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The Hunger
AKA: Begierde

USA/GB 1983, color, 93 min.
Director Tony Scott
screenplay James Costigan, Lucen Davis, Michael Thomas
based on the novel by Whitley Strieber
Photography Stephen Goldblatt
Music Michael Rubin, Danny Jaeger
Producer Richard Shepherd
Catherine Deneuve Miriam Blaylock
David Bowie John
Susan Sarandon Sarah Roberts
Cliff de Young Tom Haver
Dan Hedaya Allegrezza
also starring Ann Magnusson, William Dafoe, u.a.

Miriam Blaylock is a beautiful, attractive but also somehow mysterious woman. Her secret is that she is a some thousand years old Egyptian vampire. Together with her lover John, an also more than 200 years old and nevertheless great-looking British aristocrat (how old is David Bowie in reality?) she lives in a huge New York apartment to which the couple lure their victims in order to drink their blood.

But then the same thing that has already happened to his predecessors happens to John: he rapidly grows older. Sarah, a gerontology researcher who is working on a project which is supposed to slow down this process, is asked for help. But it's already too late to save John. Miriam puts him on the attic where all her Ex-lovers lie in their coffins, cursed to stay there for eternity without any hope for death's relief until the end of Miriams reign as vampire.

In the meantime Sarah has become a slave to Miriams charm and has been made her new partner. But she has difficulties to adapt to her new situation and tries to kill herself. Miriam wants to put her on the attic as well, but there's already the other undead waiting for her. They have planned a rebellion and throw her from the balcony. Miriam turns into dust within minutes and the others can finally die. Sara is her successor as ober vampire with Miriam in the coffin as her first undead victim.

"The Hunger" was the debut of director Tony Scott, who is, by the way a brother of the renowned Hollywood director Rydley Scott ("Bladerunner", "Gladiator"). Before turning to movies, this man was mainly busy in advertising, which can be seen clearly when you watch this movie, but it does not do any harm at all. The pictures are perfectly put in scene and sensitively captured by the director of photography Stephen Goldblatt and sometimes even have a real ethereal effect. All this is accompanied by a well-done sound track by Michael Rubin and Danny Jaeger.

The one or other might consider this some boring kitsch. The German magazine "Der Spiegel" for example judged this movie "chick, empty and death boring". Well - we see this completely different. The three leads De Neuve /Bowie/Sarandon are brilliant. The story is really kind of strange, the end even illogic. Whitley Strieber's novel was not really followed by the letter, but the story is told complexly and fascinates with great pictures. You really have to see how David Bowie turns into a scary scull within moments.

At that time the movie also broke with some taboos which has made it a cult movie among lesbians. And there's another aspect that makes "The Hunger" so special, which is that it completely renounces to all kinds of vampire cliches and symbols such as garlic, crucifixes, etc. (and a lot of directors failed completely when trying to do so) and thus marking the end of the classic vampire movie. This is why in the very beginning of the movie we see the band "Bauhaus" performing their gothic hit "Bela Lugosi is dead", a well-done broad hint. Unfortunately Tony Scott only managed to make one single other movie that is worth seeing, which is the Tarantino adaptation "True Romance. The rest was cheep Hollywood stuff such as "Top Gun" or "Beverly Hills Cop", which is a pity!

Just one more note at the end: "The Hunger" was the debut for William Dafoe in a supporting part. Later we could see him as blood sucker Max Schreck in "Shadow of the Vampire". Well, this is how one thing comes to the other....

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