Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Suck It!" Day Three - The Hunger

A little late, but that's what backdating is for. :D

If a Bonnie Tyler music video were ever made into a movie, it would be this one. The incredible lighting, the fashions, the dancing, the doves ... Tony "Top Gun" Scott's The Hunger brought vampires to the 80s. And in true 80s fashion, our bloodsucking protagonists are the most fabulous, artistic, glamorous people in New York City.

The Hunger

We see David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve bring a couple of hipsters home and kill them with their matching amulets-cum-daggers. See, unlike other vampires you've seen, these guys don't have the traditional elongated canines. But they still have a unique mode of killing. We eventually learn that they've been together for a couple hundred years, ever since she was in a corset and he was in a powdered wig. John (Bowie) starts to notice that he's showing signs of aging, and though he's been outwardly 30 for a couple of centuries, in less than a week he goes from young to very, very old.

As it turns out, Miriam (Deneuve) has been around since the time of ancient Egypt, and John is the latest in a long line of her companions, all of whom were with her for two or three hundred years before aging just like John has. However, being vampires (though not pure ones like Miriam), they cannot die. Miriam keeps them, and eventually John, in coffins in the attic, still alive.

After John is, um, put into storage, Miriam strikes up a friendship - and soon more - with a doctor named Sarah (Susan Sarandon). And it's here that The Hunger joins the proud tradition of lesbian vampire stories. Miriam turns Sarah into a vampire, intending to make her the new companion, but Sarah doesn't take to the killing lifestyle. In a climax that doesn't make much sense, Sarah tries to kill herself, an act which for some reason destroys Miriam's powers and turns her into what all of her former lovers now are.

This movie is very highly stylized, like many movies of the time, and it's quite possibly the smokingest movie I've ever seen. As in every three seconds someone lights a cigarette. It's not exactly a great movie, but it has achieved a cult classic status, and for good reason. Much of that reason, now that I think about it, is probably due to the rather famous Deneuve-Sarandon sex scene. But it's an interesting take on vampire lore, as Miriam is the only really true vampire in the story and presumably the last of her kind. I also love the idea of the price of eternal life, as experienced by Miriam's lovers and ultimately Miriam herself.

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