46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2005
I had The Hunger on VHS and was always a fan of this movie. Although slightly arty, it ticks all the right boxes for visuals, mysterious storyline, good characters and the right actors playing them.
The ending of the movie has always been slightly confusing(especially when you discover the book has a vastly different ending and offers no answers). Thankfully this DVD has an excellent commentary from director Tony Scott, and actress Susan Sarandon. The ending IS explained!!
The extras on the DVD, while not exceptional, are good. The commentary, as mentioned above is interesting and quite amusing in places, with lots of information on not just the scenes you are watching but on the process of film making, and some of the off screen problems and fun. The Stills gallery is quite nice too.
If you're a fan of the movie, or indeed any of the actors involved then you'll love this DVD. It loses one star as I hoped there might be a few more little extras on the DVD...but that's being REALLY picky!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Hunger is a film that has grown in stature since its release, to the point where it is now regarded as a kind of cult classic, unique, and uniquely of its time. Back in 1983 you couldn't see how much - or how enjoyably - it epitomised that decade in terms of the look - the clothes, the hairstyles, the indoor haze, the pop video look that suffuses the whole film, but not to its detriment, as was thought then. It looks as though Pat Benatar might step out at any moment with an owl on her hand, and it would be a photo shoot for Tropico ... And all those billowing drapes are so overdone, in a way, as though the director Tony Scott had seen Cocteau's La Belle et la bete and wanted to get something of that mystery, plus the doves from the French horror classic Eyes Without A Face ... The whole vampire thing has a lot to do with style, going right back to Nosferatu. Here the combination of these actors caught at that time seems strangely meaningful, in the context of time that the film is about. David Bowie's film appearances always involve him barely acting at all in some totally fantastical setup, but his casting opposite Catherine Deneuve seems impossibly glamorous. Deneuve has a preternatural beauty in this film: a look to take your breath away, really, and marvellously set against the more "of this world" beauty of Susan Sarandon. They make a fantastic on-screen duo, being not without a certain similarity, which the styling downplays, Sarandon being all action and almost boyish energy, where Deneuve could almost turn into a swan - maybe a black one ...
In addition there is the very effective use of music - not just Bauhaus in the club scene at the beginning, where Deneuve and Bowie appear in shades and black leather, but in the use of classical music - Schubert trios and Ravel's Le Gibet are vital to the effect, as is even the violin part of Lalo's Piano Trio - the mixing up of elements is amazing, but it really works, any holes in the plot just adding to the mystery of the whole film. You just have to let the atmosphere and strangely beautiful images work their hypnotic effect.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2009
I really ejoyed the style and looks of this movie, but the sound quality is so frustrating! Most of the time I had the volume up at max - and yes I have pretty sharp hearing - but I still had to struggle to make out the dialogue. This was the case on the old video, so I guess it was unrealistic to hope for better.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2000
I love Bowie. I love Vampires.
Bowies acting is usually at it's best when he plays himself. And who could be better suited to playing a 400 year old 20th century Vampire than a pre 'Lets Dance' Bowie. Along with Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon Bowie shines as the modern day blood sucker who's blood sucking days are coming to an end. A semi-plausible story line sees Bowies character struggling to sleep, an all too familiar sign that his immortality may not be as immortal as he thought.
The most outstanding scenes are those where Bowies character ages almost 80 years in a few hours - Bowie aged 90 is a very scary sight. For me, waiting in a doctors surgery has never been the same again.
Deneuve and Sarandon are excellent together, with a love scene that makes the blood boil (and spill). A beautiful soundtrack of Ravel piano music accompanies many scenes.
Music by Bauhaus and Ravel - who could ever ask for more.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2012
The sad news of Tony Scott's suicide yesterday has led to the expected praise of many of his action movies like Crimson Tide and Top Gun, but his debut, the cult vampire movie The Hunger, has actually aged pretty well too. I bought it a month ago to replace an ageing VHS copy. It was widely derided upon it's release in 1983 as glossy and over-stylised (rather like brother Ridley's reviews for Blade Runner when that film opened), a vacuous soft-porn horror that made Catherine Deneuve do things the great actress shouldn't have been made to do. The film tells of two New Yorkers, John and Miriam Blaylock, who live in luxury and crave blood. Miriam (Deneuve) is an old vampire (although the term vampire is never mentioned) who goes back to Egyptian times. John (a rather good David Bowie) is the latest in her line of lovers who never seem to get beyond a few hundred years before rapidly ageing, although cursed to immortal life. This starts to happen to Bowie and brings the pair into contact with a young doctor, Sarah (Susan Sarandon), who is studying premature ageing in apes in a New York hospital. The bisexual Miriam is instantly attracted to her and sees her as a successor to John.
It's not a long film (90mins) and a sub-plot involving a cop investigating a missing person could have been expanded to add a little more tension to the situation the Blaylock's find themselves in at the expense of some rather extended sections in the hospital. Certainly compared to the stunningly edited first 6 or so mins, including the opening nightclub scene featuring Peter Murphy and his band Bauhaus, it moves rather slowly therafter. But the film has stayed visually stunning and its looks have not dated, though perhaps there's a bit too much billowing curtain (even in the attic) which leads to comparisons with TV adverts. Deneuve looks gorgeous throughout, dressed in a sort of 1940/50s style most of the time, all sharp couture, sharper hairstyles and veiled hats; Bowie acquits himself well and the make-up job as he ages is still one of the best, and Sarandon smokes her way through her confusion as Miriam weaves her spell on her (its surprising looking back how much smoking goes on in this film, even among the medics at her hospital!). It's also a film that is well-integrated with it's music score, mixing Ravel and Schubert with some effective synth squeals from David Lawson.
The DVD has a good stills gallery and an audio commentary from Sarandon and Scott. It is clear to me that The Hunger has undoubtedly had an effect on later vampire films or TV series (think about Channel 4's excellent Ultraviolet, with it's depiction of the threat called "Code V" - never vampirism - and it's attention to the blood biochemistry detail, or Being Human's differentiation between the younger vampires and The Old Ones). Remember Tony Scott with his action films for sure, but dont overlook this excellent and subtle horror debut either.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2008
I have adored this film since I was a young teenager and having just watched it again, I enjoyed it even more. The combination of Deneuve, Bowie, Sarandon and Bauhaus results in an effortlessly charismatic and other-worldly atmosphere, but just as importantly as the horror story it tells, I think this film beautifully brings the 1980s back to life.
Beautiful and odd, perfect in spite of its faults, this is a hugely enjoyable film.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
As a devotee of quality Vampire literature and film (I'm nearly 50 now and have been fascinated by the mythology of the revenant since I was around 8), I'm confident to say that this is the finest Vampire film I've ever seen, the only runner up being 'Martin' by George Romero. Until someone of the directorial ability of Cronenberg, Kubrick or Roeg makes movies of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's 'Hotel Transylvania'(or any of her stunning Le Comte De Saint-Germain novels) and Suzy McKee Charnas' 'The Vampire Tapestry', this adaptation of the eponymous novel by Whitley Strieber will remain unchallenged. What amazes me most, though, is how many young Vampire fans - even Goths in thier mid-twenties - have NEVER seen this fine feature.
I invoke literature here, as anyone who understands narrative knows, novelists are more often than not superior writers to those who focus on screenplays. And the old cliche that 'but that won't work in a film' is simply nonsense. Why can't a film be plotted like a novel? It's still narrative. Film-makers are often constrained by commercial concerns of second and third parties in a way that novelists are less victim to. And don't give me 'the director's vision' - yes, it's vital, but the vision comes from the ideas seeded in the narrative created by the WRITER.
Strieber is not the finest prose stylist in history - he is instead, a master of bestseller style writing, in the manner of King, Dan Simmons, George R R Martin and the like, but he is better at reaching into the soul and stirring emotions than King and less workmanlike that Simmons at his best. 'The Hunger' stands alongside the novels I've mentioned (and 'Live Girls' by Ray Garton) as one of the best post-Matheson Vampire novels ('I am Legend'). It has every human emotion in it - love, lust, fear, anger, despair, joy, elation, hatred, greed, guilt, shame and so on - and is a very exciting read, even for those used to high literary modernism and the classics. It's brilliantly told and less breathlessly camp than the work of Anne Rice (don't get me wrong, 'Interviw with the Vampire' is superb, a work of genius) and its historical flashbacks rival Yarbro's Saint-Germain books too, especially 'Out of the House of Life'.
Scott does a fine job with the adaptation he directs, which is stylised, Romantic (note large R), sexy and tragic...and frightening. His 80s high budget approach graced the Tv ads of the time - this was an opulent decade in the media of course and visually his technique makes me think of a soft-filtered Michael Mann (Scott understood buildings, for example). In this film, he rivals the two great SF works of his brother Riddley ('Alien' and 'Blade Runner'). The opening sequence, with Bowie and Deneuve in a club, picking up a couple of young postpunks while Bauhaus play 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' in a cage is both postmodern and classical and timeless (somehow), the shots of Bowie parting the girls' stockinged thighs, the flashes of a subway train in motion, Deneuve's leather military cap, spandex...perfect. Call yourself a Fangbanger or a Goth? You MUST see this...
The transfer is very good in my opinion - I always thought the film was very mistily shot, but that was just my VHS, so I can't wait for a decent BluRay version. Aside from all the vampire stuff, if you love 80s Horror (and the early part of that decade was a golden age for fright films), you must buy this.
Incidental music is very good - plus the appearance of Iggy Pop/David Bowie's 'Funtime' from "The Idiot" works well ('last night I was down in the lab/talkin' to Dracula and his crew,'). The cast are all superb - Bowie is always excellent when properly cast (as he is here), Deneuve is as icy and impeccable as ever and Sarandon sparkles. If only Neil Jordan had been able to cast 'Interview with the Vampire' as well as this - Cruise, Pitt, Slater have their merits, but are too Hollywood for a truly authentic vampire film to my way of thinking (plus, Lestat is blonde, is he not?).
So here's your viewing/reading list : this film and the book it derives from, 'Martin' by Romero, the novels of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Suzy McKee Charnas and 'Live Girls' by Ray Garton. I'm assuming you've tackled Stoker, Byron, Polidori, LeFanu,Rice...get this under your belt, then get back to 'True Blood'(which is fun, but only ever approaches art in the tender moments between Sookie and Bill in season 1). Did you think all this Buffy/'Twilight'/Laurel K Hamilton stuff was new? Which reminds me, read 'Sunglasses After Dark' by Nancy Collins if you want to cover the original female vampire hunter.
A great, great film that every lover of the living dead must own. Totally authentic and no silly, speedy special effects.
Stephen E. Andrews, author, '100 Must Read Science Fiction Novels'
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2003
To understate my impression, this is perhaps one of the most engrossing films i've seen in years. Every second was captivating, not only were the characters portrayed well by an excellent cast and script, but the sceens were beautyfull and the camera work unique.
The plot centers around a couple, they're immortal vampires living in New York in the early 1980's, they're very chic and their house is filled with an atmosphere like a mausoleum for the rich. This film captured the superficial edge of the decade with a glitering vision of fashion and style, all mixed in with the desire to never age. However, it isn't self indulgent with the topic, and it never favours any of the characters, instead it shows how lonely and detached they have become over the centurys. The plot moves slow, and some people have criticized it because of this, but if it were fast the whole atmosphere wouldn't work.
I won't spoil any of the plot, but you will be suprised by it and the twists it takes before the end...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2014
This film has a very interesting premise but swiftly degenerates into lesbian erotica which I have no issue with, when its done well, but in this film is is very mediocre.
Despite this the acting is first class, especially from Catherine, David and Susan and the atmospheric opening with Bauhaus playing in a club really starts the film off to a great start.
Overall, not the best vampire movie I've ever seen but far from the worst, its premise is very original and as such kept my interest despite its slow deterioration.
The ending, required by the studio also lets the film down, but if you just pretend the last scene didn't happen then it really makes the film a much better watch.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2006
I quite like this movie. It's not one I'd recommend to my friends, but it's the first directorial effort of Tony Scott so it's worth a look to see how he cut his teeth. For the most part it's a case of style over substance, all billowing net curtains and slightly open blinds letting in the light. David Bowie is perfectly cast as an ageing vampire, while Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon smoulder in their lusting performances. It is dull in parts and some of it has dated badly, but it's still a good yarn, and you just don't get too many flicks like this one.