Can I just say...we LOVE our followers/commenters. Really, we do. Because of you, we often discover treasure troves of sleaze that otherwise would have collected dust on the shelf of our local video store, crying out to be rented and trashed. For example, our friend and filmmaker Static_OmegaFPL recently left this comment on our review of Psycho III:
"And, it seems to me Perkins was channeling Ken Russell in this movie, as a director. He had just starred in Crimes Of Passion (which I'd LOVE to see you lay into as well)."
Well, Damien...thanks to you, I've just finished watching the movie that puts the "gross" in "engrossing." Seriously. How skeevy is Crimes Of Passion? Try this line of dialogue on for size: "If you think you're gonna get back in my panties, forget it. There's one asshole in there already."
Anyway, Crimes stars one of our favorite "ladies-of-the-80s" -- Kathleen Turner, a LONG way from Cartagena -- in the ultra-realistic role of a successful fashion designer who moonlights as a hooker named China Blue. Actually, upon writing this, I'm watching an episode of "Project Runway" where several desigers seem to be prostituting themselves for a shot at fame on reality TV...so maybe Kathleen was just ahead of her time. No matter...why exactly this character leads a double life is never really explained...but it does give her the chance to overact in a Blondie wig and attempt to say lines like this one with an ounce of dignity: "Although we may run out of Pan Am coffee, we will never run out of TWA tea."
In case you missed the meaning...just say the last 2 words out loud again.
Along the way, our gal China attracts the attention to two men. One is druggy street preacher Peter Shayne, played with a beautiful, understated subtlety by Anthony Perkins.
Gotcha! Actually...Anthony spends the entire movie twitching, screaming, covered in flop sweat, and waving around a nasty looking metal vibrator that he dreams of boffing women to death with. Now, including just one scene with this vibrator-slash-weapon would be classy enough, but thankfully Ken Russell decides to make it a major part of the story...to the point that I was forced to throw away my electric toothbrush last night due to a traumatic reaction to the buzzing sound.
The other man obsessed with China is played by John Laughlin (who looks exactly like swimmer Michael Phelps...who already kind of looks like a brain-dead Gomer Pyle) and is accordingly so completely dull that I'm not sure Laughlin didn't just wander onto the set by accident and end up walking through scenes that were already in progress. One happy side-effect of his presence, though, is the brilliant casting of the character of his sexually frustrated wife. Get ready for it, people...we've got ANNIE-friggin'-POTTS. Yes, Designing Women's Mary Jo Shively...in a sex thriller. These are the casting choices Tower Farm is built on. I prayed and prayed that this meant Meshach Taylor would show up as a trick...but alas, it was just a fantasy:
Anyway, I'd love to tell you more about the plot...but frankly, there is none. I can tell you that we do get perhaps the most irritating synth-and-sax score since...well...ever. We also get lots of random shots of drawings from the Kama Sutra, which is fun. Oh, and did I mention neon lights? Everywhere? In every scene?
And in case you don't feel moved to sit through any of that, can I at least recommend the final scene, in which Anthony is finally stabbed to death...with the metal vibrator....while wearing Kathleen's wig and dress...?
Why this movie was ever made -- let alone with the participation of some respectable people -- must be one of the great mysteries of modern cinema. But thank God it was. This is truly the movie to watch on those lazy days when you don't feel like taking a shower. Trust me...within minutes you'll be standing under scalding hot water trying to wash away the sleaze eminating from your TV. Thankfully for Ken (who also directed this icky classic), Kathleen, and company...we LOVE hot showers!