Fright Night – Cult Cinema Classics at the NFSA with Venus Mantrap: The Hunger R 18+

A scene from the film The Hunger featuring Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie as vampires. They are pictured looking up from below through a wide net, wearing dark clothing and sunglasses at night and standing close together.
26 May
Arc Cinema
$12 / $10
Dir: Tony Scott, R 18+, United States, 1983, 97mins, DCP,

Arc Cinema presents a series of Friday night filmic feasts hosted by Venus Mantrap – local drag artist and culture warrior. Fright Night: Cult Cinema Classics at the NFSA will plumb the archives to showcase cinema with bite, edgy movies and fan favourites – films that unnerve, push buttons, ask questions and just look good on the big screen!

If you're a sucker for nostalgia or curious about forgotten gems, join Venus as we venture into the 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond – with special guests, surprise performances, trivia and best-dressed contests. Gather your tribe of rowdy rebels and misfits and join Venus for Fright Night!


The Hunger, Tony Scott's directorial debut, turns 40 this year. What is now considered a stylish vamp classic - starring Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon and David Bowie  didn't live up to expectations upon its release. This box-office flop was loathed by critics too, with Roger Ebert trashing it as ‘an agonisingly bad vampire movie, circling around an exquisitely effective sex scene’. Ouch!

But somehow, perhaps inexplicably, The Hunger has become a beloved cult classic  a somewhat obvious and fitting position for a film that features so many billowing curtains and shoulder pads.

Its opening sequence alone is worth the watch, with British goth rockers Bauhaus performing ‘Bela Lugosi's Dead’ in an underground Manhattan nightclub, while Bowie and Deneuve seduce and sizzle as they hunt for their next meal. Talk about an ‘exquisitely effective sex scene’! Oh, and did I mention David Bowie?

‘This isn’t a movie about vampires at all. It’s about style. And there’s style here [by] the bucket load... David Bowie gives his most “human” performance here, despite playing a vampire’  Filmotomy

‘The stars are of the first magnitude, the direction is sharp as a scalpel... and the visuals are suitable for exhibition in a gallery specialising in high-gloss S&M’  The Globe and Mail

This title is held in the NFSA collection.


Venus Mantrap is an androgynous construct whose roots are firmly planted in the world of drag. Exploring aspects of cabaret, performance art and comedy during live shows, Mantrap has produced The Bowie Ball and starred in two one-person-shows: Life, Love and Lip Syncing and Valley of the Molls. Venus is regularly found at Smith's Alternative as the MC of Cabaret Voltaire and has been a featured artist at Glitterbox, LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club, Drag Cabaret and Finucane and Smith's touring show Dancehall. Follow them on Instagram at @the_venus_mantrap. 



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