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Review: The Hunger (1983)

The Hunger (1983)

Directed by: Tony Scott

Premise: A vampire countess living in New York (Catherine Deneuve) preys upon gothic club goers with her mate (David Bowie). When he wastes away, she finds another lover in a hematologist (Susan Sarandon).

What Works: The Hunger is an impressive film and its influence can be seen in later vampire films like The Lost Boys, Interview with the Vampire, and Blade, and non-vampire pictures such as Basic Instinct. It breaks from or complicates the usual vampire story by introducing the idea of mortality into vampirism and creating characters who feel some guilt about the life that they live. The love story is very passionate, even if parts of it drift into Lifetime Network territory, and the principal actors do a great job pushing concrete emotions to the surface of Tony Scott’s highly stylized method of filmmaking. This is a gorgeous looking film, beautifully shot and edited. The opening sequence, in which gothic rock band Bauhaus’ song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” plays on the soundtrack while the film cross cuts between the club environment and the murderous actions of the vampires, is one of the strongest openings of any vampire film ever made.

What Doesn’t: The conclusion of The Hunger is muddled and abrupt, and it may take a second viewing to fully comprehend what happened to the main characters. The whole point The Hunger is to break from convention, so those expecting the fangs and cowls of the usual vampire film may be disappointed. 

DVD extras: Commentary track, still gallery, and a trailer.

Bottom Line: The Hunger is an impressive and important vampire film. While some of it is flawed, the film is worth viewing by fans of gothic horror and the vampire genre.

Episode: #259 (October 11, 2009)