DVD
The Hunger

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon
Warner Home Video
RRP: 12.99
Z1 57505
Certificate: 18
Available 18 October 2004


An ageless vampire woman called Miriam and her human husband John live a loving relationship caught between the old world of classical music played in a period-decorated house and the modern scene of neon night-clubs, drink, drugs and sex. When John begins to age rapidly he feels he has been let down by the woman's promises that they would be together forever. He visits a research scientist investigating the ageing process, but she fails to take him seriously. Already Miriam is looking for a new lover, and finds one when the scientist woman arrives at the house after realising her earlier mistake...

I'm not a huge fan of David Bowie's music (the best being his Ziggy Stardust days) but I never fail to be fascinated by his film roles. I think it's probably because he chooses outlandish films. This one isn't outstanding by any means, but it is strangely compelling. It's not normally difficult to offer an opinion on a film; however, The Hunger ranges from slow (people sitting around while melancholy music is played) to inventive and stylish.

The opening of the film will possibly make most casual viewers switch off in the first ten minutes. The then current 1980s club with music so loud you can't make out what it is, silly New Romantic clothes, make-up (especially on the men) and big hair makes for an inauspicious start. With the worst over with, we are then presented with a good use of light in the house, long billowing curtains and doves in the room with the coffins. Talking of which, there is a nice scene in which Bowie's character is placed in a coffin aged but still alive, and put next to the coffins containing her previous lovers through the ages (hence they will be with her always). However, when they turn on her in the end to conclude their own misery, how can they all suddenly walk when most are rotting corpses who have lain in coffins for generations?

The 18 certificate is undoubtedly for the explicit sex scenes (examples of both heterosexual and lesbian couplings) than the gore, of which there's very little. Based on a novel by Whitley Strieber (who, you'll remember, made good publicity from his Communion book and film by calling it a true story), this is essentially a vampire story with a difference, although you won't hear the V-word in the entire film.

The Egyptian cross necklace with a knife inside is a nice idea. As well as a weapon it displays the history of the vampire woman and flies in the face of the established fear of crosses.

Ty Power

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£12.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
£10.99 (MVC.co.uk)
   
£8.99 (Powerplaydirect.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.