Monday, August 20, 2012

Tony Scott: A Beginning and an End

Tony Scott's THE HUNGER (1983) has one of the most arresting opening sequences of any horror film; it's a masterpiece of cross-cuts, flashbacks and flash-forwards, intense music and ice-cold style, largely without dialogue and so forcing us to pay close attention to visual codes, plunging us immediately into the deep end of an amoral, self-interested world where vampires are the victims, the victors and the evening's entertainment. "Bela Lugosi's Dead," sings Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, but it was actually Tony Scott himself throwing down a gauntlet on the floor of vampire cinema in general. Pictured: Ann Magnuson and David Bowie turning up the heat in this very chilly sequence.
Tony Scott -- whose other films as a director include the Quentin Tarantino-scripted TRUE ROMANCE (whose scene between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper is commonly cited as one of the very finest of the last 25 years) and the era-defining TOP GUN -- took his life last night by jumping off the Vincent Thomas suspension bridge into Los Angeles harbor, having left a suicide note behind in his parked car. He was 68. My heart goes out to his wife and children, and to his friends and co-workers past and present (some of you perhaps among them) as we all reel from the suddenness and mystery of this terrible event.