28 July 2016

CRIMES OF PASSION. (1984) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




CRIMES OF PASSION. (1984) DIRECTED BY KEN RUSSELL. ELECTRONIC MUSIC BY RICK WAKEMAN. CINEMATOGRAPHY BY DICK BUSH. STARRING KATHLEEN TURNER, ANTHONY PERKINS, JOHN LAUGHLIN, ANNIE POTTS AND BRUCE DAVISON. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'If you think you're getting back in my panties, you can forget it. There's one a**hole in there already...'

Oh boy. You guys had better all watch out. Anthony Perkins is wearing a wig and a dress again and he is feeling positively murderous...! Haha. You remember what happened the last time he did that, right? Correctamundo, my movie-loving friends.

As serial killer and deranged Mummy's Boy Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic PSYCHO (1960), he dumped the bodies- and automobiles- of his victims in the swamp out back of his house, the Bates Motel. Now what's the mischievous little scallywag gone and done...?

In CRIMES OF PASSION, one of two American movies made by the outlandish and even outrageous English director, Ken Russell, Anthony Perkins plays a deranged killer once again. This time around, he's a bogus 'Reverend' who frequents sleazy live sex shows and fantasises about killing the hookers who dance naked in the booths for him. 

These scenes are quite uncomfortable to watch. Guys are actually masturbating into tissues while ogling the nudie dancers who are forced to do this because they need the money. It's seedy beyond belief.

For the most part, though, this phoney Minister of God is thoroughly fixated on China Blue, a platinum blonde prostitute with a sassy walk and a quickfire line in sharp retorts.

The 'Reverend': 'Save your soul, whore.'

China Blue: 'Save your money, shithead.'

China Blue is marvellously played by Kathleen Turner, who three years earlier had made her name in cinema with the steamy-as-hell modern film noir, BODY HEAT (1980) with William Hurt. She's brilliant as China Blue, a woman who hides her emotional pain from previous relationships by sleeping with guys for money.

She can fulfil every sexual fantasy from kinky nun to air hostess to beauty queen without batting a hair, but inside she's as empty as the wastelands of Siberia. It's an old, old story. Most of us have been there in some way or another. Well, not necessarily in the prostitution sense, haha, but in the sense that we're all guilty of filling the empty spaces inside us with things like sex, food, booze, drugs, retail therapy, expensive holidays or whatever floats your individual boat.

Her life becomes complicated, however, when bored, frustrated married man Bobby Grady turns to her for sexual relief. The sex between them is so good, though, that the pair soon develop feelings for each other. Bobby's marriage to his selfish wife Amy is all but dead in the water, but he still feels a responsibility to Amy and their two kids. He seems like a genuinely good dad and hubby. That's something he's got going for him, anyway. I'm afraid I didn't really dig his painfully 'Eighties looks, though China Blue obviously did...!

Despite the obstacles facing them, China Blue and Bobby can't seem to keep away from each other. And, in the meantime, the crazy, unhinged 'Reverend' reckons that some kind of Judgement Day is coming for the self-confessed sinner and bad girl, China Blue.

How the diddly-doodily can there be a happy ending for China Blue and Bobby Grady when the Sinister Minister is determined to ruin their happiness with his murderous sex toy...? Yeah, I know you're puzzled by that bit, but I ain't telling ya nothing. Ya gotta watch the movie to find out...! And will China Blue ever feel brave enough to stop hiding behind that dinky little blue silk dress and platinum wig, cute as they are?

Kathleen Turner is utterly believable as the hooker with a heart of gold, the hooker whose heart's been damaged more times than you can shake a stick at but who hides her pain beneath snappy quips and sex with strangers. She's vulnerable and fragile beneath the confident, fast-talking front she puts up, which makes her very appealing to the viewer, who can feel her pain to an extent.

Her alter-ego, Joanna Crane the fashion designer, is less believable. In all honesty, I think the film-makers would have been better off leaving that bit out altogether.  I just don't feel like it really works. And putting a businesswoman in a dreary old trouser-suit-and-tie ensemble is pretty clichéd, not to mention deeply unflattering...!

Anthony Perkins is back squinting at nudie women through peepholes again in this film. Some things clearly never change, haha. It certainly comes across to the viewer that the horror icon is hugely enjoying himself playing such an over-the-top, even slightly ridiculous character and it's a pleasure to watch him doing his own special demented thing for just under two hours.

I'm afraid I pretty much loathed Bobby and his wife Amy. The scenes depicting their tired, clapped-out marriage could almost be from a different movie to the one in which China Blue is being relentlessly stalked by the mentally unstable 'Reverend' Peter Shayne. The film certainly captures the soul-destroying futility of staying in a marriage that lost its spark years ago.

Mind you, Amy seems more to blame than Bobby. She's got a man who actually wants to talk to her about her goddamn feelings, a man who'd probably even give her oral sex if she asked him nicely, and yet she still bitches him out and moans her ass off day and night about how unhappy she is because she doesn't have a goddamn hot-tub like the neighbours do or some such nonsense. Jeez. Some woman just don't deserve the love of a good man.

Scenes to watch out for include the mortifyingly bad 'Human Penis' display, the super-kinky silhouette sex (actually, now I think about it, the Oriental sex-drawings are all worthy of a look too) and China Blue and the security guard's night-stick, or, more importantly, where she puts it...!

There's also the excruciatingly awful heart-to-heart in bed between Bobby and Amy, the terrible 'three-way' between China Blue and the business toffs and the scene in which the question is asked of China Blue:

'Do you think that you can raise the dead...?'

This always outrageous, sometimes utterly bizarre erotic drama-thriller is being released on Blu-Ray this July (2016) by the good folk at ARROW VIDEO. You'll be getting a whole host of extra features for your buck as well, including an illustrated booklet which contains: new writing by Ken Russell's biographer, Paul Sutton; correspondence between Ken Russell and the divine Ms. Turner, whom I've always loved; and, finally, an on-set interview with Ken Russell himself, the old dear.

There's a load of other great stuff included too, but sadly there's no mention of a free 'Superman.' That's kind of a shame, because I was really looking forward to getting my grubby little mitts on one of those glittery babies. Confused? Well, as I said earlier and like I always say, watch the movie...!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com






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