The Hunger (1983) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's thoughts in white:

Tony Scott is Ridley's younger brother. Although Ridley has won the lion's share of the post-season hardware, and has directed some of the most memorable films of the past few decades, Tony is actually the more stylish and practiced director.

Are you surprised that I said that? It is, like any opinion, debatable, but I feel quite confident that it is correct. Do I think Tony is a better director? Hell, no. Films speak for themselves.


Tony Scott

Ridley Scott


Oscar nominations: 0 Oscar nominations: 3


Ridley's list is obviously more impressive. He has been nominated three times for the best director statuette (the three films with asterisks), and those aren't even his best films! Ridley's list can be broadly summarized as a roster of good to great movies.

Tony's list is a roster of style without substance, but stylish they are, marked by chiaroscuro lighting, meticulous storyboarding, beautiful cinematography, artistic genius ... all within often unwatchable movies. The Hunger fits neatly into that description.

It is a vampire story about an immortal Egyptian princess who lives off her slaves by feeding off their blood. The process grants them immortality, but makes them entirely dependent on her for youthfulness. Eventually, she places them in vaults where they continue to live and eventually to age into advanced decrepitude, but cannot die.

I guess the plot description makes it sound something like a horror film, but it really isn't. The Hunger is an art film placed within the shell of a horror plot. The set design and lighting effects are stylish and consistent. The entire film seems murky and dark, and is presented entirely in muted blue-green hues, so muted that the blue-green is nearly grey, and the entire effect is similar to a black and white film. There is very little dialogue, with some scenes seeming to drag on forever without any words. Scene after gloomy scene is punctuated with odd facial close-ups and somber classical music.

In fact, The Hunger was such a completely gloomy and artsy-fartsy film that it almost stopped Tony's career before it began. In the early 80s, Hollywood was importing more and more of the British directors (Ridley Scott, Adrien Lyne, Alan Parker) who had become the masters of their own universe - the UK's brilliant and highly stylized advertising films. Tony was the next in line, and had been tentatively selected to direct 1984's Starman. When the suits at Columbia saw that The Hunger was basically a Greenwich Village arthouse film with less-than-zero commercial appeal, they dropped Tony off the short list for Starman and handed the project to John Carpenter.


  • Ann Magnuson is topless in a scene just before David Bowie kills her.
  • Catherine Deneuve's body double shows breast and buns (no head, of course)
  • An unknown actress is seen nude from the rear as she exits a swimming pool
  • Susan Sarandon is topless in a sex scene with Deneuve.

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen anamorphic

  • stills gallery

  • full-length commentary by Susan Sarandon and director Tony Scott

For lovers of celebrity nudity and film erotica, the film does have a sex scene between possibly the two most famous women ever to do a lesbian scene together: Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. This scene is characteristically artistic and inexplicit, but it does feature some clear toplessness from Sarandon.

So the film has that goin' for it.

Apart from that scene, it can be a movie to admire, but a very difficult one to like. I predict you will have the following reaction when you watch The Hunger: "Wow, he's really a talented director, and he really put a lot of thought and work into that. But I hated the sumbitch."

Tuna's thoughts in yellow:

The Hunger (1983) was Tony Scott's first feature film after an earlier career making U.K. commercials, and the film represents an early use of the MTV style of film editing which was then in vogue in the U.K. Although set in Manhattan, it was filmed in London. It was most notable for what was then an eyebrow-raising lesbian love scene between Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. The first 20 minutes are pure Scott visualization, and contain almost surreal imagery, but a plot does slowly emerge. Deneuve is centuries old, and feeds on human blood -- the blood hunger. She lives with her current soul mate, David Bowie. Sarandon is a doctor researching the aging process. While Deneuve's soul mates are indeed immortal, at some point in their lives, they begin an accerated aging process that makes up for the several hundred years of no aging. When Bowie starts to age, he seeks Sarandon's help, thinking she might have a cure. Sarandon ends up being the omnisexual Deneuve's replacement for Bowie.

The style is no longer as jarring to 21st century eyes because the film's innovations are now commonplace, but the very strong imagery still impresses, and the makeup effects still hold up. Contemporary critics despised The Hunger, and the public stayed away in droves, but IMDb readers have it at a respectable 6.1 of 10, which is evidence of the fact that it has gained a real cult following over the years. 

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C (Tuna) to  C+ (Scoop). Scoop says, "It is for an elite audience, but is an impressive arthouse movie. It has lots of style, but is also morbid, gloomy, and slower than molasses in winter."

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