The Hunger (1983)

We lost David Bowie this year. Bowie was a magical, mystical being of light, shadow and music even without being on film. Putting him in movies as a natural move that, among other things, gave us the Goblin King who was the anti-hero of The Labyrinth. He released an album the day after he died. He was obviously a well-loved demigod and, like many other people, I wanted to pay tribute to him. Now, when the wound is no longer fresh, I wanted to watch one of his most famous horror roles. I think we all kind of thought that David Bowie was an immortal beauty anyway. Besides, this is another movie that it is probably hard to believe I have not seen. The Hunger is a cult film although some of its stars are not too keen on it. Even David Bowie loves it but thinks it might be too bloody.

David Bowie’s contemporary and collaborator Freddie Mercury once sang “Who wants to live forever?” Of course, most of us would raise our hand before we hear the rest of the deal out. Eternal life is attractive when we all fear death but there is no such thing as a free lunch. Vampirism often comes with a dramatic loss of quality of life. When you have to hunt for sentient beings in order to obtain your next meal, your social standing and sanity come into question. There is also a burden of secrecy along with that eternal life. Also, there is no promise of a good and happy eternal life. It is definitely a deal that would give me pause but it is hard to accept.

This movie was immediately more punk rock and new wave than pretty much anything I reviewed this month. I mean we start with the song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” as sung by Bauhaus in the middle of a club atmosphere. There are plenty of sunglasses and spiky hair and I dig it. This is a sexier vampire movie but is way trippier than most stuff I have seen. The beginning felt kind of like a music video but it definitely set the tone for what I was about to see. There are a lot of fast edits and artsy shots used in the film that ends up being very disorienting which is not a bad thing for a horror film. They definitely knew how to set a tone in this movie. I guess if I had to apply a label to this movie it would probably be New Wave Goth.

Bowie is on point in this movie. He is great as a brooding vampire which is not far from what we all thought he might be. Bowie is just an impossibly charming performer who had an iconic look and it is impossible to look at anybody else when he is on the screen. Catherine Deneuve plays Bowie’s vampire paramour but she is actually more of a main character than he is. She is stunningly beautiful and she has such an alluring voice to go with some amazing eyes. I certainly believed that she was a powerful, ageless vampire. They both also really successfully portray how bored vampires must be after centuries of life. Susan Sarandon plays a human doctor who gets wrapped up in a relationship with both vampires. She plays her part straight and is actually the most fascinating character to me because she is the outsider among outsiders.

Overall this is a really weird vampire movie. Most vampire movies follow a victim trying to protect themselves from a vampire attack but this movie is different. This follows the lives of the vampires just as much and maybe more than the humans. It is definitely intended as a more erotic film but most of that is more implied than explicitly shown. The camera lovingly lingers on details in a very beautiful yet creepy way. The makeup effects are very well done and they use a very Jaws method of hiding the monster when it comes to vampires in this movie. I also have to applaud the LGBTQ and addiction issues brought up in the movie as well. It is definitely something different from a lot of what I watch but I still recommend it because it is so different.

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2 Responses to “The Hunger (1983)”

  1. Halloween 2016 Wrap-Up | Wolf of Words Says:

    […] The Hunger (1983) 3/5 Stars – Rated R […]

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  2. Movies Explained Badly | Wolf of Words Says:

    […] A woman fights the effects of aging. Answer […]

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