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Horror Movie A Day: THE HUNGER (1983)
You’ll be back when the hunger knows no reason. And then you’ll need to feed.

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.] To be perfectly honest and up front, I wanted to like this movie a lot more than I actually did. I don’t think THE HUNGER is a bad movie by any means. David Bowie, naked Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve, Dick Smith’s amazing make-up work and Tony Scott’s first time filming a feature all combine into a bizarre, unique movie that is about as far away from standard and formulaic as can be.

It’s an operatic film that delves deeply into the seduction and sensuality of vampirism with an eye towards some pretty heavy social commentary. Much has been made of the allegory to AIDS and while I can definitely see that, I think foremost on Tony Scott’s mind was an exploration of addiction. You have addiction to youth, addiction to love, addiction to pleasure, all which can be framed quite well on a vampire tale. Basically the film is about Catherine Deneuve’s character, Miriam. She’s the head vampire as it were and for some reason those she infects (always people she loves) reach a point where they begin rapidly aging and have to be secreted away. For they can never die, only rot and rot and rot. David Bowie’s character, John, is her most recent lover, partner in life and passion. When we meet them, they are both incredibly young, on the hunt in an ‘80s emo/vamp nightclub. Bowie’s starting to show the first signs of aging, which begins with horrible insomnia. Deneuve knows her latest lover is going to end up like all of her previous, but this time there’s a little hope. Susan Sarandon’s character, Sarah, is a scientist,, exploring aging and it’s ties to sleep. She just came out with a book and her experiments are coming close to yielding real results. This catches the eye of both Deneuve and Bowie, who decide to test the fences, see how real her research is. But they don’t have much time. Bowie is aging more and more rapidly, an effect done by make-up maestro Dick Smith, known for being the best in the business for aging make-up. His work on Max Von Sydow in THE EXORCIST and Dustin Hoffman in LITTLE BIG MAN is not only great for its time, but still holds up today. His work in THE HUNGER is no exception.

The film really does bring up some really fucked up ideas. My favorite aspect was what Deneuve does with her lovers. Like I mentioned above, none of her lovers can die, but they waste away to nothing, living out a hellish eternity. Know where they live out their golden years? In boxes stacked together in the attic. Wow, how fucked up! “I love you. The rest of you, be nice to him… I love you all… don’t mind the daddy longlegs and the mothballs…” The movie has all that going for it and I appreciate it. I just didn’t fall head over heels in love with the world and characters. I won’t say I wasn’t involved, but I think I can nail how much I was involved. When David Bowie was on screen, I was really into the movie. His wonderfully understated performance, the desperation as he begins to grow old and the incredible Dick Smith make-up really hooked me into the movie. When he’s packed away and put in the attic, we’re left with the second half of the movie being Susan Sarandon’s temptation and fall into being Deneuve’s new lover. And it’s hot, don’t get me wrong. Lesbian vampires, I mean… come on. I am a man afterall. But as characters go, I was more interested in the desperation of Bowie than the more standard infection and denial stuff in the second half. Tony Scott’s visual flair is definitely on display here. He plays around with editing and audio to give the audience a different experience than they’re used to. As a result, the movie is raw. The filmmaking isn’t as jittery as his most recent work has been or as fucking nuts… keep in mind, they still probably edited on film when this was made and you can’t AVID fart without the AVID. You can tell Scott is experimenting a bit here and that definitely helps this from being a dull experience. Final thoughts: The atmosphere, mood, make-up and performances are top of the line, but I felt a little detachment once Bowie left the picture. I would definitely recommend the movie to most, it’s just not one I was fully able to give myself over to. However, do keep an eye out for a two-line early role from a famous actor wanting to use the phone...

Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October: Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here! I’ve added yet more titles to the list, so be sure to click above and check out the new titles in the drawing pool. Now it’s time to pull the next HMAD! Next up is:

Sweet! Vintage horror, William Castle at that! Should be fun! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
October 7th: The House Where Evil Dwells
October 8th: Memories of Murder

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