OTHER HUNGER SEASONS
OTHER SCARY SHOWS
THE HUNGER would like to think of itself as something of a TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED with sex. Half hour stories of the supernatural in which some actress is going to shed her top and simulate having a good time. Sadly, the stories aren't up to the standard of that classic series of tales with a twist and what we are left with is rather sorded soft-porn with only the occasional glimmer of quality coming through.
Season opener The Swords has a sense of the surreal and catches the imagination with its mix of sex and pain whilst A Matter of Style injects some much needed comedy into proceedings. The Secret Shih Tan has an interesting concept and plays it through to a twist ending that is quite predictable. High points, though are the intriguing mental patient meets vampire tale of Fly By Night and the bewitchingly fun tale of Room 17.
Each story is prefaced by Terence Stamp wittering on with some nonsense that may (or may not) have anything to do with the plot at hand and the show is saddled with the most irritating opening sequence we've ever come across.
It aims for style over substance, but there isn't too much of the former and virtually none of the latter. By the end, you're likely not to be hungry for more.
An American ne'er do well comes to London to avoid drug rehabilitation and falls in with a couple of homosexuals who take him to one of their favourite nightclubs. There he encounters a novelty act in which a woman has swords pushed through her without suffering any apparent injury. The act's other half offers the girl to the american at a very reasonable price and an affair follows, with tragic results.
THE HUNGER was a 1983 vampire movie with lashings of sex and style and missing a whole lot of sense, narrative and action. This television spin-off seems to want to follow the film's template closely enough to emulate even its faults if this first episode is anything to go by. The plot is back of a postage stamp stuff and still needs some faux lectures from Timothy Spall to pad out the half hour running time. There is no surprise in the tale and so there is no suspense getting there. Amanda Ryan manages to make an effect other than taking her clothes off as the vulnerable (emotionally, anyway) girl destined to come to a sticky end.
This first episode is directed by Tony Scott with all his usual obvious visual flair, but his treatment of the homosexual characters and the gay scene is crass in the extreme.Written by Howard Rodman
Directed by Tony Scott
Menage a Trois
A young nurse comes to work for an old woman suffering a wasting disease. She shares the house with the handyman. A relationship develops, but one that seems to flourish only when the old woman is asleep and which seems to change the young woman over time whilst the old employer grows ever more cheerful.
Karen Allen makes for a memorable old monster in this episode, which also features future James Bond Daniel craig. Again the plot barely sustains the half hour, but at least the dialogue between the principals is better and the cast make more of it than there is actually there.Written by Jordan Katz
Directed by Jake Scott
One young man ignores the stories he hears about an old man and his young female companion. He pursues her, but when he finally gains his goal, he finds that the price he has to pay is much greater than he could have imagined.
This episode is much closer in storyline, or outcome at least, to the original film than any of the others. Director Russell Mulcahy, however, manages to create none of the atmosphere that marked out HIGHLANDER, nor to make his characters interesting, let along appealing.
The creature effects at the end are not very effective, even if the whiplash camera motion tries to hide the fact.Written by Steen & Audrey Salzburg
Directed by Russell Mulcahy
The Face of Helene Bournouw
A blond woman prowls the city, leaving broken hearted corpses and mutilated artists in her wake. A journalist tracks her, but somehow never manages to see her face. Until one night he corners her and learns her secret.
Although the device of never letting us see the face of the woman who is capable of shattering people's lives simply by walking out on them is a clunky and obvious one there can be no doubt that it works. By the end of the story, you really want to see Helene's face. It is revealed, but certainly not what you might be expecting.Written by Cordwainer Bird
Directed by Richard Cuipka
But at My Back I Always Hear
When a young woman offers herself up to her teacher and she is rejected, she refuses to accept it, accusing him of summoning her with his mind. It is true that he has had a fantasy about her, but never showed anything to her to encourage her. When she threatens his family, he decides that he will have to go on the road to protect his wife and child.
Initially intriguing by suggesting a possible mind link or reversal of roles in this episode, but it soon becomes a story of madness that has neither and explanation nor an ending.Written by David Morell
Directed by Patricia Rozema
A beautiful woman roams the world, looking for the perfect meal, but as she is a monster that feeds on human flesh the people of Paris need to worry. She herself is haunted by the sound of pursuing footsteps, the footsteps of the hunters. Then she meets a rather unusual man.
Telling the story from the point of view of the monster is not something that happens every day, and giving this one a fear of the human pursuers is an interesting idea. Beyond the initial idea,however, the plot is light to the point of nonexistant and the monster effects are far from special. It also has a very weak finish.Written by Cordwainer Bird
Directed by Jimmy Kaufman
A supermodel runs from her latest fashion show because she feels that the photographs are gradually ripping away her soul. She runs back to the man she once loved, the photographer who discovered her, but can he resist taking any more pictures of her.
A telling examination of the pressures that the current obssession with celebrity puts on those that fall within the spotlight? This episode would like to think so, but it's really just another thin plot padded out by some gratuitous groping and not very memorable dialogue. The final moment is fluffed to the point that the whole episode is completely undermined.Written by David Schow
Directed by Christan Duguay
An unsuccessful salesman books into a sleazy motel and switches on the adult cable channel. When the girl on the screen starts talking to him, he suspects a setup, but she proves to be able to move beyond the barrier of the screen and make all of his wildest dreams come true. Once he is obssessed with her, she makes a proposal.
This is the most efective story of the show so far. The idea is simple enough, but it plays out well and benefits from a beguiling performance from Kim Feeney as the cable girl and a solidly crumpled one from Curtis Armstrong.Written by David Schow
Directed by Christan Duguay
The Secret Shih Tan
The Secret Shih Tan is the Holy Grail of cookery books, a legendary tome whose recipe is described as the taste of God. A master chef is offered the chance to read the last copy of this sacred text in return for cooking the meal described within. He baulks when he finds that the main ingredient is a willing human woman.
The erotic possibilities of food have been explored many times in books and films, so there is little here that is new. That said, however, the story is neatly paced and played well enough by Jason Scott Lee. Russell Mulcahy makes the cooking process squirm inducing without showing too much. The twist in the tale is obvious enough, but works.Written by David Preston
Directed by Russell Mulcahy
The Other Woman
A fashion designer is attracted to his new student's innate skills. His wife gets upset about it. Somebody dies.
There is nothing supernatural nor twisty about this story, so it's a bit of a surprise that it is included in this series. There are no surprises and very little interest. Joanna Cassidy ('BLADE RUNNER's Zhora) moves through it all with ease.Written by David Taylor
Directed by George Mihalka
A newly-minted priest is sent to a remote, snowy parish where his dreams are tortured by a gorgeous woman who shows him what love can really be. All he need do is give her his soul.
The love of God versus the love of a sexy woman. Hardly a real contest you would have thought and nothing here convinces that Clarimonde (lovely to look at though Audrey Benoit is) could so easily usurp the divine from a man's soul.Written by Gerald Wexler
Directed by Tom Dey
A newly-married couple check into an out of the way inn in the middle of a snowstorm. They make passionate love in the bridal suite and then the husband disappears. He doesn't just get lost, he actually disappears. The bride is desperate to find him, but the lady innkeeper seems to have secrets that she does not want to give up.
There's nothing surprising nor exceptional about this episode. It's fine in its way, but doesn't stand out. It is, however, a massive step up from the previous Clarimonde.
It also briefly features Colin Ferguson who would one day go on to be the sheriff of a town called EUREKA.Written by Graham Masterton
Directed by Erik Canuel
The Sloan Men
When Herman brings his girlfriend home to meet his parents, she is in for a bit of a shock. His mother explains, in the absence of the men, that they are both being manipulated by creatures with strong mental powers. Together, the women set out the destroy the source of the Sloan Men's power.
Superman Margot Kidder appears as the desperate mother, but the story is poorly constructed, the flashbacks shoehorned in to provide the mandatory dose of soft-core titillation. The twist ending is visible a mile off.Written by Bruce Smith
Directed by Darrell Wasyk
Plain Brown Envelope
A young woman off looking for America is picked up by a trucker whose truck is decorated like a plain brown envelope. When it breaks down miles from anywhere they take shelter in the back, which just happens to be filled with sex toys.
The basic premise is made crass and tacky by the inherent silliness of most sex toys (light-up dildos anyone?), so a great deal of effort goes into manking the sex interludes more sensual than graphic. Having got into the situation, however, nobody seems sure how to get out again and so the ending we're left with is completely obscure, something that actually improves it.Written by Terry Curtis Fox
Directed by Michel David
A Matter of Style
Neville isn't quite dead, he's a vampire. He has bigger problems than that, he's a virgin. His vampire mentor wants him to get goig on the drinking blood thing, but he's hung up on the getting laid thing and tries out some of his new powers. Being a woman, though, isn't as easy as he expected.
To date, there's not been a lot of comedy in this series. It's been aiming more for suspense, scary and sexy. A pretty good central performance by Chad Lowe helps raise this out of the ordinary thanks to the humour, which certainly makes for a welcome change.Written by Craig Miller and Mark Nelson
Directed by John Hamilton
A middle-aged architect is drawn to a young girl that he sees in the street. He starts to fantasise a relationship with her, but the boundaries between fantasy and reality start to blur.
A blurring of fantasy and reality is fine, but blur with a wide enough brush and you end up with just a blur and that's what happens here. It gets confusing as to who is even having the fantasy and that leads to a lack of interest.Written by Terry Curtis Fox
Directed by Darrell Wasyk
I'm Dangerous Tonight
A woman working at a fashion house in Paris is shacked up with a man wanted for a crime that carries the death penalty in the United States. She steals dresses to impress him during their lovemaking, but when she takes the latest, special dress it possesses her. She kills the designer and shops her lover to the cops. Except he's not a cop.
A possessed dress that makes those who touch it evil is an intriguing enough idea, but the story fails to capitalise on it. True, the woman murders her boss in a prolonged fight scene and shops her boyfriend, but it hardly seems evil somehow. That's because of the muddled storytelling. The creature responsible for all this is never shown clearly, but that's because it doesn't look convincing even blurred.Written by Gerald Wexler
Directed by Russell Mulcahy
Fly By Night
A female soldier in an asylum since her wounding in an enemy cave complex sees that the man brought in that night is, in fact, a vampire. He promises that he can help her overcome her mental problems if she confides in him. They have only until morning, when the sun will strike him in his cell.
Given that the plots on most of the episodes of this show so far have struggled to fill out their running time, this is a surprisingly oblique and fascinating tale. The characters are compelling and the soldier's story is gradually revealed, woven into the present-day scenario, culminating in a surprising ending that could have done without the obligatory sex.
For once, the writing, direction and performances of Kim Feeney and Giancarlo Esposito come together to create something a bit special.Written by Terry Curtis Fox
Directed by Pierre Dalpy
Two lovers play sexual roleplay games to spice up a housewife's life, but when she starts to get bored with the whole thing, her lover turns to more desperate measures to keep her interested.
A rather dull, dingy and altogether forgettable story that is made to seem even less by its following the much, much better Fly By Night. It's forgotten by the time that the credits have finished rolling and the final shot is altogether desperate.Written by Marianne Ackerman
Directed by Howard Rodman
A man goes to a lighthouse to get away from the woman who betrayed him. There, he goes mad, conjures up a rose, kills a man and then discovers the song of the siren.
Bruce Davidson goes mad so quickly in this episode that there is no hope of connecting with him, or his story. Is he really creating the rose and the woman or is she really a siren or is he just completely out of his head? To be quite frank, it's just to difficult to care.Written by Bruce Smith
Directed by Darrell Wasyk
A River of Night's Dreaming
A female prison inmate escapes from a sinking jail transporter to find sanctuary in a broken down house with an overbearing woman who is keeping her sedated and torturing the other woman in the house. Or is she?
Lesbianism raises its head for the first time in the series, something of a surprise that it has taken this long considering that it was a central plank of the film that inspired the series. Sadly, neither premise nor execution here is inspired, just muddy and topped off by a twist that is no twist. Great title though.Written by Bruce Smith
Directed by John Warwicker
A female security guard based on a run down site discovers that some of the squatters there are a little more bestial than they at first seem to be. She decides to use that to take a revenge on her fickly boyfriend.
That the plot in an episode of THE HUNGER is slender comes as no surprise, but that it barely runs to ten minutes screen time before being completely predictable and therefore tedious is. Usually it takes a bit longer than that. This was certainly not the best note on which to sign off the last episode of the season.Written by Gerald Wexler
Directed by Jeff Fazio
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