Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Hunger, by Whitley Strieber

(hb; 1981: first book in the Vampire Life series)

From the inside flap:

"Miriam Blaylock, rich and beautiful, lives life to the fullest -- a house in Manhattan's exclusive Sutton Place, a husband she adores, priceless antiques, magnificent roses. But then John Blaylock, like all Miriam's past lovers, suddenly begins to age. Almost overnight, his body reveals the truth: he is nearly two hundred years old!

"Fearing the terrible isolation of eternity, Miriam stalks a new lover. She is Sarah Roberts, a brilliant young sleep researcher who has discovered the blood factor that controls aging and thus may possess the secret of immortality. Miriam desperately wants Sarah, for herself and for her knowledge. But to win her, Miriam must destroy Sarah's love for Dr. Tom Haver, who learns that his enemy is like no other woman who has ever lived. . . now or forever."

Review:

Melancholy, romantic, cynical, classic vampire novel, with characters whose time-salted wounds, secret or evident, infuse their present -- often irrational -- actions. Even cool-headed, predatory Miriam is not immune from occasional irrationality, justified as experience-based logic.

The Hunger is a hard to put down, atmospheric, emotionally-restrained and -explosive read that ably mingles the sweet and the rot: it could, very likely, prove to be a stylistic, cornerstone read for readers with tragic-Goth(ic) leanings.

Check it out.

Followed by The Last Vampire.

The Hunger, the film, was released stateside on April 29, 1983.

Catherine Deneuve played Miriam. David Bowie played John. Susan Sarandon played Sarah Roberts. Cliff De Young played Tom Haver. Dan Hedaya played Lieutenant Alleggrezza. Ann Magnuson played "Young Woman from Disco". Willem Dafoe played ""2nd Phone Booth Youth". Beth Ehlers played Alice Cavender. Rufus Collins played Charlie Humphries. Suzanne Bertish played Phyllis.

Goth band Bauhaus played "Disco Group" (performing "Bela Lugosi Is Dead").

Tony Scott directed, from a script by James Costigan, Ivan Davison and Michael Thomas.

A cable series, loosely linked to the film, began airing on July 19, 1987. It ran two seasons, its final episode airing on March 5, 2000.

David Bowie appeared in nine episodes (1999-2000). Terence Stamp hosted five episodes (1997-1998).

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