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The Hunger is a British film from 1983, the first to be directed by Tony Scott. The screenplay was written by Ivan Davis and Micheal Thomas, and adapted from Whitley Strieber's novel.
Susan Sarandon plays Dr. Sarah Roberts, a researcher in premature aging who is contacted by John Blaylock (David Bowie) who is in fact the immortal companion of Miriam, a beautiful vampire played by Catherine Deneuve. John was led to believe that he and Miriam would share a life of eternal youth when they met in the 18th Century and is most distressed by the fact that his body is suddenly deteriorating. Miriam, however, has known for some time that she needs a replacement companion. And Sarah is about to walk through the door...
The Hunger contains examples of:
- Age Without Youth: Miriam's companions each suffer this fate after about 300 years or so of age with youth.
- And I Must Scream: The fate of John and all Miriam's other companions is to be shut in coffins as their bodies age and become more and more frail but never actually die. At the end, they come after her en masse and manage to perish -- leaving her to experience their former fate for herself.
- Animal Testing: Sarah's investigations into the effects of premature aging, and methods of prevention, on chimps.
- Beauty to Beast: John doesn't wear the effects of Rapid Aging well.
- Blondes Are Evil/Blond Guys Are Evil: Miriam and John, respectively.
- Blood Is Squicker in Water: Used to great effect, particularly immediately after the opening sequence.
- Depraved Bisexual: Miriam.
- Disturbed Doves: They seem to be permanent residents at the Blaylock home.
- Downer Ending: On the one hand, John and the other lovers take revenge on Miriam and are able to perish while she experiences their And I Must Scream fate for herself. On the other, rather than dying, the turned Sarah moves to Paris (taking the imprisoned Miriam along) to start anew with lovers of her own. The novel's ending, in which the revenge fails, Sarah dies, and Miriam starts over is no picnic either.
- Dramatic Necklace Removal: The ankh-knife pendants.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Averted, hard, by Sarah's test subjects.
- Exposition of Immortality: The audience is privy to John's memories of Miriam turning him and Miriam's memories of Ancient Egypt and a previous companion.
- Horror Hunger: What the title refers to.
- Kick the Dog: John and Miriam are friends with a precocious teenaged female violinist named Alice, with whom they play classical music. And then John kills her to drain her blood.
- Lesbian Vampire: Miriam is a bisexual variant.
- No Immortal Inertia: Miriam doesn't have to worry about this. Her lovers, on the other hand...
- Our Vampires Are Different: No fangs, Miriam has Egyptian origins and prefers a more cutting approach featuring blades concealed in ankh-shaped pendants.
- Rapid Aging: When a companion's decay sets in, it wastes no time.
- Really 700 Years Old: Miriam was around when the Sphinx was constructed, and John doesn't look too bad for 200, at least at first.
- Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Type 3. It excises the novel's lengthy flashbacks to Miriam's past (which reveal her kind existed before humans did) and many doomed lovers, but effectively condenses and focuses on the present-day story, though the ending is significantly altered.
- Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness: Don't let their lovely looks fool you. Miriam and John are definitely on the nasty end of this scale. They must feed every week and all victims will die in the process. A person converted by Miriam — it requires a special process — will not be able to resist their newHorror Hunger for long, even if they were a good person before.
- Stalker with a Crush: Miriam towards Sarah.
- The Beautiful Elite: Miriam and John, but they avert Beauty Equals Goodness. (The novel goes a step further, revealing that Miriam is part of an Inhumanly Beautiful Race and has to tone down her beauty to walk amongst humans- though she also has to wear a wig, as her own hair is short, scanty fluff.)
- Urban Fantasy: The story is set in New York City, to be specific.
- Vampire Dance: The memorable opening scene features Miriam and John picking up a goth couple in a club to take home while Bauhaus perform "Bela Lugosi's Dead".
- Vampires Are Rich: Miriam and John have enough wealth amassed that they can live a lovely, undisturbed existence in their townhouse...why, they even have their very own incinerator in the basement to dispose of all those bodies.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods: Oh yes.
- Wicked Cultured: Miriam and John embody this trope in their elegant surroundings and clothing, for starters. In the film only, it is suggested that they were initially drawn together via their shared gift for playing and appreciation for what, in the present day, is regarded as classical music, and when Miriam makes to seduce Sarah, it's over The Flower Duet and fine wine.
- Would Hurt a Child: John, who murders the young violinist who came to the house regularly for tutoring. It's also implied (outright stated in the novel) that Miriam is grooming the girl to replace him.