tony scott’s ‘The hunger’ (1983) – a surreal vampire opera.

The stylistic directing of Tony Scott in his commercial reel is what attracted producers and prominent actors to The Hunger (1983). “I’d much rather be part of a film that comprises, and, is derivative of film’s that you’ve seen.” Susan Sarandon said. Tony Scott found an ethereal vampire quality to the goth-rock band, Baushaus, and his lead singer Peter Murphy, using his performance like a music video over the opening title sequence of the movie. The Hunger is a film-noir, vampire, lesbian erotic-horror picture. The first 45-minutes are a futuristic, edgy, energetic opera. In 1983, the shock-value of lesbian eroticism in a film was eye-opening for its daring behavior and fearlessness. Tony Scott was desperate to make a movie, so he turned the script into an intelligent vampire-horror film. The television commercial world and the rock music video world are what Tony Scott contributed to cinema upon his entry into the film industry with this picture in the early ’80s. A surreal, strange, self-conscious style of fashion and erotica that was never conceived from the script, but executed artistically; esoterically and criticized by Hollywood as being self-indulgent.

French actress Catherine Deneuve and British singer and actor David Bowie on the set of The Hunger, directed by Tony Scott. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Hunger was originally meant to be shot on-location in the Empire State. But, due to budgetary constraints, Tony Scott shot the film in the London Winter, serving as a believable stand-in for New York City. The style of the film is cutting edge; European. London was a popping city in 1983. The fashion and the lighting of this film are what radiate from the screen, representing the era. Tony Scott surrounded himself with art directors and production designers containing professional backgrounds working with Italian Vogue magazine among other mode sources. In terms of look and style, The Hunger is unique for its time with its fads and trends. For this particular subject matter of Lesbian-Vampire/Horror, the methods utilized by Tony Scott ultimately proved appropriate, even with all the mania and craze surrounding the films surreal erotica.

French actress Catherine Deneuve with British director Tony Scott on the set of his movie The Hunger. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

Tony Scott’s The Hunger became a cult-movie because it was visually arresting with its mode, fashion and flavor. The mood and ambience of the air must have been inspired by his brother Ridley Scott’s stylistic use of smoke from Blade Runner (1979). The Hunger has an operatic feel to it, but perhaps it lacks the necessary grit. It’s more of an unearthly, freakish opus. Catherine Deneuve and Rock ‘n Roll legend David Bowie are ice-cold on the outside with molded expressions, juxtaposed with extraordinarily vibrating internal states of mind and body.

French actress Catherine Deneuve on the set of The Hunger, directed by Tony Scott. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

An underlying theme of the film pertains to proper cycles of Rapid-Eye Movement sleep in relation to longevity of life. David Bowie’s character suffers from an accelerated aging process. When he sits in the doctor’s surgery waiting room, David Bowie’s aging accelerates and we can see with special effects and make-up how the artistic aging process occurs on-screen. The interesting thing about this scene is its subtlety; the aging doesn’t necessarily happen right before your eyes. It’s gradual, and juxtaposed with surveillance video where Susan is experimenting with a slowly disintegrating, insane monkey in a laboratory. These images are intercut with the same thing happening to David Bowie in the arm chair at the doctor’s office as he ages to over 300 years old within a matter of minutes.

British singer and actor David Bowie on the set of The Hunger, directed by Tony Scott. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Hunger plays out like a rock music video, with cutting styles and techniques that were considered revolutionary in 1983 (techniques, of course, today are considered the norm.).Moreover, it is believed that prior to the 60-day shoot in London, there was minimal rehearsing done. Noteworthily, the process of rehearsal for a director is imperative for reasons contrary to popular belief. The main concept behind the practice is to loosen everyone’s anxiety, through voicing their opinions and airing their ideas on a freewheeling roundtable discussion without any timelines to adhere to, or deadlines to meet.

French actress Catherine Deneuve and British singer and actor David Bowie on the set of The Hunger, directed by Tony Scott. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The infinite detail in the shots of the film, in terms of costume design, wardrobe and film lighting must have been a lengthy process during production because The Hunger looks like a mystical painting. The framing of the film emulates the medium of painting; there’s a canvas being filled-up within this audio/visual motion picture. In addition, the movie was shot in anamorphic; for television you had to extract out of anamorphic from a 4:3 aspect ratio onto 16:9, and it resulted in magnified images appearing as if zoom lenses were used during filming. This magnified, experimental look gave The Hunger a classical feel, making it an art house motion picture.

American actress Susan Sarandon and French actress Catherine Deneuve on the set of The Hunger, directed by Tony Scott. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The intimate scene between Catherine and Susan wasn’t about sex; it was about transference of blood from one human being to another since Catherine needs a soulmate in life as a vampire. She wants to pass on the longevity of life to her chosen victim, Susan. On the surface, the two engage in what appears to be lustful. The underlying theme represents otherworldly connections of vampires; bodies and souls with a burning desire to live forever; until the end of time. The seduction is important to the plot due to the transfusion of blood. It’s not a love scene; it’s an opera of immortality; a parable of promiscuity; a sexually transfused vampire serum. Since love scenes have been overdone, it’s refreshing to see a director use it as a route to something else. The mirrors, bedsheets, wind, blood, nudity, lust, all lead to the end of the sequence as the film cuts to a raw steak being cut with blood coming out of it. Susan Sarandon smokes a cigarette inside of a restaurant, drinking a glass of red wine while eating dinner with her boyfriend, thinking about the love she made with Catherine Deneuve. The sex cuts to a raw steak with a sense of relief and a visual gag; the perfect ending to such an erotic sequence.

British singer and actor David Bowie and French actress Catherine Deneuve on the set of The Hunger, directed by Tony Scott. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The 2k transfer on Blu-ray was made from the original film negative (which became faded, washed-out and sepia toned during its processing and development). Tony Scott managed to put it back together, resulting in a contrast of light, density of color and opulence, even though there was a poor film negative to work from. The Hunger is a directorial debut that reveals the essence of Tony Scott’s artistic soul. It’s a dark, stylish, blood sucking, erotic vampire film-noir; a cult-film not enough people have seen. It stars one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century – the legendary David Bowie – with the Italian-rooted Susan Sarandon, and the French actress/model, Catherine Deneuve. The Hunger is stylish, explicit, and it’s Tony Scott at his most artistic. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when we’re reminded that after studying as an artist at the Royal School of Art in London, Tony Scott carried over his creative flair and poured it into his directorial debut, expressing his most authentic taste as an artist. The Hunger is a modish, stimulating and gothic picture. It’s vogueish, chic, arousing, elegant, bloody and lustful.

The Hunger grossed $5,988,322. It is available on Blu-ray and On Demand.

Tony Scott’s The Hunger (1983) Classic Trailer | HD

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