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.”