Gimme Something to Watch: The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983)


Our good buddy Rusty Shackleford wrote this guest post to implore that you watch 1983’s The Hunger.

Greetings Toileteers! It’s your pal Rusty here. Long time commenter, first time writer, and big fan of all things toilet-related. I’ve decided to make my jump into the toilet bowl through the Gimme Something to Watch/Read series, where I hope to convince you all to join me on my journey to watch and read weird movies, television series, and perhaps some books and whatnot. Hopefully you all enjoy it, and I’ll write more. Without further ado, let’s get weird and groovy, and I’ll tell you all about Tony Scott’s debut feature, The Hunger.

For a quick synopsis, Catherine Deneuve plays an immortal vampire named Miriam Blaylock (you should note here that if you ever meet someone with the surname Blaylock, they are 110% definitely a vampire and you should peace the fuck out). Her longtime companion is named John, and he’s played by none other than David Fucking Bowie. Basically, he helps her with picking up victims that they both feed on, which, depending on what vampire films you dig, may be more or less sexual than you’re used to. Wikipedia groups the film into the “erotic horror” genre, so for me this is more sex than my innocent Arlen, TX-bred eyes are used to seeing.

The film opens with Bowie and Deneuve at a goth club searching for potential victims before settling on a young couple. At the club, Bauhaus is performing their song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” which I’d never heard before and is decisively awesome. You should watch these three minutes even if you don’t decide to watch the rest of the film because it is ridiculously 80s and goth and hilarious/wonderful.

The HungerHere’s the catch of the film: Miriam has taken countless lovers during her immortal existence, and eventually their human bodies fail them. Their vampire soul will live forever, but at a certain point their human body basically begins to age at an incredibly rapid rate. This happens to David Bowie the next day after devouring that young goth couple, and we unfortunately do not get as much Bowie as I had hoped for. Therefore, Miriam is tasked with finding another lover. She settles on a doctor, played by Susan Sarandon, who studies a disease that causes bodies to rapidly age. If you’re not seeing the parallel here, I’m afraid there is no hope for you.

In short, Miriam seduces Sarandon’s character, Dr. Sarah Roberts, which leads to a nude lady-on-lady sex scene that of course involves Miriam biting Sarah and them exchanging blood, thus beginning Sarah’s transition into a vampire. To answer your question, yes, there are boobs, but SHAME on thee if you watch a 96-minute film because there’s, at most, two minutes of boobs. You will be disappointed. Also, the David Bowie sort-of sex scene with some random woman is better because as a straight man I will never not be attracted to Bowie. Proof of his beauty below.

The Hunger 2I don’t want to give away anything about the ending, since after all this is Gimme Something to WATCH not Gimme Something to Know Everything About and Not Need to Watch. However, I will say that the ending is, for the most part, pretty cool, and there are a couple unexpected moments. It’s not all fine and dandy, so these bisexual vampires, as lovely as they may be, do not get to live happily ever after. Miriam gets some of the shit that she had coming for her and there are some neat sequences when the score and the visual style combine.

As to WHY you should watch this film, here’s my pitch: it’s not a traditional vampire or horror film. In fact, it is very stylized, which should really not be surprising given Tony Scott’s best known work is a brilliantly executed piece of cinema that should ignite the fire in the loins of any warm-blooded human. The Hunger relies heavily on strange cuts that provide a parallel between Dr. Robert’s research with rapidly aging and sometimes bloodthirsty monkeys and Bowie’s similarly swift demise and his vampiric lust for blood. Scott seems more interested in exploring the figure of the vampire thematically, as opposed to staying true to generic horror tropes. For ME, this was enjoyable, but I understand that this is not for everyone. One should also be wary of this film if they’re picky about their vampire mythology, as the vampires here don’t sleep in coffins, sometimes appear awake when the sun isn’t quite down (although the cinematography insists on a blueish tinge throughout the film, so it’s sometimes tough to discern whether or not it is exactly daytime), and appear to drink wine. I’m not an expert on vampires and since this isn’t strictly a horror film, this didn’t bother me.

The coolest thing to me about the film is the sound design. Not only does the score feature some classical pieces that work well thematically, but it also relies on some jarring sound effects and quick cuts in the audio that make some of the climactic moments of the film feel more like a carefully constructed montage than a simple horror sequence. I feel like it’s the type of film that would reward repeat viewings so that it could be more carefully examined. Anyways, feel free to watch it and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading, flushers.

Also since this is loosely a music blog and not a vampiric-toilet fetish group, and also in case you were too much of a poophead to not click the earlier link, here’s a clip of Bauhaus performing “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” from the beginning of the film. UNDEAD! UNDEAD! UNDEAD!

Thanks for dropping by Rusty!

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