I was just reading online that MGM is planning a remake of one of my all-time favorite movies, the 1983 thriller, The Hunger.
I hesitate to call it a "vampire" movie; after all, the "V" word never appears once in the film, there are no coffins or crucifixes, and the protagonists seem obsessed with seeing themselves in mirrors. But then again, if you were David Bowie and French national treasure Catherine Deneuve, why wouldn't you be gazing at your reflections all the time?
Bowie and Deneuve play John and Miriam Blaylock, an ultra-wealthy Manhattan couple who own a brownstone in Sutton Place, collect thousand-year-old antiques, and give classical music lessons to the spoiled rich girl next door. But like most beautiful people, John and Miriam have an eating disorder; once a week they go trolling in goth clubs and bars picking up young couples to slit their throats and drink their blood (no fangs for the Blaylocks...they carry little ankh-shaped knives on pendants around their necks). Miriam, we learn, has memories as far back as ancient Egypt. John she picked up in England about three hundred years ago, offering him the chance to live for ever.
Miriam, however, lies. While she goes on ageless century after century, the lovers she cons into becoming like her only endure a few centuries before--in the space of just days--their internal clocks speed up and they age centuries. Problem is, they can't die. These poor bastards turn into weak, living mummies which Miriam keeps locked up in boxes in her attic.
If you want to know the rest, rent the DVD. Rounding out the cast, however, is a young Susan Sarandon.
Don't expect the movie to explain why Miriam gets to live forever while all her lovers wither; the Whitley Streiber book it is based upon--which is really more science fiction than horror--explains that Miriam is one of the last survivors of a parallel, blood-drinking species. Transfusing humans can help them live longer, but not indefinitely like her. The movie throws all the boring science out the window and replaces it with what REALLY matters; billowing curtains, superb classical music, and the lesbian love scene to end all lesbian love scenes.
F$@k Twilight. Like the Swedish Let the Right One In, The Hunger is vampire cinema for adults. Granted, it hit me like a ton of bricks when I was all of 15, but it has lost none of its power in the hundred or so times I have seen it since then.
The only thing that has changed for me since then is my understanding of the metaphor at the heart of the film. As a kid, I thought it was about the horror of getting old (watching David Bowie go from 30 to 110 in a few short days is horrifying cinema indeed, and the best age make-up ever put on film). Today, I suspect it is about relationships. I know how Miriam feels. There are the yummy people that you pick up and devour in clubs (tossing the empties into the incinerator you keep in your basement), and there are the ones you fall for. You tell them (like Miriam) "forever and ever," but then they end up getting old and stale. Sure, you keep them tucked away in the attic, and go up to whisper to them sometimes in the dark (classic Miriam line, talking to her mummified exes, "I love you, I love you all"), but you are already out there looking for the replacement.
I used to feel sorry for John. Now i identify with Miriam.
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