Reviews

Vampires don’t glitter, dammit!
Reviews of legitimate vampire films/books

The Hunger

by anonymous

 

This 1983 vampire film deviates significantly from the traditional night-stalking undead tradition, but in a much more clever and stylish manner than recent films. Starring David Bowie (and worth a recommendation for that alone), Catherine Deneuve, and Susan Sarandon, this slick and sexed-up film is subtly disturbing rather than in-your-face frightening.

The opening scene features Bauhaus performing “Bella Lugosi’s Dead” as Beneuve and Bowie get kinky in black vinyl clothing. Some graphic monkey attacks are spliced in, which the animal lover in me could have lived without (caution: more monkey images to bother fellow vegetarians arrive later in the film). While I do feel the mood set with these initial moments soon falls away, I still thoroughly enjoy them (sans monkey scenes) for the pure sex, blood, and vamp-ness conveyed in true old-school 80s AIDS-doesn’t-touch-us sexy goth fashion.

The film’s energy slows quickly enough to induce whiplash, but soon gathers interest once again. John (Bowie) is … aging. Miriam (Deneuve) is appropriately repulsed by this anomaly in her lover. John sets out to discover how an immortal could fall prey to this affliction and, in the process, meets Sarah Roberts (Sarandon), a doctor specializing in the effects of aging. The three of them are drawn into a triangle of disgust, lust, and desperation.

The relatively slow pace of the bulk of this film has dissuaded some viewers, but it is definitely worth watching. The stylish, film noir camera angles are pure art. The soundtrack will make you wax nostalgic for your smeared black eyeliner. Sarandon, as always, proves that sexy is as sexy thinks it is, bug eyes or no. Overall, this is a thinker’s film, disturbing not due to graphic images or in-your-face frights, but the presentation of concepts regarding love and the inhumanity of its ending, regardless of the form that end might take.

I find this film to have a Blair Witch Project feel in that the impact comes some time after watching it. I have seen it several times over the years and, every time, I find myself dwelling upon the images and themes for days afterwards. Ultimately, this film is a vampire flick coupled with an anti-love story. What happens when we’re tired of love? Is the act of heartlessly discarding someone who may still be devoted to us fall under the heading of mercy, necessity, or cruelty? Where does that line blur? If we really could love someone forever, would we truly want to?