Mobsters and Groovers Present: Vampires

Saturday, October 9, 2010 1:33 PM By Simon

The Hunger (1983)

"She's that kind of woman. She's...European."

Miriam (Catharine Deneuve) is a vampire-like creature from ancient Egypt, who has lived on for centuries, taking companions to cure the loneliness. She and her most recent partner, John (David Bowie), currently live in New York, preying on Goth couples to Bauhaus music. But when John begins aging rapidly, Miriam must find a new companion, setting her sights on Dr. Sara Roberts (Susan Sarandon), an expert in the aging process.
This isn't, in the strictest sense, a good movie. It's hammy, and melodramatic, an at times very, very silly. But it serves its purpose, which is, of course, to dazzle the eyes with lesbian sex scenes and Victorian/Goth furniture porn. Since it's 1983 release, it's been destined for cult stardom. With such a cast--Repulsion's Deneuve, the epitome of 'classy French lady', Susan Sarandon, Susan Sarandon's elusive boobs, and David Bowie, who's David Bowie, and therefore David Bowie. Sure, they screw the later marketing point up by keeping him in grotesque old man makeup for the majority of his scenes, but nonetheless.
And as I said (in so many words), beautiful cinematography. Every shot is like a (Hot Topic circa 1980s) postcard, every costume, every room design, set up to capture the tragic mood.
But as I've said many times, I don't consider this a vampire movie in the strictest sense. See, vampires have fangs, and, y'know, use them. Not Miriam and John. They have Ye Olde Egyptian necklaces that look like discarded Tommy props, which they pull off (so they must go through chains like a bitch) and stab their victims to death. Not even stab. Cut. They cut their necks in the least vampirey way possible. It's just embarrassing.
They make Catherine Deneuve crawl around licking blood from dead manwhores. They ignore their target audiences' (teenage girls going through a phase) desires for pretty angst (plenty of for the first half hour, luckily). David Bowie is decrepit. The only person of any non-white ethnicity is a black scientist with dreads. Some of the dialogue is terrible. Some of the acting is terrible. The director dedicates more time and lighting to ladies getting down than he does the shittily-edited killing scenes.
But then, Deneuve could make you her love slave before she can shake your hand. David Bowie continues his noble crusade to be weird British in times when the English are starting to conform to our boring American ways. Susan Sarandon gets nekkid, which is, frankly, something I didn't really expect (seriously, no discretion shots or nothing). I feel like I should host a party with this theme


Andreas said...

The Hunger would probably be a great movie if it hadn't been directed by Tony Scott. As it is... alas. "Shittily-edited" is right, and then some. At least we'll always have Bauhaus.

October 10, 2010 at 1:42 AM
Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to watch this one and even if it doesn't exactly reach the heights of great, or even good by the sounds of it, I'm sure I'll still enjoy myself with it. Deneuve and Bowie are probably enough for me to enjoy it!

October 11, 2010 at 5:31 AM
Simon said...

Andreas: Tony Scott is testing my patience, he is.

hagiblog: They are! They are enough! Just don't expect Sarandon to pull any weight.

October 11, 2010 at 5:25 PM