Hunger, The (1983 with David Bowie)

Poster for the movie "The Hunger"
R 97 min - Horror, Thriller, Romance - 29 April 1983
Our rating:

So, you're a beautiful, centuries-old vampire and have been married to the same man, John Blaylock (David Bowie), since powdered wigs were in fashion. You spend your days playing chamber music and your evenings on the club scene, hunting prey. But suddenly your soul mate isn't looking so perky—in fact, he's rapidly beginning to show his age. What's an alien species to do?

All vampire movies have "rules," and here are a few from 1983's The Hunger: You don't have fangs, so you usually open your victims' veins with a sharp little ankh worn around your neck. Daylight does not kill you. You sleep in a regular bed, like a mortal. You often do drink - wine.

When the party appears to be over for John, he and his wife, the still-youthful Miriam (Catherine Deneuve), both attempt to talk to Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon), a doctor studying the causes and effects of aging. John's efforts to secure an appointment fail, but Sarah and Miriam become very, very friendly.

The Hunger is beautifully designed and shot, a stylish and stylized treat for the eyes, if not exactly food for the brain. Tony Scott's first full-length movie is a perfect early-'80s example of the influence of MTV and advertising on filmmaking—but, contrary to the way that sounds, not in a bad way. Scott (Ridley is his brother) says in his comments that the film was not the first to come out with the look it has, but that it was an early one. He tells us this style is now passé, and it's certainly true that you don't see it nowadays. But enough time has passed that The Hunger's visual elements are, for the most part, a pleasure to behold.

The story is another matter. The ending is hokey, and some of the plot doesn't make sense, even within its own logic system: Why does John age while Miriam does not? Who made Miriam? What is that one weird flashback all about? And finally, hasn't anyone told the Blaylocks that smoking causes wrinkles?

The answers to some of these questions can reportedly be found in the source material—a novel by Whitley Strieber, who also wrote the book versions of Wolfen and the putatively autobiographical alien-abduction film, Communion.

For the cinematic rendering of the story, Scott chose atmosphere over exposition. In retrospect, this may not have been such a bad idea. What we have now is a film with cult status, as opposed to a completely forgettable, run-of-the-mill vampire movie.

Director:  Tony Scott
Producer:  Richard Shepherd
Composer:  Denny Jaeger, Michel Rubini
Director of Photography:  Stephen Goldblatt


Production Details

Production Companies:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Peerford Ltd.

Release Date:  29 April 1983

Running Time:  1 h 37 min

Genres: Horror, Thriller, Romance
Country:   United Kingdom

Language:  English

Tagline: Nothing Human Loves Forever

Budget and Box Office takings where known

Revenue:  $5,979,292