Archives for posts with tag: softcore

Body Chemistry 2

Lisa Pescia in Body Chemistry 2 (1992)

This reviewer retains a fondness for the lurid erotic thrillers that used to play late at night on Showtime during the late 80s and early 90s. Many of these – the likes of Out of the Dark (1988) and Body Chemistry (1990) – were stylish mysteries and wicked psychological dramas in addition to serving as eye-pleasing programming.

Of these, the one that left the deepest impression on his grade school brain was Body Chemistry 2: Voice of a Stranger (1992), in which the amazing Lisa Pescia reprises her role as the sadistic Dr. Claire Archer. It cuts a gash in pre-pubescence to know that something as grimy as sadomasochism exists – mere nudity was sufficiently forbidden to be exciting in those days – and, furthermore, to know that such sordid entertainment is interesting to a parent too lazy to shoo a youngster from the room while, for instance, a dominatrix humiliates Morton Downey, Jr.

Later generations, alas, would plunge directly into the porn cesspit, ignorant of the mystique that used to await the youthful discoverer of a Bedroom Eyes (1984), Red Shoe Diaries (1992), or some such other softcore classic. In “Generation Masturbation”, Matt Forney relates how early experiences of pornography and dirty movies can shape people’s sexual expectations and muses, additionally, on the disillusioning nature of actual carnal knowledge.

Kubrick seems to have been the one to initiate the young Forney:

We were staying with my grandparents for Christmas, and they had acquired pay-per-view channels through less-than-legal means. My grandpa had three TVs with free HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and all the rest: one in the living room, one in their bedroom, and one in the basement lounge room where I slept. It was two in the morning and I was flipping channels when I came across HBO airing Eyes Wide Shut.

Specifically, the orgy scene.

Read the rest here.

Dr. Caligari (1989) ****1/2

A non-pornographic film from Stephen Sayadian, the man behind the fan favorite Cafe Flesh (1982), Dr. Caligari casts a formidable bid for the most colorfully flamboyant and lurid movie ever made. Recalling the premise of Sayadian’s script for the episodic adult feature Nightdreams (1981), Dr. Caligari concerns the titular harridan’s perverted experiments in sexuality at her insane asylum. Her latest guinea pigs include Mrs. Van Houten (Laura Albert), who suffers from psychotic “nympholepsy”, and redneck serial killer and cannibal Mr. Pratt (John Durbin in a thoroughly grotesque and charismatic performance). Meanwhile, subordinate Dr. Avol (Fox Harris of immortal Repo Man infamy) discovers that Dr. Caligari has finally gone too far and resolves to bring her reign of erotic terror to an end.

Shoulder pads were invented for Madeleine Reynal, evilly graceful and domineering in the role of the mad scientist, while Fox Harris gets the most outrageous showcase of his career for his special brand of over-the-top camp craziness, and sultry, unforgettable Laura Albert furnishes eye confection of the most delectable order as the hallucinating nymphomaniac patient. Dr. Caligari‘s true star, however, is writer-director-designer-cinematographer Stephen Sayadian, whose sight gags, wacky color schemes, sick sense of menacing humor, and flair for the tastefully tacky permeate and elevate this 80s oddity, updating the original’s expressionism for the decade of eye-popping neon. Shot almost entirely in chiaroscuro, Dr. Caligari occasionally evinces the feel of a real horror movie and packs some genuinely disturbing content with its hat-tips to incest, sadomasochism, and Cronenbergian body angst. The only thing Sayadian’s opus is missing – other than emotional depth, obviously – is the narrative momentum that might have prevented the film from overstaying its welcome slightly even at 80 minutes.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Be sure to check Dr. Caligari out in its entirety on YouTube.

 

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