Sunday, 14 October 2012

“THE SEDUCTION” OF MORGAN FAIRCHILD




The year was 1982 and horror films were in high demand. You couldn’t pass a cinema marquee without witnessing a title or two. And suffice to say, I’ve seen them all, titles and films alike. That was my favorite thing to do, discovering upcoming horror flicks. So every Thursday late into the evening I made sure to pass by my local movie theater to check out the new posters for upcoming films. But at that particular time, what awaited me wasn’t exactly horror. More of the erotic thriller kind. It featured a scantingly-clad Morgan Fairchild looking scared but ravished while superimposed eyes hovered over her. I already knew who this actress was, having seen her around here and there on TV (in NBC’s FLAMINGO ROAD mostly). And based on what was displayed at that movie house, my interest was definitely pricked.


In the film Fairchild plays Jamie, a well-respected television anchorwoman, who is plagued by what I call the Bacall syndrome. Those who have seen the 1981 Lauren Bacall’s-damsel-in-distress-over-a-crazed-fan flick (called appropriately THE FAN) know exactly what I’m talking about. Jamie goes through the same motion, but contrary to the Bacall vehicle, the heat factor is highly contagious. Fairchild disrobes, skinny dips, is eyeballed by her co-star lover (the recently departed Michael Sarrazin)—and that’s just in the film first ten minutes. Later on we get a stalked heroine, the failing of the law enforcement to catch the deranged man (portrayed by an effective Andrew Stevens); we even get some black comedy routine delivered by a riot Colleen Camp who plays Jamie’s brassy best-friend. It all boils down to a slang bang conclusion involving failed sex and a loaded weapon (nudge nudge, wink wink) that fans of well-handled sleaze will definitely cherish.



I never saw the film on the big screen. It died at the box office so quickly that its run was shortened to a week (in Montreal). It took me a year or so to rediscover it, on my Betamax VCR, no less. But once I did, I immediately hailed it as one of the most effective exploitation film ever made, and I still do today. There’s something about it that is both compelling and dirty, a guilty pleasure kind of thing that works its magic despite its faults. Heck, it even paved the way for the king of all erotic thrillers, BASIC INSTINCT, 10 years later. And I’ll say it again: they sure don’t make them like those early gems anymore. If I had to name some of the best exploitation flicks of that era, THE SEDUCTION is up there with LIPSTICK, THE LONELY LADY and 1984 ANGEL starring Donna Wilkes. Sure, it ain’t perfect, like I said, with its sometimes improbable plot and hackneyed situations (could she just get a freaking bodyguard?!) but the film and the star are great to look at, and the fun is there from first reel to last.


The DVD is now alas out of print but there’s always someone somewhere selling it. Anchor Bay did a great job re-mastering the whole thing, and the extra features are as tasty, especially the audio commentary with writer/director David Schmoeller who gives insightful and amusing tidbits about the making of the film. Too bad Ms. Fairchild failed to partake in this discussion. It is believed that she has shunned the film for reasons only those associated with it know. A shame. For she’s really good in it and can make the sleaziest flick shine. Perhaps she’ll change her tune one day. Let’s just hope it’s sooner than later.






Until next post—Martin

 





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