic scene where the game's organizer is tied to a chair and doused with gasoline.
This, by the by, was preceded by a simply astounding dream sequence from brought on when the organizer gets knocked unconscious in the melee. He awakens on a Lynchian black and white set where he dodges the heads of giant Hippos. It's a brief little thing, but it manages to add a whole new level to the art of "Mousey."
It's a farce of a vid, but an unbelievably fun farce that perfectly plays to Inspector Owl's catchy-ass little tune. But all cinematic deconstructionism aside, it still all comes down to Hungry Hungry Hippos.
"Although I fell in love with the idea instantly, I can't take credit for it," says Nissen. "We really wanted to juxtapose millennial-brand childhood nostalgia with mobster carnage."
"Pretty much we wanted to take something innocent and simple and escalate it to this climax with an absurd amount of carnage," adds Wills. Check out "Mousey" below.
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