Random Rewind: The Hunger
The Hunger is a vampire film, released in 1983, directed by Tony Scott (True Romance, Crimson Tide, Top Gun) starring Susan Sarandon, David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve. The Hunger is a different vampire film and worth checking out for the opened minded.
The plot is that Miriam and John Blaylock(Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie) are centuries old vampire lovers living in 1980’s NYC posing as a wealthy couple. By day they teach classical music and by night they feast on human prey. We later see that John begins to age at an accelerated rate. He seeks out the help of Dr. Sarah Roberts(Susan Sarandon) who specializes in aging disorders and who’s work is well publicized. It’s all for nothing as nothing can stop John’s aging and that this is his fate of being the lover of Miriam, the vampire who initially turned him centuries ago. John’s fate, as is the fate of all Miriam’s lovers, is to live young for centuries as a vampire but to one day age rapidly, not die and be trapped in a living corpse. Dr. Roberts tracks down where John lives after she kind of blew him off when he went to see her for help and meets Miriam. By this point John is in a coffin in his old decrepit form and Miriam is on the market for a new lover when she becomes smitten with Dr. Roberts. I’m not going to give the rest of the plot, but it does get interesting if not totally satisfying.
“The Hunger” is a good but flawed film. The movie can be slow at times and unless you really pay attention you can easily get lost with what’s going on. The movie hardly verbally explains, it more implies and shows. Everything that is happening to John and why it’s happening to only John is never really explained, you have to pick things up from conversations between Jon and Miriam, flashbacks and just by watching the movie. Implying and showing instead of holding your hand through a movie is not necessarily a bad thing, but can be hard to do successfully. This is especially hard to execute well if your movie moves really slowly. The plot, as I said before, is interesting if not totally satisfying, but there are striking moments in the film that make watching the whole thing worth it. This is why the film has a bit of style over substance feel to it.
What I feel makes The Hunger worth checking out is its vampire mythology. These vampires can walk around during the day, don’t turn into bats, don’t have fangs that just sprout out of their mouths, etc. They do feast on blood and those scenes are very memorable, very brutal and feel real. The special effects when John ages look good and still hold up. Even though I criticized the movie for being a bit vague, I also like that they don’t geek out and try to totally explain everything to you. I also criticized the movie for having style over substance, but it does have a unique sense of style and great atmosphere. I was surprised to see Tony Scott directed this, very different style than what you might expect from him. In a time where the whole vampire thing seems to be teeny bopping, soap opera horror, The Hunger stands out and above. It’s take on vampires breaks the mold of what a vampire story can be and carries the film.
Tough movie to rate, not for everyone, but I’d recommend it.