As a fan of the anthology series Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996), I was intrigued by The Hunger (1997). It, too, is an anthology series from the 90s that places known celebs in short stories with macabre and dark themes. The problem is, Tales from the Crypt pulls it off far better than The Hunger.
Produced by Tony (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) and Ridley Scott (Body of Lies, Gladiator), The Hunger: Season One provides 22 episodes (all around 30 minutes in length) that deal with the darker sides of human nature. Whether it’s violence, lust, passion, sex, evil, spirituality, or what have you, each episode exposes what can happen when these elements are taken to the extreme.
What I observed as I watched was a lot of slow-paced stories that really caused me to lose interest more often than not. This is unfortunate because the production values are high and the acting is fairly decent. And while the special effects are typical for 1990s TV, they cannot help make the stories more engaging.
I expected from looking at the DVD cover that there would be a lot of stories about vampires. In fact, that’s what I initially thought the series was about. Instead it’s a bunch of random “horror stories” lumped together (hence the term anthology).
Terrence Stamp’s (Get Smart, Bowfinger, Yes Man) host segments pale in comparison to those offered up by the Cryptkeeper (granted, Stamp isn’t a giant corpse puppet, but his acting in this seems less than animated).
I really expected more from this series. With Ridley and Tony Scott involved, I guess I wanted more than what was presented to me as a viewer. Granted, you do get stories that feature celebs like Daniel Craig (Quantum of Solace) and Margot Kidder (Superman), but even their presence and David Bowie’s don’t help much.
As a bonus, you do get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of season two with aforementioned David Bowie, but by this point I had pretty much given up on the series as a whole.
If you like your horror slow and unassuming, The Hunger is a good bet. If you want an anthology series that makes you keep your lights on at night, I recommend Tales from the Crypt.