“Forever… Forever and ever” Horror isn’t always about gore. It’s not about monsters and killers. Sometimes, it doesn’t even need an in-depth immersive story, only a feeling; a sensation that not only causes a powerful urge to recoil but also the desire to never feel that way again. For John that feeling is helplessness. At only thirty he witnesses his youth vanish and life fade away at a voracious pace, and in the course of a day he ages to over a hundred years. For Miriam that feeling is loneliness. She is cursed/gifted to live for all eternity, and the thought of walking through time alone is more than she can bear. Miriam will not allow this to happen. As for Sarah, she has to come to terms with how far she will go to stay alive, for if she doesn’t take lives she herself will lose hers. John, Miriam, and Sarah are each steeped in horrors of their own, these are the horrors of The Hunger. In this particular case, it does help that John and Miriam are vampires. The movie never explicitly states this fact, nor mentions the word itself. It doesn’t have to. The sensuous style of Tony Scott’s directorial debut conveys it beautifully. The vampire movies of the seventies were still playing with Count Dracula in the castle settings of the past with occasional forays into modern culture (for example, Blacula and Dracula A.D 1970). While the setting was modern for the time, the vampires were not. A huge influence on The Hunger was the Belgian picture Daughters of Darkness. Scott’s film borrows the erotic elements, updating them for the 80s. This movie made the vampires hip and staggeringly gorgeous, and was also one of the first efforts to capitalize on the plight of the vampire, loneliness. Loneliness due to the fact that they are destined to walk through time forever, which is the real horror. Not the bloodletting or fangs, but the sorrow of taking life, while the vampire’s own life never ends. The 80s was definitely the first ideal time for a vampire. Bauhaus was playing in clubs, jamming out “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” and sunglasses at night were perfectly normal. This is how we meet John (David Bowie) and Miriam (Catherine Deneuve). Swinging was also totally acceptable at this time and made the pickings easy for them. In addition to never hearing the word vampire we also never see fangs. John and Miriam’s weapon of choice are small knives hidden in necklaces used effectively on a poor pair of yuppies during the opening seduction. Once they’ve fed, it’s been a good night — albeit a messy one. Our sanguine characters are experts at this way of life and cover their tracks, taking care to dispose of evidence thanks to an incinerator. John loves Miriam deeply, he reminds her of the destiny she once told him long ago. One of adulation to endure for all time but Miriam seems distant. She knows that it isn’t going to last forever, at least for John… Meanwhile, Dr. Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon) is a scientist studying the effects of “premature degeneration comparable to that of aging” trying to find a way to counter the process. This is essentially a McGuffin to bring our triangle together, because at the same time John is beginning to change. He looks pale, can’t sleep, and begins to visibly and actively age. Ultimately John learns that this isn’t the first time this has happened with Miriam, and her past lovers have also suddenly aged rapidly. Miriam has learned that Sarah’s research has no answers and it’s heartbreaking when she coldly has no answer to John’s plea, “What am I going to do?” John must have answers and tracks down Sarah, who also coldly dismisses him. As doctors are want to do, she tells him to wait in the lobby. Over the course of his afternoon his aging increases with no surcease. Sarah is unable to recognize John when she sees him only two hours later. It is outstanding makeup work that has even farther to go. He is visibly frightened and growing more and more desperate. When John and Miriam’s young musical student arrives to leave a message for Miriam she is greeted by a man who is easily seventy years old. She is convinced the man in front of her is John’s father. It’s a beautiful and haunting scene when the child plays a gorgeous piece of music as John circles her like a shark, and all he can say is “forgive me.” The death of the little girl did nothing to hold off the insatiable hands of time, and Miriam is both devastated and aghast at the sight of John, now well over a hundred-years-old and virtually a corpse. As John begs for death Miriam agonizingly tells him that there is no end and no rest. The only thing she can do for John is give him his new home in a coffin in the attic with the rest of her lovers, doomed forever and ever to be alone. Miriam had a brief interaction with Sarah and as brief as it was, it was instantaneous that both characters were hit with the thunderbolt; this is sexual tension incarnate. Sarah manages to track down Miriam, where Miriam does what she does best, she seduces Sarah. It may be what this movie is most known for, being “the lesbian vampire movie” and maybe rightly so. It is spectacularly well done. It helps that it is with two of the most beautiful women of all time. The short 80’s haircut Susan Sarandon sports has definitely dated since but what hasn’t nor ever will are her charismatic lustful eyes. It a fantastic counterpoint to the Belle Du Jour herself, whose sumptuous blonde hair flows over her doll-like elegant features. The scene isn’t gratuitous nor tacky despite how quickly it comes on. It is during this love scene that Miriam draws blood from Sarah and Sarah from Miriam. But this isn’t the end for our two leads, as Sarah will have to feed the hunger and the ghosts of Miriam’s past grow restless, and forever await… What makes The Hunger essential to watch is the tremendous style Tony Scott brings to the table. Powerful lights cutting through immense shadow was a look he and Adrian Lyne perfected throughout the 80s. Flowing curtains, gorgeous lighting, elegant music, and of course, a beautiful cast make this a work that is an essential contribution to horror films, vampire films, and also, erotic films. Some may find it boring given the lack of the typical vampire effects, minimal story, and abundance of style, but there has been and will continue to be plenty of films like that. They don’t all have to meet these criteria, what we get then is old blood. That doesn’t mean there are no effects at all. The legendary Dick Smith provides excellent work. The aging scene of David Bowie is tremendous. It isn’t presented in a revolutionary way, the camera cuts away and when it comes back, he is older. It’s subtle but it keeps happening until John is virtually a corpse. It’s a shame David Bowie didn’t take on more acting roles, he is great here. He learned the cello for his musical scenes and the fear is evident when he learns he will fade away, not only before he has aged but during as well, when the makeup makes him virtually unrecognizable. Even when he murders a young girl in a vain attempt to hang on to what is left of his life, we can’t help but feel immense sorrow for his character. It’s a testament to his ability as an actor and technical mastery of the makeup when he is able to emote so effectively through such great work. The other key effect is when the past lovers come back. It’s a great monster scene when in various stages of decay they all descend on poor Miriam. As far as effects go, that’s essentially it, and it’s great. This isn’t the kind of vampire-fest that populated the 80s. The entire movie from opening frame to closing is a seduction. The actors, music, and cinematography are arguably the most vibrant, lushest, sexual and artful for any horror film. Tony Scott took a potentially lurid subject like lesbian vampires and treated it seriously, with skill and grace. It evoked the idea of what forever means. It really does mean forever, better for some and worse for others. See larger image The Hunger [Blu-ray] Miriam Blaylock collects Renaissance art, ancient Egyptian pendants, lovers, souls. Alive and fashionably chic in Manhattan, Miriam is an ageless vampire. Although “vampire” is not a word you’ll hear in this movie based on the novel by Whitley Strieber (Wolfen). Instead, debuting feature director Tony Scott fashions a hip, sensual, modern-gothic makeover. Catherine Deneuve radiates macabre elegance as Miriam, blessed with beauty, cursed with bloodlust. David Bowie is fellow fiend and refined husband John. In love, in life, in longing, they are inseparable. But when John abruptly begins to age and turns to a geriatric researcher (Susan Sarandon) for help, Miriam soon eyes the woman as a replacement for John. The Hunger is insatiable. New From: $12.49 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.