Count me surprised that the short-lived Showtime horror anthology series The Hunger actually improved in its second (and final) season. I believe much of the credit can be given to the fact that the show’s host was switched from Terrence Stamp (who bravely mugged his way through campy scenarios) to uber-sexy David Bowie, who is so scathing hot (in my opinion) that he is even watchable when he is musing about life while chainsawing a carcass in half. Bowie serves as season two’s narrator, in the guise of an edgy, horror artist named Julian Priest who lives in an abandoned prison in the middle of snowy nowhere. Julian is actually the star of the first episode, which also gives the season more of an anchor, because as the viewer, you actually know something about this crazy sexy guy who is teaching you (graphically) the problems of human morality.
The half-hour episodes of The Hunger are all stand-alone tales, and half the fun is spotting the random famous(ish) stars among the sea of no-names. Eric Roberts makes an appearance (in “Dream Sentinel”) as a ghost who serves as a sort of protective/possessive angel to an exotic dancer (of course, as remember, this show has as much erotica as horror). David Warner shows up (in “Nunc Dimittis”) as a slavish dying lover to a vampiress who is searching to replace him with some young meat in the shape of a druggie drifter. In “Week Woman,” versatile Brooke Smith plays the perfect woman (aka Miss Right Now) to a guy that likes variety in his lovers. Turns out she provides all the variety he needs in a single woman.
Among my favorite episodes were “Skin Deep” about a mousy woman who seeks an affair with a sinister stripper with mysterious tattoos (this co-stars Kate Vernon from Battlestar Galactica!). This episode, simply put, is HOT. I also enjoyed Jennifer Beals starring in “And She Laughed,” where she plays a headstrong single woman who moves into a dangerous neighborhood (just to prove she can), only to be stalked by a Peeping Tom neighbor who peers, sweaty-eyeballed, through her mail slot (shudder). And “Triangle of Steel” takes a break from the hot, urban landscape to show us the story of a construction worker named Mike who makes the mistake of sleeping with the wife of his Mohawk boss, who has the spirit (and eyes) of an eagle, so he knows exactly what is going on.
This is the type of series that looks like it was canceled just as it was finding its unique voice of sex and horror combined with Twilight Zone morality tales. Though, like the first season, the episodes are kind of hit and miss, in Season Two of The Hunger, the hits are good and memorable enough that you want to keep watching.