The Hunger

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
The Hunger Movie Poster Image
Bloody lesbian-vampire story is stylish, but no Twilight.
  • R
  • 1983
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Strong themes of the fight for survival throughout the movie -- sometimes this human urge comes at the expense of others. Maintaining one's sense of morality sometimes means great sacrifice. There is a strong connection made between sex and violence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

With almost no exceptions, the characters are self-indulgent, hedonistic, and without empathy, though the most human main character tries to maintain some sense of morality in the end.


No shortage of graphic stabbing, slashing, blood-letting, and violent murderous behavior, often in concert with erotic sensuality and lovemaking. Victims are stabbed, strangled, and thrown over stair railings to their death. Bodies decompose; corpses rise from their coffins, only to disintegrate and turn to dust moments later. There are other disturbing images throughout: blood flows on every conceivable surface; a vicious monkey attacks and kills his mate; humans participate in a bloody feast; victims (including an innocent teen violinist) are lured to their deaths because of the vampires' need for blood.


The film contains: lengthy depictions of sexual activity (both heterosexual and lesbian), including kissing, fondling, partial nudity, bare breasts in numerous scenes; erotic dancing; and oral sex. One violent, orgiastic sexual scene is intercut with a monkey going crazy and killing his mate.


A few instances of "f--k," "bulls--t," "hell," and "son-of-a-bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Most characters smoke throughout. Wine and liquor are consumed in numerous social settings and in one sex-murder sequence, the victims seem to be in an "altered state." A teen offers quaaludes to an adult.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this stylish, blood-soaked drama with lots of sex is definitely not for kids. It's spooky and tense throughout as beautiful vampires lure numerous victims to their deaths by strangulation, stabbing, and more. Sexual activity is used as foreplay to murder from the opening scenes until the final resolution. There is partial female nudity (including multiple shots of bare breasts), oral sex, erotic dancing and seduction, and lesbian sex. Occasional coarse language is heard, including "f--k." Characters smoke heavily throughout, consume alcohol, and quaaludes are mentioned. Though vampire movies continue to appeal to a mass audience, particularly teens, this film is very different from the tame, romantic, and idealized vampirism of the Twilight series and others like it.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byNosferatu April 20, 2020

Animal cruelty-warning!

Right at the beginning of the film, monkeys locked up in a laboratory are shown hurting and mauling each other. Apparently both the director and the actors foun... Continue reading
Adult Written bydavispittman April 10, 2020

Interesting plot details but uneven

The Hunger does feature good performances all around and has some interesting plot details but unfortunately is uneven and runs out of steam. I wish the film wa... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 March 25, 2012

Good for very mature teens.

Can't remember about this movie since I saw it a long time ago but it's very bloody lots of killings copious amounts of blood vampires attack people s... Continue reading

What's the story?

Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) and John (David Bowie), the elegant vampires-next-door in a chic modern-day Manhattan mansion, face the end of their centuries-old romance when John begins to age and rapidly dies. Miriam's quest for a new life partner leads her to Sarah (Susan Sarandon), a doctor researching longevity and humankind's biological clock. Sarah falls victim to the beautiful vampire's seduction and enters a world of erotic sex and brutal murder. But when Sarah fights back, refusing to accept her fate, Miriam encounters a formidable enemy.

Is it any good?

The Hunger is hampered by a humorless, weak story and shallow, undefined characters. Even the inventive direction and the stunning visual effects and production design, along with two of the world's most beautiful women willing to participate in what must have been very controversial love scenes in 1983 when the film was made, cannot make up for these shortcomings. The audience is continually assaulted by orgies of blood and gore, often combined with erotica, all of which lead to a silly final battle between the dying and the undead. This exercise in style over substance has a cult following of vampire fans and mature teen fans of the genre will overlook the film's weaknesses for it's stylish and sometimes shocking plot elements.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about teens' continuing fascination with horror movies (and specifically vampires) in film, books, and television. What do you think is so appealing about the genre?

  • Why do so many horror movies combine sex with violence? What is the effect of watching this combination? What is the appeal?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to be scared

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