Blood-drinking immortal Miriam Blaylock realises her husband of the last few centuries is about to age rapidly, and targets longevity specialist Sarah as a replacement.
While it doesn’t quite refute the oft-proposed theory that any film would be improved by the addition of a gratuitous lesbian sex scene, The Hunger remains a baffling, obscure effort – too arty to work as a horror film, too pretty-pretty to be a character drama. Tony Scott’s first mainstream directorial credit, it’s the tonyscottiest vampire movie ever made, suffocating the horror with perfume commercial style.
Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie are sharply-dressed predators who drift around New York showing off their ankh switchblades and perfect cheekbones as they slaughter and suck off disposable nightclubbers between fluttering pigeons, swirling smoke, billowing curtains, elegant artefacts and screeching monkeys. As Scott pauses to admire the tasteful decor with which these killers surround themselves, the score ranges hiply between gloomrock (Bauhaus’s 'Bela Lugosi's Dead', inevitably) and erotic opera (the Flower Duet from 'Lakme').
The plot, from a novel by famous alien abductee Whitley Strieber (which is poorly-written but you’ll need to read if you want a hope of following the story), is shored up with bits (especially the ending) borrowed from the much-better (and sexier) Daughters of Darkness.
Dick Smith contributes excellent make-up effects which produce a horde of inexplicable zombies for a finale which goes beyond incomprehensibility into realms of the abstract guaranteed to have you howling for the screenwriter's blood. Despite arch affectations, it's kind of fun, memorable for its chicly absurd lesbian scene between elegant Deneuve and an unashamed Susan Sarandon and a classic bit of medical paranoia as Bowie, told to sit in the waiting room until the doctor can see him, ages two hundred years.
All style and no anything else, especially plot coherence.