Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Hunger

Last night, on the recommendation of my friend Jenna, I rented and watched The Hunger. She sold me on the idea with three basic points: (1) it's a vampire movie, (2) it stars Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon, and (3) there is a lesbian sex scene between Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon.

I love vampire movies. Unlike most other movies of the horror genre, vampire movies tend to have a certain erotic beauty to them. Zombies, mummies, and other monsters are ugly and basically all they want to do is kill you in as grotesque a way as possible. I admit, this style of horror can be fun, but vampires are so much more aesthetically pleasing. They move with grace, they tend to wear very stylish clothes, and their porcelain skin portrays a youthful beauty frozen in time. Basically, they're fashion models who can't go out into the sun and might one day kill you. Basically they're fashion models.

And they kill you by sucking your blood! I can imagine a no more sensuous and erotic way to die. The hunger they feel is a kind of lust, a bloodlust, and, more often than not, they lead up to their final kiss of death with a bit of very intense foreplay. A vampire would be the best and last lover you'd ever have. The "petit mort" that the vampire would give you would in fact be death itself.

Clearly, I was sold mostly on the first point, but the cast - especially Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie - were a major factor, as well. Frankly, I took the lesbian sex scene as a given.

For a vampire movie, the plot is somewhat unique. There's a bit of an Egyptian twist to the mythology and, blasphemously enough, the vampires can go out in daylight, but I still found it fairly boring. While the story is not formulaic, it's certainly not gripping either; it moves rather slowly and doesn't bother to express itself well with all the time that it takes.

What Jenna didn't say when she recommended this movie was who directed it. Therefore, I only understood afterwards - when I discovered that the director was Tony Scott (brother of Ridley) - why it seemed to be so heavily influenced by Blade Runner, which had just come out the previous year. Poor Tony quotes his brother so heavily - diagonal shafts of penetrating light in airless, dusty rooms; excessive cross-cutting between the present and the characters' memories - that one wonders if he has his own vision at all. It's all very beautiful in its own way, but it doesn't really say anything.

The movie is really more of a music video than anything else, which, I suppose, makes it a fairly fitting vampire movie to come from the 1980s: a lot of glitz and visual splendor, but little to no substance. Thankfully, Tony (who must have loved that his name was more "normal" than his brother's when they were growing up, but probably hates it now) has since moved out of his brother's shadow and has a few decent movies of his own (Top Gun, Spy Game) under his belt. Maybe now he can give the vampire genre another try.


Blogger The Noon said...


September 10, 2005 9:45 PM  

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