The Girl with the Hungry Eyes (1993)

Rating:

USA. 1993.

Crew

Director/Screenplay – Jon Jacobs, Based on the Short Story by Fritz Leiber, Producers – Michael & Seth Kestenbaum, Photography – Gary Tieche, Music – Paul Inder & Oscar O’Lochlaunn, Underscore – Rich Giovinazzo, Special Effects Supervisor – Barry Anderson, Production Design – Clare Brown. Production Company – Kastenbaum Films/Smoking Gun

Cast

Christina Fulton (Louise Balfour), Isaac Turner (Carlos), Bret Carr (Bud), Leon Herbert (Johnny), Susan Rhodes (Mandy), Jon Jacobs (Henry)


Plot

Louise Balfour, a woman who hung herself at Miami’s The Tides hotel in 1937, is resurrected as a vampire in the ruins of the hotel in the present-day. The voice of the hotel inside Louise’s head drives her to go out and devour human blood. She goes to the studio of the photographer Carlos who is under pressure from hoods to pay up owed money and models for him. When people are startled by the presence she displays on camera and demand that she be made a feature model, Carlos becomes obsessed with finding her again.


Behind the captivating title, The Girl with the Hungry Eyes turns out to in fact be a vampire film. Sadly, it is no more than a glorified student film that is self-consciously trying to be arty and one that soon collapses into pretentiousness of the highest order. Christina Fulton gives an appallingly over-the-top performance, staggering around like a cross between a strung-out junkie and a silent movie version of a waif. She is given these interior monologues that try to be hip but are terrible. Director Jon Jacobs throws in pretentious lighting schemes, odd camera effects and distorted cut-up editing – there is a a completely laughable theatricality to it all. (Jacobs also makes a awful appearance as a white trash local who tries to pick Christina Fulton up).

Some of this might have been tolerable if The Girl with the Hungry Eyes was a film with some original ideas and something to say but sadly this is not the case. Indeed, strip away all the artifice and it is an extremely trivial vampire film that transpires as holding nothing more than a banally ordinary vampire-finds-true-love plot. The film is based on a 1949 short story by famed fantasy/horror author Fritz Leiber. (The same short story was also adapted earlier as an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery in 1971). What happens is often not clear – for instance, we are never certain if it was the hotel itself that resurrected Christina Fulton from the dead. There is the confused notion of the hotel that appears to be rebuilding itself, a la the house in Burnt Offerings (1976), as Fulton claims each victim. The one positive aspect is the Miami locations whose colour and sunniness make a sharp contrast for a vampire film.

Jon Jacobs and Christina Fulton later teamed up again for the equally bizarre and pretentious Lucinda’s Spell (1998), an erotic film about modern witchcraft. Jacobs has subsequently made the documentary I Want to Be a Porn Star (2002), the Western The Wooden Gun (2002), and Hey DJ (2003) and Miami II Ibiza (2012) in which he plays a DJ.

The only other Fritz Leiber work to be adapted to the screen was his novel Conjure Wife (1943), which has been adapted as Hey DJ (1944), Night of the Eagle/Burn, Witch, Burn (1961) and Witches’ Brew (1979).


Full film available online here:-


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