Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Hunger (1983)

Directed by: Tony Scott
Run Time: 97 minutes

This isn't a vampire movie. Yes I used a vampire tag for this blog post, yes the book that this movie is based on is about vampires, and yes there is blood drinking. What this movie lacks is fangs, bursting into when the vampire come in contact with sunlight,  no fear of crosses or religious objects, no nonsense with mirrors, and they don't turn into fucking human disco balls when the sun hits them. Instead the creatures in this movie have more in common with Baobhan sith or Leanan sídhe, blood drinking fairies.  Which fits more with the mood of this film instead of vampires.  Rather than a supernatural menace that is on the verge of destroying humanity,  it's an ancient creature that is deal with the solitude due to being immortal.

The film opens with Miriam and John Blaylock (Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie) in an early eighties goth club picking up a young couple.  This footage is interrupted with a monkey killing another monkey in it's cage. The monkeys are test subject's of Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon) Sleep, Blood, and Longevity experiments. Which is great for John as he likes drinking blood, he can't sleep, and he is starting to rapidly age.

Alice, a young violin student that Miriam was grooming,  also notices John's rapid aging. This revelation motivates both John and Miriam to independently seek Doctor Roberts' help. They both fail in this task as Miriam becomes enraptured with Sarah and John comes off as a crazy old man. Sarah assuming that John really is a crazy old man and leaves him waiting for an hour in the hopes he gets the message and leave.  Sarah sees him as he is leaving and John has visibly aged ten years and is rightly pissed that she wasted a good chunk of his life. So with his youth slipping away from him, John tires and fails to feed on some kid in a tunnel.

John gets home to find he is starting to look almost two hundred years old. Alice shows up later and does not realize that the old man with John's eyes was in fact John. In a vain hope of regaining his lost youth John feeds on Alice but nothing happens and he ages into a walking mummy. Miriam finds him and carries him to the attic where she keeps all of her other lovers who have become mummies. After a tearful farewell and asking her other lovers to be kind to John tonight. The rest of the movie is Miriam seducing Sarah and turning her into a near immortal blood drinking lover.

The movie is beautiful and annoying at the same time. A good chunk of the film is spent building the atmosphere at the price of the plot. Yes Tony Scott manages to show the body horror of rapid aging and David Bowie is fairly good at showing this horror. However I spent most of the film going 'Hello, I'm the audience would throw me a bone and tell me a little of what the hell is going on and why'. I am glad they did not try to be smarter than the film was and use science babel to explain things. Instead things just happen without context or explanation and the cool visual is all that is given. The example that comes to mind is the monkey from the beginning of  the movie who was not sleeping  starts to rapidly age. After a few minutes in movie time the monkey dies and starts to rapidly decay. No reason given just sleep deprived monkeys turn into rage filled killers and then die due to rapid aging.

Aside from everyone casually smoking in every scene this movie has aged rather well. The effects are creepy but not genre shattering and aside of my petty complaints about the plot it is an ok movie. If you want to feel nostalgic for your goth days or this movie shows up on cable or steaming services it is worth a watch because you're bored.

Make or Break: The whole style over substance stance this movie takes pisses me off. There is a good horror movie in there but it is lost in the art.

MVP: Catherine Deneuve. In this film she is everything you would want in a vampire. Classy, sexy, and mysterious. As a point of disclosure I have been a fanboy of hers since I saw Belle du Jour.

Score: 5.9 out of 10


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