THE HUNGER

Total Film - - Contents -

Vin­tage ’80s eroti­cism. In other words: drapes. Lots of bil­low­ing drapes.

OK, The Hunger is a vam­pire movie. But given a cast headed by Cather­ine Deneuve, David Bowie and Su­san Saran­don – and with Schu­bert, Ravel and De­libes melo­di­ous on the sound­track – you can tell this won’t be your av­er­age schlock-hor­ror fang-fest. Di­rect­ing his first fea­ture, Tony Scott la­dles on the style, all moody shad­ows and gauzy bil­low­ing cur­tains, kick­ing off in a New York night­club with Bauhaus singing ‘Bela Lu­gosi’s Dead’. This, you can sense, is a film to be ad­mired for its sheer classy vis­ual panache… but not taken too se­ri­ously.

Deneuve plays 3,000-year-old Egyp­tian vam­pire Miriam, whose lat­est con­sort (Bowie) is show­ing omi­nous signs of bod­ily de­te­ri­o­ra­tion af­ter a mere 200 years. Saran­don is the geri­atrics spe­cial­ist he con­sults

– and who soon sup­plants him in Deneuve’s af­fec­tions.

High­lights are some ele­gantly sen­sual nude en­coun­ters be­tween the two women – and a scene in Saran­don’s wait­ing room where Bowie, cour­tesy

of im­pres­sive work by the make-up team, ages 50 years in 10 min­utes.

De­spite the NYC set­ting, The Hunger was largely shot in Lon­don, with just a few Man­hat­tan ex­te­ri­ors for lo­cal colour. Eighty-five-year-old si­lent star Bessie Love, who started out act­ing for D.W. Grif­fith in 1916, takes a tiny fi­nal role; and the young Willem Dafoe, in only his third movie, gets a single line as a preda­tory street-punk who tries to hit on Saran­don. Philip Kemp

“It’s def­i­nitely time for a bloody snack.”

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