This post started out as a comment in the Hurra Torpedo thread, but Patrick thought it should be removed to the front page as a separate post.What happened was that the conversation had wandered away from Hurrah Torpedo’s version to the original Bonnie Tyler video for “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, which you may want to re-watch. Julie L. had posted:
Meanwhile, an analysis or two of the original video for the song. Because you can never have enough pirouetting ninjas.
So I said: Julie, funny you should mention the Bonnie Tyler video of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” I’ve been re-watching it, trying to imagine what the hell its makers had in mind.
I can’t agree with that analysis you link to. Those mysterious young men aren’t her accusers. They’re so wrapped up in whatever it is they have going on that they barely register her presence. (There is sexual tension present. It’s all between the boys.) Their non-reaction to Bonnie Tyler’s character makes me think she must be on the staff of the institution where the video takes place. This makes her the traditional uninvolved but centrally placed narrator, and sets the stage for a tale of the worldly fantastic.
The school or institution where she works is privileged, obviously well-to-do, and has been around for a while. The students have some kind of group mind/Midwich Cuckoos thing going on that makes their eyes glow in the dark and greatly increases their speed, strength, and coordination.
As the group’s telepathic linkage becomes stronger, the accompanying gift of careless precision of movement manifests as group fantasies: Let’s pretend we’re ninjas! Let’s do gymnastics in the dark! Let’s put on our best rocker duds, and sing and dance our way up the main staircase! (Good riff. Starts out being weird and mystifying and kind of cool, then gets creepier and creepier.)
Bonnie Tyler’s character, who’s probably the school nurse or something, is torn between concern for her charges, who have falllen under this creepy influence; a more general worry about the nature and intentions of whatever is gestating here; and, eventually, fear for her own safety.
Normal communication with the outside world will of course have been cut off. The only way to get a message out is via the carrier pigeons belonging to the one nerdy young student who’s a holdout from the group mind. (Note: he may be a were-pigeon.)
All we’re missing is the climax, resolution, and denouement.
I don’t have cherished sentimental memories of 1980s rock videos. What I remember is sitting there in a constant state of low-level astonishment, trying to figure out what the bleep was supposed to be going on in them. For instance, why did so many videos entirely consist of scenes of the singer’s girlfriend desperately trying to get away from him?
What I do cherish is Scraps DeSelby’s take on 80s videos: “It’s a good thing that acid and MTV came along in different decades.”