THE HUNGER (1983)
Directed by Tony Scott
John and Miriam Blaylock have lived a long and fruitful life together but things become strained between the two when John begins to age rapidly. Seeking out help from researcher Dr Sarah Roberts, John hopes to find a cure but instead Miriam eyes her as a replacement for John.
Move over Twilight, for this is a vampire drama worth sinking your fangs into.
THE HUNGER is a modern-gothic, arthouse-style, romantic drama that follows the breakdown between two vampire lovers. Unfortunately, it turns out that vampires cannot be forever youthful if originally human, with their frozen state of youth only lasting a couple of centuries compared to an eternity for purebloods, which leaves John, played by David Bowie, quickly turning from a vigorous 30 year old into a frail pensioner overnight. The stunning Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) loves John but she cannot bare to be with someone who has succumbed to such severe aging and looks about finding a successor, someone to keep her company for the next couple of hundred years. Enter Susan Sarandon’s Sarah Roberts, a bright young doctor who herself has been researching how to slow down aging as a treatment for rapid aging condition progeria. Could Sarah be the one for Miriam?
As an artsy romantic vampire drama, THE HUNGER balances the score with the dreamy, captivating visuals to create an embracing ambience which feels so comforting and welcoming that it’s hard to tear yourself away. It’s no little surprise then that Sarah falls under the seductive charm of Miriam. Much like the viewer, Sarah is caught under Miriam’s spell producing one of the sexiest scenes in cinema. There’s nudity amidst the eroticism, but it’s purely the camera angles and the seductive looks and movements between the characters that will get you hot under the collar, as well as the amazing, effective use of Delibes’ Lakmé.
Another area where THE HUNGER excels is in the make-up department. When John goes to visit Sarah at the hospital research facility, he ages rapidly in just a couple of hours. At first it’s ever so slight until he becomes reminiscent of an octogenarian and a convincing one at that. I daresay the make-up effects are better than some I’ve seen in recent times and this movie is now over 30 years old!
There’s something particularly special about this film, particularly with its unique angle on aging as well as the way of attacking one’s victim. The ending of the movie might not make a whole lot of sense but is easily overlooked considering it was only set up that way for a potential sequel.
The overall feel of THE HUNGER captures the romanticism of vampires which often seems lost these days and is delightfully refreshing to watch. An Interview With The Vampire had a sprinkle as did Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with the recent Kiss of the Damned the latest film to share the sensual aspect that is often thrown away in preference of teenage cringeworthy crushes or over-the-top bloodlust. Though, I must admit that this film succumbs a little to the latter with a scene depicting Miriam leant over a bloody victim which seems a little out of place and unnecessary for a film of this style but I suppose one bloody scene to reinforce her true nature is fitting to the plot.
If you’re looking for something a bit different to watch for Halloween, then Warner Bros. title THE HUNGER will go down an absolute treat.