Dave takes a look at an inventive slice of ’90s erotica that stands apart from the crowd.
For a subgenre whose tried and tested template was so often a frugal spin on either Fatal Attraction (1987) or Basic Instinct (1992), the satisfaction in discovering something so deliciously self-referential as KILLING FOR LOVE is an utter joy.
“I hope you don’t expect me to leave my name on this!?” protests scribe Michael Ellis (the ever-excellent Jay Richardson) after watching ‘Texas Payback’, his latest adventure in screenwriting. However, it’s a normal day at the office for Joel (Alex Demir) – a cocky playboy film producer who’s sure it’ll be his next hit, regardless of its shoddy quality. “You don’t make hits, Joel. You make profit,” adds Michael.
With Joel keen to keep his money train going, he invites his number one scripter up to an isolated cabin for the weekend where he can present his latest pitch. Michael is reluctant to go but, with his wife Barbara’s (Lisa Hasslehurst) persuasion, they venture out there to be met by ten or so of Joel’s nearest and dearest in the business. Everything starts out amicable, but as dinner is about to be served the guests notice that Joel is missing, and he’s eventually discovered dead. Now, this few days of fun and frivolity has become a desperate fight for survival.
Lots of sex.
Let’s not ignore the fact that, despite Mike Kesey’s movie having an admirably intriguing mystery narrative, it is still an erotic thriller. Having said that, these saucy sequences don’t linger for longer than they should, and the ten-strong ensemble ensures plenty of variation to any salacious bedroom shenanigans. And with its amusingly meta streak, just think of Killing for Love as movie in-joke heaven with added boobs.
Richardson – naturally – is the glue that holds the picture together, and we can’t underestimate the class that he brings to a feature whatever its budget. Demir, meanwhile, is the perfect foil, boasting about past triumphs like ‘Lethal Success’ and the hilariously named ‘Nautical Ninja Heroes’. Given the wild behind the scenes machinations of many a ’90s B-flick, his style of slick, smug braggart is clearly rooted in a reality all too familiar to scripter R.M. Johnson. I just wish I knew who he was so obviously making a dig at…
USA ● 1995 ● Erotic Thriller ● 98mins
Jay Richardson, Alex Demir, Linda Hasslehurst ● Dir. Mike Kesey ● Wri. R.M. Johnson