The Hunger

I thought I delivered a pretty good lecture to my class, although I was glad to return home.  I watched a Big Bang Theory episode with Leonard attempting to return a DVD and having to wear an itchy sweater.  I watched the Tonight Show episode from May 30, 1985, which featured Chevy Chase and Vanity.  I thought it was rather sad to see Vanity on television after her death.  I watched the DVD of “The Hunger,” the vampire movie that makes no mention of vampires in the dialogue.  The cast was good, with Catherine Denevue, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon.  Catherine Denevue was interesting in her cool and detached manner as Miriam, although I couldn’t see how she could live in an expensive city the way she did.  It seemed that she didn’t have the strongest command of the English language, which I thought was distracting.  David Bowie as John reminded me of his character in “The Man Who Fell to Earth” because he was a strange being who was vulnerable.  “Performance” was supposed to be an influence on the director Tony Scott, which was notable since Nicolas Roeg directed both “Performance” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”  Was that the reason David Bowie was brought in for this movie?  I thought his performance was self-conscious.  At the time this movie was in release, one of my friends liked the humor of the situation of the Bowie character aging while sitting in the waiting room for a doctor.  Some of the scenes with the research and the blood made me think of “Wolfen,” which wasn’t entirely surprising because both of these movies were based on books by the same author, Whitley Strieber. It seemed to me that vampire movies were rare back in 1983.  I became aware of them a few years later with “The Lost Boys.”  I guess we didn’t see much of same-sex love scenes, either.  Susan Sarandon had appeared in “Atlantic City” a couple of years before this film, and she had gained attention for some nudity in these films.  I don’t think I was convinced that she could be any kind of a doctor.  I couldn’t help thinking that there was something wrong with her hair.  I thought that her character, named Sarah Roberts, should have been stable and steady and dependable, and that wasn’t her look.  Two other recognizable people in the cast were Ann Magnuson, who was in “Desperately Seeking Susan” and “Making Mr. Right,” and Willem Dafoe, who stood briefly next to a phone booth.  David Bowie’s character John seeks out Sarah to do something about his aging body, but I don’t see what she could have done.  The only thing she had done was write a book.  I think the exit of John was something we didn’t want to see.  It turned the rest of the movie into a women’s movie, which was OK with some people because of the erotic moments, but I wanted to see all of the stars.  The ending is the major flaw in the movie because the ending is a mess.  I could see how Miriam could deserve a bad fate, considering that she deceived all those people, including John, for hundreds of years.  Sarah had turned into something resembling a heroin addict, and to go on living as she did would have gone against her principles of being a doctor.  However, a final scene sets up a possible sequel.  I couldn’t see “The Hunger II” ever being made.  A lot of people, including Roger Ebert, didn’t like the movie in 1983.  I was lukewarm about it.  I liked looking at it, but found it generally unexciting.  I think back on a movie like “Rosemary’s Baby,” which was very involving.  The movie now was a cult following.  I think I’d still rather watch “The Hunger” than most of the bad vampire movies that have been released over the past 33 years.  We saw and heard a lot of David Bowie in 1983, with “Let’s Dance” playing on the radio, and “The Hunger” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” in the theatres.  I saw him at the Oakland Coliseum when his concert tour came to town. I came to think of 1983 as his last great year.  Perhaps David Bowie’s recent death is making people take another look at his films.  There was certainly a revival of interest in his music.  I like looking back on these movies again, made in the days before CGI and cell phones.  Tony Scott’s career suffered after “The Hunger,” although incredibly he would go on to direct “Top Gun.”  He is now 68 years old.  His older brother is Ridley Scott.  What has happened to Whitley Strieber?  He is still living and is now 70 years old.  He wrote other horror novels, “Black Magic” and “The Night Church,” and the non-fiction book “Communion.”  I don’t know if I want to follow what he has put out over the Internet.  “The Hunger” was not the type of movie to give me nightmares, or maybe my age has something to do with that.  The movie definitely didn’t have an engaging plot.  I wasn’t inspired to stay up and think about the movie.  I just slept quietly, until I awoke in the morning and heard the baseball scores.  The A’s won a game at Yankee Stadium in 11 innings, with Mark Canha getting a big hit.  The A’s have suddenly won three consecutive games.  I kept hearing about Stephen Curry’s injured ankle.  I heard about the New York primary results.  I couldn’t see Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz winning the presidency even before Tuesday.  I am not accustomed yet to Frank Mallicoat not being there on the morning news on KPIX.  The new anchor has not won me over yet.  They probably should have redone the way they present the news to us instead of simply hiring a new person.  Some of the people who died on April 20 include Bram Stoker (1912), Don Siegel (1991), Cantinflas (1993), Giuseppe Sinopoli (2001), and Rubin Carter (2014).  Today is a birthday for Clint Howard (57), Jessica Lange (67), Ryan O’Neal (75), and George Takei (79).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 20, “Your Hit Parade” made its debut on NBC radio in 1935.  In 1976, George Harrison joined Monty Python onstage at the City Center in New York to perform “The Lumberjack Song.”  In 1981, the final episode of “Soap” aired on ABC.  In 1992, Madonna signed a $60 million, seven-year contract with Time Warner Inc. to form the new entertainment company, Maverick.

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