Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bush vs. the Erotic Thriller

Are these people even trying? Is there any problem or trend in America (or the world!) today that cannot be traced back to Bush and his dark master, Rove?

Even dirty movies fall before their power:

Paul Verhoeven, director of the first "Basic Instinct" (which scored $353 million world-wide) as well as the widely ridiculed "Showgirls" (now regarded as something of a camp classic), attributes the genre's demise to the current American political climate.

"Anything that is erotic has been banned in the United States," said the Dutch native. "Look at the people at the top (of the government). We are living under a government that is constantly hammering out Christian values. And Christianity and sex have never been good friends."

Scribe Nicholas Meyer, who was an uncredited writer on 1987's seminal sex-fuelled cautionary tale "Fatal Attraction," agrees, noting that the genre's downfall coincides with the ascent of the conservative political movement.

"We're in a big puritanical mode," he said. "Now, it's like the McCarthy era, except it's not 'Are you a communist?' but 'Have you ever put sex in a movie?'"

It's so annoying when you are watching a good erotic thriller and just when the bisexual serial murderess is pulling the ice pick from under the pillow--the jackbooted minions of Jerry Fallwell kick down the door and frog-march you away to re-education Vacation Bible School.

Oh, that hasn't happened?

You mean that the hyper-rich people are frustrated because they are unable to make even more money on sleazy trash, yet are unable to figure out why?

Well, no.
[Nicholas Meyer] admits that the appetite for the genre has taken a hit, and he blames the international market.

"Korea used to be a big erotic thriller market (in the '80s and '90s). Japan, too. You used to be able to cobble deals together based on those markets, but it has become more difficult," said King, who also produced "9 1/2 Weeks" alongside Damon. "There used to be a way to finance erotic thrillers if you had the right cast based on the foreign market. The foreign market doesn't support it in the way that it used to. They are now embracing more mainstream fare."

Part of the problem, King said, is that agents are loath to put their actors and actresses in titillating fare despite the fact that Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Richard Gere and Sharon Stone rocketed to fame thanks to memorable R-rated performances.

But in recent years, some high-profile actors have tackled the genre with mixed results. Meg Ryan, who made her career cultivating a girl-next-door persona, teamed with Oscar-nominated director Jane Campion in 2003 for the titillating "In the Cut." Ryan's performance was widely panned, and the Screen Gems film was a box office dud, earning less than $19 million world-wide.

So everything they said before? About puritanical Americans? Never mind.

But there is something creepy and disgusting on tap in the erotic thriller calendar:

Nevertheless, the studios have only a handful of erotic thrillers in development. They include the Jim Carrey starrer "The Number 23" at New Line Cinema, the Jennifer Garner starrer "Sabbatical" at Disney's Touchstone Pictures and the "Basic Instinct"/Hitchcock homage "Need," which revolves around a psychiatrist, a patient and an extramarital affair.

An erotic thriller starring Jim Carrey. Uuuhghghghghhh....{shudder}....

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