The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983), starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon, is the story of a love triangle between a doctor who specializes in sleep and ageing 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.
Howard Blake was musical director on The Hunger. Although a soundtrack has been available since the film’s release this issue omits much of the music used in the film. Blake also composed the orchestral score for Flash Gordon (Mike Hodges, 1980) alongside rock band Queen, and the Oscar winning animated short film of Raymond Briggs‘, The Snowman (1982).
Bowie was excited to work on the film, but was concerned about the final product. He said “I must say, there’s nothing that looks like it on the market. But I’m a bit worried that it’s just perversely bloody at some points.”
The Hunger was not particularly well-received upon its initial release, and was attacked by many critics for being heavy on atmosphere and visuals but slow on pace and plot. Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, described the film as “an agonizingly bad vampire movie”. Camille Paglia writes that The Hunger comes close to being a masterpiece of a “classy genre of vampire film”, but that it is “ruined by horrendous errors, as when the regal Catherine Deneuve is made to crawl around on all fours, slavering over cut throats.”
However, the film has found a cult following that responded to its dark, glamorous atmosphere. The Bauhaus song Bela Lugosi’s Dead plays over the introductory credits and beginning. The film is popular with some segments of the goth subculture and inspired a short-lived TV series of the same name. On 23 September 2009, Warner Bros. announced it planned a remake of the film with the screenplay written by Whitley Strieber.
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