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on June 20, 2011
This had to be my first brush with both Catherine & Susan back in the day. As a kid, I suppose I was luke-warm to this one but grew to love it over the years. Is the binding of three great stars not enough to draw a person back again & again? Surely, that has some appeal to the true cult film watcher but perhaps there was something much deeper than that which made me want to re-watch this film over the years & I'm thankful now that I did.

Be forewarned. The Hunger is a terrific film but it's rather slow paced & does take it's time to build up to that ultimate climax. If you don't have the patience for something in this vein (no pun intended), skip it & come back to it another time. On the other hand, indulge yourself if you like artsy horror with gobs of gauzy style. No, it's not self-indulgent but the creepy atmosphere alone is worth several stars.

In the opening scene, we see Peter Murphy (Bauhaus) in some cage within a night club singing the classic "Bela Lugosi's Dead". If that's not an eye & ear opener for starters, I don't know or don't care what is. then we are treated to meeting our two fiends who have been around for centuries drinking blood, of course, from the unsuspected living. Essentially, we learn very quickly that they hang out in nightclubs as swingers & then proceed to go home with their victims. After draining their victims of precious life fluid we know as blood, the bodies are cremated the following morning.

It's not long before we discover Bowie's character John is aging much too fast & he will soon depart if something is not done to slow down this aging process. In hopes of preserving himself, he attempts to locate a doctor who specializes in the field of examining or researching the abnormal aging process. At first, the doctor (played marvelously by Sarandon) ignores his pleas & leaves him in the waiting room for hours. When she returns, he has aged rapidly.

As the film progresses, both women have met in part due to the doctor's search in finding the aging young man. Miriam (played the ageless Catherine Deneuve) decides then that Dr. Roberts will be her next lover & makes it a point to seduce her in what could be one of the most erotic film scenes ever shown in a Hollywood film. From then on, it's a quest to feed the hunger & sustain immortal life once again.

Again, not for everyone but a very stylish piece of work nonetheless. Worth a rental of course but enthusiasts probably already own this one like myself.
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From the novel by Whitley Strieber and directed by Ridley Scott's little brother, Tony. (Top Gun & Beverly Hills Cop II)

Miriam (Deneuve)and John (Bowie) Blaylock seem like the perfect "eternal" couple. A couple of chic, clubbing 80's vampires, that is! Until John inexplicably starts aging right before Miriam's eyes.

The once young, sexy John is liked to Dustin Hoffman's 120 year-old Jack Crabb at end scene of "Little Big Man". The quickly aging John seeks help from Dr. Sarah Roberts (Sarandon) but, indeed, it is too late to regain his youth.

Miriam packs crumbly old John away in a coffin along with her other ancient lovers and moves on with just a single tear shed to more younger flesh and the sexy seduction of Dr. Sarah Roberts.

Lots and lots of exchanges and changes go on all played out with some really beautiful cinematography, breathtaking set design and setpieces, and great classical music to boot.

I got a kick out of some of the other cast members like Dan Hedaya, Beth Ehlers (The Guiding Light), Ann Magnuson, Jane Leeves and Willem Defoe.

I won't spoil the twisty and ironic ending for you as it is a doozy! Watch and see what the Blaylock's are up to!

The Hunger a pleasantly different, 80's uptown twist on vampirism and is not to be missed!

Happy Watching and Unpleasant Dreams!
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on November 27, 2011
in it's own way this is actually a beautiful film.cathrine deneuve is flawless as a queen vampire[don't let this put you off]who must see all her former "lovers" she has created fall into death with a mystery blood desease.of course she "keeps" them in an upper-room as thousands of years the present her latest lover,david bowie,has discovered his quick demise is approaching and seeks the aid of susan sarandon,a doctor who specializes in blood anomalies that ages animals but now has crossed over unto humans.not wanting to ruin these first moments of the film what follows is a beautiful section filmed against shadows and classical music.sarandon seeks bowie out at the high rise where he and deneuve reside and by this time bowie has died and lovingly "stored" in the upper-room.what follows is a wonder of photography where deneuve and sarandon fall into a lesbian "roll in the hay".wow!lovely.the rest is up to the viewer:will they become companion ageless vampire lovers or is something lurking in the shadows that neither expect? it is a vampire film afterall,and there are some disturbing scenes of blood-sucking as usual.but don't be put off.the beauty of this film will haunt you.
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on March 17, 2011
Sleek installment in the vampire canon, highly stylized with a new twist on the old vampire theme: Queen vampire can't keep her lovers around forever because at some point they start to age rapidly and die. So much for the whole immortality thing. Of the many disturbing images in this film, the one that sticks with me most is the murder of the young girl who is really their only friend - she is street smart, but her innocence prevents her from seeing the couple's strangeness and the eventual danger she is in. For some reason, kids are never spared in the vampire genre, and Bowie's strangulation of her is dreadful to watch, especially since this kid is a spunky, gum-chewing-likable-smart-allec next door neighbor who plays violin and snaps pictures of everything with her Polaroid one-shot. She is also liked by and cared for by the couple, but even that doesn't spare her. The problem with children surviving in vampire stories was started by Bram Stoker in the first place (read Dracula and it's all in there), but reading about it and seeing it are two different things. I always wonder how they manage to get away with violence against children in vampire movies, but they always do somehow, and it is always disturbing. We could have done without that scene and I kept thinking - he won't be able to do it because he cares about her, or someone will come in at the last minute and prevent it from happening, but no, to my astonishment he kills her and she doesn't even know who he is because by now Bowie is unrecognizable as the friendly, enigmatic, cello-playing neighbor (who kinda treats her as a daughter since Bowie and Deneuve have no children). He is now a withered, creepy old relic who asks her to play a sweet piece of music for him on her violin. Well, never underestimate the creepy old guy who seems harmless I guess.

Notables of the film are Peter Murphy/Bauhaus in the dramatic opening sequence of the film performing Bela Lugosi's Dead, Beth Ehlers of Guiding Light fame in her breakout role as the doomed girl, Willem Dafoe in an early career bit part as a street punk, character actor Dan Hedaya, John Pankow, and some guy who looks just like Bill Paxton (but isn't) as an unwitting victim who winds up as dinner. Sarandon is the real star in this film and is stunning to watch. And how can you not like a movie on some level that contains so much classical music? Ravel and Schubert are a perfect fit - it doesn't get any better than Ravel's Le Gibet. Gothic, eerie, disturbing, this film is a worthy installment in the vampire genre.
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VINE VOICEon December 10, 2001
Opening scene: Bauhaus performing "Bela Lugosi is Dead" on stage in a cage at a very cool club being visited by a dressed to kill Deneuve and Bowie on the prowl for fresh flesh. They dress cool, drive a very cool car, and live surrounded by the beautiful paintings and sculpture they have collected over the many centuries they have been alive. Great to look at, great to listen too. Music includes Bach's Cello suites, Delibes Lakme(plays while Deneuve tells the music's mythic story of two women to Sarandon who comments "sounds like a love story between two women", Deneuve just smiles).
Sexy, yes. This is a Vampire film with a really good story too though. Deneuve is a Vampire from Egyptian times and Bowie is just her latest lover. They have only been together since the eighteenth century or so. But the problem is that, unlike her, her lovers do not live forever. Bowie becomes aware of this only after awaking one morning to find he is aging. Deneuve is powerless to help him, so he searches for his answer at an institute of aging. Bowies make-up as he goes from a young man in the prime of life to old man in one day is incredible. It is very interesting to see the eternal life and love aspect of the Vampire story as the focus. We find shes been through it all before and so Deneuve wastes no time in finding her next lover, to share the next few hundred years with. Susan Sarandon. And its everything you might imagine. This has gothic appeal but its so stylish that the beauty of it and the fact that there is a solid plot puts it at least a few notches above all the other Vampire movies.
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on April 7, 2005
In watching The Hunger (1983) last night, it seemed completely foreign to me that this movie was directed by Tony Scott, the same guy who directed such films as Top Gun (1986), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Days of Thunder (1990), and The Last Boy Scout (1991)...why? Because this film seemed so...artsy fartsy, for lack of a better term, while those other films tend to fall into the category of manly man films. By the way, I just read Scott is in the process of remaking Walter Hill's 1979 film The Warriors, scheduled to be released sometime in Hollywood so bereft of original ideas they have to cannibalize past works? This is strictly a rhetorical question, as we all know the answer, so please don't send me a ton of e-mails...anyway, the film, based on a novel by Whitley Strieber, directed by Tony Scott, stars the very European Catherine Deneuve (The Musketeer), the always androgynous David Bowie (Into the Night), and the ever liberal Susan Sarandon (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), who, according to the Internet Movie Database keeps her Oscar in the bathroom...huh...I use mine as a doorstop. Also appearing is Cliff De Young (F/X), Dan Hedaya (Alien: Resurrection), and Willem Dafoe in a seminal role credited as `2nd Phone Booth Youth' (seriously, his role is so minuscule you'll miss it if you blink...he does have at least one line, so he got paid more for than just his pretty face). Also watch for Ann Magnuson (Clear and Present Danger) near the beginning in a very revealing part.

The film begins as we see an older, somewhat sophisticated couple (Bowie and Deneuve), whom we later come to know as John and Miriam Blaylock, picking up a younger couple at a disco...for what purpose? Certainly not to swing, baby...once alone, the older pair make short work of the younger pair in fine, vampiric style (sans the fangs), these scenes interlaced with those of spastic monkeys (you heard me). We then meet Sarah Roberts, author and researcher, her work involving something to do with unlocking the mysteries of how our biological clocks work, and, perhaps someday slowing down or even halting the aging process (good luck with all that). So far all she's got is the ability to cause monkeys to age really, really fast...keep up the good work. Anyway, John soon comes down with a serious case of geezer-itis, and contacts Sarah, as she's the aging expert and all. So what's his deal? I'm not going to tell you, but I will say don't get too attached to the character. Not long after this Miriam finds herself attracted to Sarah, and sees her as a possible candidate to fill the now vacant role of consort, allowing Sarah the opportunity to experience first hand the true nature of that which she wishes to know.

Okay, first off, any film that can incorporate the song Bela Lugosi's Dead (by Bauhaus) is alright in my book. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about this film is billowy drapes...every third scene or so is populated by long, diaphanous curtains blowing in the wind, inducing flashbacks to when MTV actually played rock music videos back in the 80's, as many featured just such a scene. And was there one character in the film that didn't smoke? I guess if you're blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) with eternal life, you don't worry too much about getting the big C. I thought the film did very well straddling the line between being pretty cool and being utterly pretentious, leaning towards the former as director Scott knows how to create interesting visuals featuring many up close and personal shots, providing an intimacy to the characters. I also thought the flashback sequences were handled pretty well, primarily used to flesh out the story a little, but not appearing blatant or obvious. The color tone seemed a bit muted throughout the film, giving an overall ethereal sense as if the story was taking place as a dream, one that you witness, but don't participate in...if that makes any sense. Have you ever wanted to see David Bowie as a really decrepit, shriveled, bony, veiny, desiccated, covered in liver spots, old man? Here's your about a topless Susan Sarandon enjoying the pleasures of the Sapphic kind? That's in here too...I did have one issue with the story and that was near the end. Perhaps it's better detailed in the novel, but it has to do with transference. If you've seen the film, you may have an idea of what I'm talking about, as it wasn't put forth in a manner that made a lot of sense. I did accept it, begrudgingly. I don't always require everything spelled out for me, but this seemed a fairly critical part of the story. I thought all the actors did well, despite some minor deficiencies within the story with regards to the characters (a couple of them seemed transparent to me). I did appreciate the slightly sympathetic element that grew from the story with regards to John and Miriam, their lives affected by what us `norms' would consider a monstrous and hideous affliction, especially given the actions necessary foe survival. I did like most of the music within the film, especially the sometimes moody orchestral pieces, but the electronic stuff (music and sound effects) seemed a little too heavy and distracting at times. Perhaps a more minimalist route would have been a better tact to take, but this, as many of the issue I brought up, are fairly minor compared to an overall enjoyable film.

The widescreen anamorphic picture (2.35:1), enhanced for 16 X 9 TVs, on this DVD looks very clear and sharp, and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is decent, albeit soft at times. There are a few extras including a commentary track featuring Sarandon and director Scott, a still gallery, and a theatrical trailer, which I would avoid watching prior to watching the film, that is if you haven't already seen the movie.

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This film decisively breaks the mold set for "vampire movies." Catherine Deneuve brings elegance, David Bowie brings style, and Susan Sarandon brings skill and depth. The movie is very much about the people, it's about control and trust.

The storytelling is a bit vague at times, but that's OK. The movie carries itself in its imagery. The nightclub in the first scene, a bizarre transformation in a furnace, and of course the seduction - wonderful scenes, even if taken in isolation. Bowie and Deneuve, promising "forever," put an additional chill into the first scene of his coffin.

I find it hard to describe this movie - the action is subdued but meaningful. The visual styling has subtlety, something I appreciate more after seeing other movies that lack it.

I like this one. I have trouble saying just why, but it's one I'll come back to, again and again.

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on May 4, 2015
This is a second viewing for me. The first was on the big screen in 1983 and it really dazzled me then. It's set in 1980s New York and definitely has an '80s feel. The Hungar starts with Bela Lugosi's Dead, Bauhus' Goth anthem. The actors are; Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon and David Bowie. Which one of these hotties would you want to be? Or be with?
Catherine Deneuve plays Miriam Blaylock, a vampire made in the times of the Pharaoh. In the course of her long life she has taken many lovers whom she's turned into vampires, promising them eternal life. There is however a codicil in the contract that no one ever reads (like the user agreement on an app). For Miriam as a first generation vampire this is a straight deal. She remains the same. For her lovers, they have several hundred years but then begin to rapidly age. They become old, frail and decrepit yet still they live. This leaves Miriam in need of a new companion; who shall it be?
John Blaylock, (David Bowie) is Miriam's current flame and his expiration date is quickly approaching. He finds a group of scientists studying ageing with the hope of being able to reverse the process. He seeks out and finds Dr. Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon), the lead scientist on the project. Dearest Miriam is not optimistic and starts to look for John's replacement. She needn't look far.
This is not a conventional vampire movie. There is blood of course but it's not a blood fest. Our vampires were are very different in their method of execution. They can go out in the day but seem to spend most of their time in their large East Side townhouse, with sumptuous furnishings and objets d'art. If it weren't the Blaylocks' residence it would be a museum.
To add to the gentile image of these blood thirsty vampires, Miriam teaches music to their young neighbour, Alice Cavendar (Beth Ehlers), who will play an expository role.
The lighting and cinematography capture this visual feast. Different camera angles add to the films spell. Catherine Deneuve's wardrobe is well, timeless.
There are of course flaws, a major one. The reasons for the ending are not clear. There is an explanation but to find it you'll need to read Whitley Strieber's book of the same name, which I ordered yesterday. Coming in at 97 minutes, I suspect the studio didn't want to spend the time or money constructing the necessary scenes. If you want to know, ask me in a couple of weeks. There is also some confusion about the vamps' method of feeding.
If you're a vampire purist you may not like this film. There are some gaps in the narrative that can leave you guessing at times. If you approach it as a sensual feast I think you'll enjoy it. I know I did.

Seeing Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon rolling around naked alone make it worth the $4.99 on Amazon Instant Video.
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on February 27, 2007
A product of it's time, this is a super stylish meditation on aging, love, terminal illness and perfect hair. Bowie is gorgeous. Deneuve is ageless, stunning. Sarandon is nubile and sensual. Tony Scott's direction is ham handed at times, heavy on the early MTV style imagery: doves, sheer curtains, levelor blinds, et. al. If you can get past the fear that Bonnie Tyler may emerge from the shadows at any time to belt out 'Total Eclipse of the Heart', this is an effectively scary concoction, drawing parallels between the surprising aging of a vampire's lovers and the (at the time) burgeoning AIDS epidemic. All this and an opening with Bauhaus in a 'batcave' style bar! Look for Ann Magnuson and Willem Defoe in minor roles.
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on August 6, 2015
Tony Scott, may he rest in peace, began his Hollywood career with a very unusual and what would come to be a very uncharacteristic art-house film about a dying vampire, played by Glam Rock superstar David Bowie.

The way the movie first starts out you may think it's going to be a roaring spectacle of gloriously trashy 80's horror, however it quickly slows it's pace and reveals it's true nature. Susan Sarandon, before her days of big fame, plays the possible savior to Bowie's character Blaylock (possibly a reference to Orlok, vampire in Nosferatu).

There is a certain elegance to the cultured vampire, the one that makes blood consumption look like an art form, the one that has collected priceless antiques over centuries, the one who's silver tongue pours out such seductively irresistible eloquence. Accompany that with some classical music and sheets blowing in the wind and the result is a pretty erotic scene.

While the film is constructed relatively well, and there are really no complaints about the acting, story etc, it was a little slow for my taste in vampire flicks. The cinematography does have a distinct look, the entire film is veiled in a blue hue which does contribute to an eerie atmosphere.

It's important to note Dick Smith "The Godfather of Make-Up" was in charge of the make up effects in this film, he also did the aging effects in The Godfather, Little Big Man and many more. There is also a quick bit part in the film from later famous actor Willem Dafoe playing a street thug.
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