Stormswept (1995): A Dark and Horny Night

Matty is lured in by David and Svetlana Marsh’s slack yet curiously appealing softcore shocker.

The sole ‘legitimate’ feature of David and Svetlana Marsh, STORMSWEPT nonetheless betrays the husband and wife duo’s roots in pornography. While several steps below their XXX classics ‘F’ (1980) and Bad Girls I & II (1981 & 1983) in terms of overall quality, this strange chunk of horrotica does exude a certain compulsivity, largely because of the potent air of sexual menace that surges through it. 

Part supernatural chiller, part slasher flick, and part softcore shag-a-thon, Stormswept is anchored by a strong voyeuristic atmosphere. Beginning with some prowling subjective camerawork, we’re constantly manoeuvered into positions that make us feel as though we’re watching events unfold from the perspective of the spectral evil haunting the sprawling mansion the cast hunker down in, lending the film’s mix of sizzling T&A and (admittedly pretty mild) violence an acidic bite. Stormswept is at its best when it’s challenging us: are we titillated or are we repulsed? Should we be watching and enjoying what’s happening or should we not? Like the mysterious, basement-dwelling squatter Lorne (Hunt Scarritt) and his smouldering charge, Missy (the top-billed Kathleen Kinmont), it often seems that we too are at the mercy of a nasty, salacious power. 

Annoyingly, the good is undercut by a wealth of terrible performances and a complete lack of forward momentum. The charisma-less Justin Carroll is insufferable as a sleazy and obnoxious commercial director, and, the underused Kinmont aside (presumably her day rates were at odds with the rest of film’s budget), the bulk of the cast are mostly ineffectual — however, it’s always nice to see the plucky Lorissa McComas. The sorely missed starlet does a fine job with a lengthy monologue in which she shares her carnal fantasies, imbuing the Marshs’ stilted script with a verisimilitude and a genuine sexiness that really elevates the otherwise lumpen material. McComas also provides the tastiest dollops of flesh, the standouts being her red hot lesbian tangle and a brief full-frontal disrobing that presents her naked form with the elegance of a Botticelli painting. 

Primarily lensed at The Greenwood Plantation in Louisiana (a location previously used in Arthur Penn’s Bonnie & Clyde (1967) and Bill Condon’s Sister, Sister (1987)), Stormswept’s plot finds a realtor (Melissa Moore), her actress client (Julie Hughes), Carroll, and a few other stragglers decamping at the estate One Dark and Stormy Night ™️, unaware that the creepy Scarritt and Kinmont are skulking about the place. A game of truth or dare ensues, and, at the urging of the tirelessly horny Carroll, the throng are soon surrendering to their basest instincts, their desires amplified by the corruptive influence of the aforementioned supernatural force — the ghost of a randy old slave master.

2nd Unit shot by the indomitable Gary Graver.

USA ● 1995 ● Erotic Horror ● 98mins

Kathleen Kinmont, Justin Carroll, Melissa Moore, Lorissa McComas ● Dir. David I. Frazer (as ‘David Marsh’)  ● Wri. David I. Frazer (as ‘David Marsh’) & Svetlana Marsh, extra screenplay material by Dave Thomas

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