With August the dog days of summer are upon us (even though July brought that massive heatwave). Cinema Shame is planning to perpetuate the sizzle by focusing on the classy, uber-sophisticated world of the erotic thriller. A sub-genre of films that could really make family movie nights awkward. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Xenia Onatopp. Your orgasmic coup de grace techniques always had me scrambling for the remote.
When I think of the erotic thriller sub-genre, the first thing that comes to mind is direct to video refuse or heavily-edited features on USA Network. My turning point was watching “The Last Seduction” last November. Linda Fiorentino (a @007hertzrumble obsession, by the way) and dark neo-noir compelled me to investigate the genre further.
In Robert Barton Palmer’s book Hollywood’s Dark Cinema: The American Film Noir, he refers to the “erotic thriller as a direct descendent of the film noir.” Here I was judging these films for having a plot to tie sex scenes together. It also felt like a good time to cleanse the mind of the mindless summer blockbuster. So for this month, I plan to tackle the following erotic thrillers: Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo and Cat People and Lawrence Kasdan’s Body Heat.