Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Hunger “Necros” – Review (TV Episode)

season 1 DVD box setDirected By : Russell Mulcahy

Season 1, released 1997

Contains spoilers

The Hunger was a supernatural TV series of short films produced by Tony and Ridley Scott. Despite the involvement of Tony Scott and the name of the series this was not related to the 1983 eponymous movie, though the series DVD insert claims it was inspired by said film. The subject matter of the episodes changed but what remained constant was an obligatory sex scene, some naked flesh and (often) flashes of lingerie. Season 1 was introduced, episode by episode, by Terence Stamp. The series itself is very good generally; however the quality can vary, from the pure horror (good) through to something like the Red Shoe Diaries with a murder/supernatural twist (poor).

Necros was based on a short story by Brian Lumley. A religious carnival passes through a town whilst tourist William Cobb (Phillip Casnoff) burns a picture of the girlfriend who cheated on him. He steps out into the street and spots an elderly gentleman, Nero (Leonardo Cimino), and his young companion Helma (Céline Bonnier). Leonardo Cimino as NeroAn old woman accosts them, calling the man Necros and saying that he should not walk among the living. Hotelier Dino (Tony De Santis) explains that since Nero moved to the area people have vanished and that the older generation belive him to be a Necros, a vampire like creature, a dead thing who feeds upon the living. More they believe that Helma will be his next victim.

William insinuates himself to Helma, whom he is attracted to and wants to save but it is clear that she is a terrible flirt who is quite happy to cheat on Nero, a man obsessed with bridge. Eventually, after Dino has vanished following – it seems at first – An unusual manner of feedinga misunderstanding with Nero, William gets to the couple’s gothic mansion and beds Helma. During their passion she undergoes a horrific transformation sprouting a tail and revealing a long tongue that protrudes from her mouth. She rams this deep into William's mouth.

What is interesting is the manner in which she feeds. Firstly we can note that she uses her extended, almost demonic, tongue. The tongue being the feeding apparatus of a vampire is not unheard of in the genre and I refer you to the film Aswang. Victims are drained of youthAlso, rather than drain blood she drains youth and vitality. This is reminiscent of the vampires in Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter. This is clearly not your run of the mill vampire, but vampire it is none the less. The almost demonic look of the vampire is also unusual but, given it was based on a Lumley story, the almost Lovecraftian overtones are almost to be expected.

The episode is well acted and extremely sumptuous to look at. The religious parade allows a Gothic imagery aboundsprocession of unusual gothic images that feeds the look of the episode. Unfortunately, as each episode was only around the 25 minute mark, there is not so much time to build the characters as perhaps one would like.

That said this is an interesting and highly unusual look at the genre that I’ll give 6 out of 10 to. Please bear in mind, however, I have taken the short nature of the episodes into account as I scored this. Beyond anything else, it is good to see some of Lumley’s work translated into moving images. The story itself is published in several anthologies, one being “The Giant Book of Vampires” edited by Stephen Jones.

The episode's imdb page is here.

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