Hungered

kblack01To be honest, I’d never actually heard of The Hunger TV series (1997) before I bought the battered first season boxset in a second-hand shop… but it was cheap and it had pretty ladies on the cover and I liked the basic premise of a supernatural anthology series, so I took a punt. In the “making of” episode at the end of the final disc, the show’s creators seem to be under the delusion that their brainchild is smart, sophisticated and sexy… but (for the most part) I didn’t find it to be any one of those things. Granted, there were a lot of naked boobs on display, but knowing that every episode had a boob quota to meet sorta took the fun out of it for me. In  fact most of the episodes are about as “erotic” as a pack of nudey playing cards! I can’t say it struck me as especially “smart” or “sophisticated” either. Often entertaining, yes… but there really wasn’t very much meat to chew on, underneath all the sizzle. Just getting wooden actors to swap pseudo-intellectual dialogue while undressing in moodily-lit loft apartments, doesn’t make your show “sophisticated”, any more than a McDonald’s restaurant buying some comfy chairs and serving freshly ground coffee makes it a happening place for hipsters to hang out. But let’s not dwell on the negative, and instead try to accentuate the positive, by running through my favourite episodes (in series order):

Lena001Ménage a Trois (#1.2)

‘Steph’, an agency nurse, moves into the home of a wheel-chair bound woman named ‘Miss Gati’, and strikes up a flirtatious friendship with the house’s handyman, ‘Jerry’. I know that doesn’t sound very supernatural, but I’m trying not to give away any spoilers here… just take my word for the fact that things get pretty f*cked up once the young lovers’ employer starts to take an unhealthy interest in their budding relationship. Steph is played by Lena Headey, who is probably best known for her star turn in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles… but since I’ve never see that show, I can only think of her as ‘Miss Dickinson’, the well-meaning new teacher who leads the “Posh Totty” girls to quiz show victory in St. Trinian’s (2007). Jerry is played by the current James Bond, Daniel Craig, and the two of them have a good chemistry together, which clearly demonstrates their natural talent (in stark contrast to some of the other couples we meet in the less engaging episodes). Meanwhile, Miss Gati is played with malevolent relish by the mighty Karen Black… who, over the course of her career, appeared in such classics as Easy Rider (1969) and Five Easy Pieces (1970), as well as more recent cult favourites like House of 1000 Corpses (2003). Granted, the story doesn’t make a great deal of sense, but there’s such an absurd, sinister energy to the piece, and everyone plays their parts so well, that it’s easy to forgive the less plausible aspects of the plot.

SallyK01Bridal Suite (#1.5)

Two newlyweds swan off in their car for a spontaneous honeymoon, and find themselves drawn to an idyllic, isolated guest house. When the husband seemingly vanishes into thin air on his way to the bathroom, the wife is frantic to find him, but the eccentric proprietor seems oddly serene about the whole affair. Although the couple themselves are rather bland plot-fodder, the landlady is played by another Oscar-nominated industry veteran, the gorgeous Sally Kirkland, who gives a great performance as the former free-spirit nursing a bitter streak and a sinister secret. Again, I don’t want to give away the ending, but the scene where the husband’s fate is finally revealed is very impressive in a this-would-be-really-sexy-if-it-weren’t-so-f*cked-up sort of way!

Carla01Room 17 (#1.6)

A lonely travelling salesman turns on the “adult movie” channel in his motel room, only to find the “actress” on screen addressing him by name, and offering a little one-on-one seduction. Crikey! Overall, I’d say this episode was the most successful, in terms of telling an entertaining and tonally consistent short story, with a proper “beginning, middle and end”… true, the ending is a tad predictable, but it’s still a lot of fun getting there, thanks to a star turn by Curtis Armstrong, of Moonlighting and Revenge of the Nerds fame. His cathode-ray concubine ‘Carla’ is played by Kim Feeney, and I thought she gave a great performance, but she doesn’t seem to have done very much else since this series aired. Shame.

Margot01The Sloan Men (#1.12)

A loved-up young fiancée travels to meet her future mother-in-law, only to find that the older woman has some disturbing family secrets to share. This is the one episode I could really see working as a feature film, because it has such a compelling hook, and there’s so much more fun to be had in the contrast between the romantic memories the girl has of past events, and the grotesque-yet-hilarious reveals of how it all really went down. Plus there’s all the action beats as the two women march through the woods to set things right, and take back their lives… hurrah! Again, it probably helps that the mother-in-law happens to be played by Margot Kidder, who has a shedload of genre fare on her resume, including the Superman movies, Black Christmas (1974) and Halloween II (2009).

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About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
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