Tony Scott’s vampire movie was critically lambasted on its release; style over content was the common phrase used. In retrospect, The Hunger has lashings of style, but it’s all in tune with the content, which is way more interesting than a run-of-the-mill studio picture. Miriam Blaylock (Catherine Deneuve) is a six thousand year old vampire, while John (David Bowie) has been her lover for three hundred years. John is beginning to show his age, and goes for a consultation with Dr Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon); the scene in which he ages rapidly in her waiting room has genuine poetic power. Sarah gets involved, but makes her a target for Miriam’s affections. With a small role for Willem Dafoe, The Hunger skillfully uses vampirism as a metaphor for not only for addiction but also sexual politics; a meditative look at how lovers prey and are preyed on by their own fear of aging.
Quentin Tarantino’s spec script was an ideal vessel for the late Tony Scott to bring his cinematic style to; it’s something of a mystery why True Romance flopped. It’s a love-story against a drug-war setting in Hollywood; Clarence(Christian Slater) meets Alabama (Patricia Arquette) in Detroit, and the two of them take off with a suitcase of stolen money belonging to Drexl (Gary Oldman). On their way to a hotel-room shoot-out, they encounter a gallery of colourful characters, from Dennis Hopper , unexpectedly wholesome as Clarence’s dad, to Brad Bitt and an addled stoner, with Clarence receiving constant advice from the ghost of Elvis (Val Kilmer). Tarantino’s dialogue crackles, the showdown between Hopper and Christopher Walken is one of the tensest in cinema history, and there’s a poetry and bonhomie that somehow sits nicely with the spiky violence. Tony Scott was sometimes accused of style over substance; True Romance plays its defiantly romantic hand out beautifully.