The Hunger (1983)

The Hunger (1983)

Taglines: Nothing human loves forever.

The Egyptian vampire lady Miriam subsists upon the blood of her lovers. In return the guys or girls don’t age… until Miriam has enough of them. Unfortunately that’s currently the case with John, so his life expectancy is below 24 hours. Desperately he seeks help from the famous Dr. Sarah Roberts. She doesn’t really belive his story, but becomes curious and contacts Miriam… and gets caught in her ban, too.

The Hunger is a 1983 British-American erotic horror film directed by Tony Scott, and starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon. It is the story of a love triangle between a doctor who specialises in sleep and aging research and a vampire couple. The film is a loose adaptation of the 1981 novel of the same name by Whitley Strieber, with a screenplay by Ivan Davis and Michael Thomas, and is Scott’s feature directorial debut. The film was screened out of competition at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.

About the Story

Miriam Blaylock (Catherine Deneuve) is a vampire, promising specially chosen humans eternal life as her vampire lovers. As the film begins, her companion is John (David Bowie), a talented cellist whom she married in 18th century France. In a night club in New York, they connect with a young couple who they bring home and feed upon by slashing their throats with a bladed Ankh pendant. The bodies are disposed of by an incinerator in the basement of John and Miriam’s elegant New York townhouse, where they pose as a wealthy couple who teach classical music.

The Hunger (1983) - Catherine Deneuve

Approximately 200 years after his turning, John begins suffering insomnia and ages years in only a few days. John realizes Miriam’s promise that periodically killing and feeding upon human victims would give him eternal youth was only partially true: he will have eternal life but not eternal youth. He seeks out Dr. Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon), a gerontologist, alongside her boyfriend Tom (Cliff De Young), who specialises in the effects of rapid aging in primates, hoping she will be able to reverse his accelerating decrepitude. Sarah assumes that John is a hypochondriac or mentally unbalanced and ignores his pleas for help. As John leaves the clinic in a rage, Sarah is horrified to see how rapidly he is aging. John rebuffs her once she tries to help him.

One of the Blaylocks’ students, Alice Cavender (Beth Ehlers), drops by their townhouse to say that she cannot attend the next day’s lesson. In a last attempt to regain his youth, John murders and feeds upon Alice, whom Miriam was grooming to be her next consort when she came of age, to no avail. John begs Miriam to kill him and release him from the agony of his decrepit body.

Weeping, Miriam tells him there is no release. After John collapses in the basement, Miriam carries him into the attic full of coffins and places him in one. Like John, Miriam’s former vampire lovers suffer an eternal living death, helplessly moaning and trapped in their coffins. Later, a police official comes to the residence, looking for the missing Alice. Miriam feigns ignorance and claims that her husband is in Switzerland.

The Hunger Movie Poster (1983)

The Hunger (1983)

Directed by: Tony Scott
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, Cliff De Young, Beth Ehlers, Suzanne Bertish, Ann Magnuson, Shane Rimmer, Bessie Love
Screenplay by: Ivan Davis, Michael Thomas
Production Design by: Brian Morris
Cinematography by: Stephen Goldblatt
Film Editing by: Pamela Power
Costume Design by: Milena Canonero
Set Decoration by: Ann Mollo
Art Direction by: Clinton Cavers
Music by: Denny Jaeger, Michel Rubini
Distributed by: Metro Goldwyn Mayer, United Artists
Release Date: April 29, 1983