Tag Archives: VHS

Geek To Geek Chic – Welcome To My Candy Shop

1 Sep

Yesterday my friend sent me a txt with a link to a Russian advertising company who had come up with an idea for horror themed ice lollies. Now, the kid in me absolutely loves the idea! Who wouldn’t want to walk down the street sucking on Freddy Krueger in sizzling hot weather?! Whilst the flavours don’t sound exactly brilliant (apparently they’re still in development stages so who knows where it’ll go…), the product idea got me thinking about some of the film themed candy I’d occasionally eaten as a child. So here is another very picture heavy post on the type of sweet treats Lydia would stock in her very own candy shop. I’m sure there’s something for everyone! And hey, maybe you’ve tried one or two of them before in the past…

Freddy Krueger bubble gum

Minnie Mouse candy apples

Marvel Superhero candy sticks. I used to love candy sticks as a kid, the one type of sweet that seems to be endorsed by all cartoons, comics, films and television shows!

Now these are sweets I woud have killed to have had as a child. Jurassic Park has been one of my favourite films since I was four and I don’t remember anything like this being out in the shops, I’m guessing they were American? Either way, the four year old me is extremely jealous of anyone who had them!

This is kind of cute, some rip-off Freddy Krueger inspired bubble gum in the shape of a VHS tape!

I also find these absolutely adorable, too cute to eat!

I do actually own some of these, still wax-sealed and unopened from 1980 with the gum stick still intact. Would never open them now but they’re sweet little items to add to a collection.

Geek To Geek Chic – Film4 FrightFest the 13th Day 2

31 Aug

My personal highlights of the Film4 FrightFest horror festival continued on Day Two starting with a Q&A session with this year’s Total Film Icon, the Italian horror director/writer Dario Argento. As a huge fan of some of his giallo films, I was really excited to hear what the legend had to say having never had the opportunity to see him in person before, and what resulted was an unintentionally funny interview that occasionally threw out a few hidden gems. Argento admitted that he has had nothing to do with the recent Suspiria remake, which is currently still in production, not even being approached for his own thoughts. His response to the whole thing was absolutely genius though, ‘I don’t think it’s so easy to do something better – I say OK try!’. Rounding off with a particularly interesting anecdote involving his Dracula 3D star Rutger Hauer going missing (all I will say is it involved finding him hours later in a bush with a girl…), Argento was definitely one of the highlights of the day. My only gripe would have been that the language barrier did make things a little difficult during the interview and perhaps having an Italian translator on stage with him might have given him the linguistic freedom to answer questions the way he really wanted to. That said, it was fantastic that FrightFest were able to get him over this year and give fans the opportunity to meet him, after last years Icon John Carpenter’s no-show.

First film of the day for us was horror anthology V/H/S which I’d been particularly looking forward to but felt let down with once it had finished. The film follows a group of guys who have been hired by a third-party to break into an old house and find a rare and collectible VHS tape. Except that once there, they find a hell of a lot of other tapes which contain a whole host of found footage… In some parts the film works really well and in others it just doesn’t live up to the promise it holds. The ‘slasher’ segment in particular, Tuesday the 17th (directed by Glenn McQuaid), doesn’t sit quite right alongside the other ‘tapes’ and would probably work best as a DVD extra, being the weakest of the five stories in a film that nearly outstayed its welcome with a running time of just under two hours. I like slasher films but this story had the opportunity to be fresh and inventive, instead proving to be boring and predictable (same goes for Ti West’s story Second Honeymoon). That said, the final two segments, The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger (by Joe Swanberg and Simon Barrett) and 10/31/98 (by collective Radio Silence), are absolute crackers and would make excellent short films in their own rights, both managing to provide the real scares of the film with minimal effort. In short, a feature worth checking out but one that could have been a great deal more with a little extra thought.

Second film of the night came in the form of REC 3: Genesis, the third installment in the popular Spanish REC franchise. As a huge fan of the first two films I was somewhat dubious as to where this film would take the series, with its non-apologetic inclusion of humour, but I need not have worried. Without a doubt one of the most fun screenings of the entire festival, alongside Brit flick Cockneys VS Zombies, REC 3 manged to walk that difficult line in film and deliver both real scares and laughs. A very self-aware film without being pretentious about it (take note fellow filmmakers), director Paco Plaza skillfully managed to put his own unique spin on the franchise’s core elements and still made it fit in perfectly with the series’ own universe. Whilst the fourth feature isn’t directed by Plaza himself, it sets up some interesting narrative ideas that make the next feature which make me rather excited.


Outside of the films shown during the day, two surprise gems of the festival came in the form of one short and a trailer. First up was stop motion animator Lee Hardcastle’s short The Raid… With Cats, a terrific claymation condensing the film down to a few minutes and replacing all cast with… cats. Absolutely delightful, if you’ve not seen it, I’ve included a link below, but all I can say is it was beautiful watching the artistry of stop motion on the big screen! Secondly, we were treated to the World Premier of the ABC’s of Death trailer, an upcoming horror anthology film featuring the multiple talents of a whole heap of worldwide filmmakers, which looks nothing short of wickedly brilliant!

MEYER MONTH – Confessions of a Horny 13 Year Old Catholic Schoolboy

20 Mar

Matt Stacey talks about the first time he ever caught Russ Meyer classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

The name ‘Russ Meyer’ first came to me through another director, the great John Waters. I had been a fan of his since I was eleven when Hairspray, his 60s dance movie, had been released. I ate up everything Waters had to say in every television appearance and magazine interview. I can remember seeing him on The Jonathan Ross Last Resort (the talk show that started Ross’s career) and loving his pencil moustache. It was whilst on this show that Waters was asked a question. That question was ‘Who Are Your Biggest Influences?’ Amongst the names that Waters gave, the directors and films he mentioned, one stuck out in particular. Russ Meyer & Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.

I spent many years desperate to see this film but sadly, back in the late 80s, Meyer’s work wasn’t as easy to get a hold of as it is today (being eleven years old also didn’t help…). Fast forward two years to when I was thirteen. I had my very own TV in my room (although I wasn’t supposed to watch it past eleven), and most importantly, I had an old but still working Beta Max video recorder with a pile of tapes (we had this old thing in our front room right up until 1989). I searched the TV listings every week for films. If they were on late, the video timer always came in handy. 

I’d taped all the films that got shown too late for me to watch (my parents bedroom was right next door and they had the hearing of bats). Porkies, Creepshow and Southern Comfort all come to mind as films I taped and watched over and over again. Then, one day, I saw a film advertised. Showing at 1am, on Channel 4, it wasn’t the film that interested me but the name of the director. Russ Meyer.

As soon as I could, I had the Beta Max ready. I can remember hearing the machine spring into life as I lay in the dark. I had no idea what to expect from this film. The title, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, sounded pretty stupid to me but if Waters liked this stuff then I’d give it a go. The next day was a school day so the viewing would have to wait until later. I got home, went straight to my room, played the film, and became a life long lover and fan of all things Meyer. 

I loved everything about it. The tragic plot of an all female rock band and their manager coming to the big city, their eyes filled with hopes of fame and stardom, only to be used and abused, finding only betrayal and heartbreak, was both moving and thrilling (I could go into the plot in more detail but I’d hate to spoil it for anyone). But, for me at least, it was the other elements that made this film. The awesome music, the groovy parties, the ending and, of course, what I would find to be the Meyer stable. A bounty of beautiful and sexy big breasted babes! Oh! The women!! (remember I was thirteen at the time and attending a Catholic school, I didn’t get to see stuff like this very often!).

I lapped up this camp, sexy melodrama with gusto and made it a mission to seek other Meyer’s flicks. The reach of this film has been far. You only have to watch a mainstream film like Austin Powers to see that (the line that Austin says during the party scene at the start of the film, “It’s my happening and it freaks me out” is directly lifted from a scene in Beyond). Watch it and enjoy the wild craziness of it, the swinging 60s feel of it and the sad tale of money, fame and far too many drugs. I love this film! It’s not my favourite Meyer film (that goes to Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, which I finally got to see a few years later), but it’s an easy 8 boobs out of 10!!

MEYER MONTH – Meyer and Mike.

8 Mar

Mike from Videotape Swapshop recalls watching Russ Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls for the first time…

I don’t remember the exact moment I discovered Russ Meyer – except that it would have been a late night TV screening of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and it was around the same time I picked up Redemption’s VHS release of Vampyros Lesbos and NTSC’s of I Spit On Your Grave and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia in those dark days before the interweb and Amazon made curios accessible to anyone with a smart phone and a paypal account. 

I’d stop short of calling it a Eureka moment – I’d already subjected myself to Tetsuo: The Iron Man and had been mesmerized by the scary box art of Zombie Creeping Flesh (a title, inexplicably, my grandparents had on Beta), but I suppose Beyond… was when I first started connecting the dots. Here was this whole universe of left of the center films that you had to go out and look for or read about and they were all bubbling just under the surface. As an impressionable 14-year-old, that spelt FUCKING COOL…

I got a battered VHS copy of Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens. And loved it. To this day, it’s my favourite Meyer film. In the same way that I’d taken a punt on Yo La Tengo’s I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One – expecting a record full of noisy lo-fi punk, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a special moment when you put faith in something and it takes you somewhere else.

I’ve never found Meyer’s films particularly sexy. In fact, his characters are often quite repulsive. I don’t have any of the adolescent nostalgia that comes with sitting under the covers late at night, furiously jerking off to the excessive mammaries of Chesty Morgan in Serial Mom. Nor do I invest too heavily in the “celebrating the female form” angle which always feels a bit too much like a confidence trick. I kind of look at Russ Meyer in the same way I look at Sam Arkoff. Here’s this larger than life personality with a popular party trick – neither exploitation nor art. But somewhere in between both, and all the while, it’s good transgressive fun…

MEYER MONTH – Russ Meyer, the Gothic Year (1964-1965)

3 Mar

The lovely Vince D’Amato expresses his thoughts on Russ Meyer’s black-and-white ‘Gothic period’ of filmmaking…

Very arguably the highlight of Meyer’s career, though if the films contained within this one-year period are not his definitive work, they are doubtlessly his most famous. Lorna (1964), Mudhoney (1965), Motorpsycho (1965) and the epitomic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) have all been immortalized into pop culture consciousness, even for those who haven’t seen his films. But for those of us who have been lucky enough to bear witness, the immortality strikes us because these films are just so fucking loony tunes, throwing images into our faces from the screen that are forever seared into our brains while burning into cinematic culture simultaneously (Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Motorpsycho specifically). Fourteen years after having seen these films, I can still recall numerous shots from them. For people only beginning to experience their love of cinema, even if they haven’t seen these films, they undoubtedly want to see them because they’re familiar, at least, with these films’ iconic imagery and still-moments from their motion picture origins, immortalized for decades on t-shirts, posters, flyers, blogs, band names, graphic media and illustrated cinema books, and paid homage to in many later films (Wild at Heart, Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Grindhouse and Bitch Slap, to name a few famous ones). In other words, infused indefinitely into pulp culture.

I would be surprised if someone’s first Russ Meyer experience wasn’t one of the films from this era (likely Faster, Pussycat!), just as my own was. Who couldn’t resist the allure and pop-culture pounding of the image of Amazonian Tura Satana, her feet planted into the desert ground as she hauls a guy through the dirt and snaps his arm backwards. Three buxom women, car races, go-go dancing, attempted kidnapping and general mayhem all ensue in the stark desert locale. One really needs to say nothing more before Faster, Pussycat! is in some cinephile’s hot little hands running up to the cash register. Well, that was back in my day of brick-and-mortar video stores and VHS rentals. Now, I suppose the curious cinephine would just order from Amazon or download it.

So, yes, my own introduction to Russ Meyer’s cinematic world was via Faster, Pussycat! and Mudhoney circa 1997 (my time, and as I’d mentioned, via VHS) and I can say that he had me hooked forever at the wickedly dutched camera angles and luminously photographed black-and-white images of the go-go-dancers that open up the first few seconds of Faster, Pussycat!. No amount of exposure to the runaway pop-culture imagery of this film can prepare you for the film itself. And that, in itself, is saying something monumental. Riffing on this original opening is exactly what Robert Rodriguez got right with Planet Terror (forty years later in 2007) and the idea of having three amazing chicks running afoul of bad-ass cars and bad guys is what Grindhouse partner-in-crime Tarantino riffed on, also successfully, for his Death Proof segment. I sure hope they remembered to give Meyer his due credit, as should many other influenced filmmakers and rock bands of the last thirty years. 

What these filmmakers could never replicate, however, is really the sheer lunacy of Meyer’s cinematographic sensationalism – though many have tried, most notably former Corman staffer Rick Jacobson in his pastiche Bitch Slap (2009). Sure, in Meyer’s films, the voluptuous women are something to behold on their own, but really, whatever Meyer was photographing in this time period (with cinematographer/camera operator Walter Schenk), be it water-logged catfights, sand-strewn catfights, busty sunbathing beauties, chick-on-car action, motorcycle gangs, or even an excavated tree stump in the desert, it all seriously looked like a black-and-white live-action Warner Brother cartoon as gothic films noir – for adults. Of course the horn-blaring big-band go-go soundtrack of Faster, Pussycat! helped with that, too. And for ages I thought this cartoon aspect was some highly introspective revelation of my own intelligent devising, until I recently discovered that even Meyer’s latest works of the seventies (and in full colour) were unofficially dubbed “Bustoons”, named for the big-breasted women who starred in them as well as the “cartoonish” use of colour and framing compositions. Well, at least I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Cartoonish or not, his films were undoubtedly electric. 

Russ Meyer, over the course of his lengthy and successful independent film career, was his own self-made one-man film crew and studio, something that he has yet to be dragged from the shadows of fellow indie men Corman, Lewis, Band, and Kaufman to be properly lauded for. Or perhaps he just needs to be yanked from the cast shadows of his own big-breasted films and actresses. Yet somehow, wherever he is, I’m sure he’s just fine with his place in cinematic history.

Vince D’Amato is a filmmaker with independent production company Creepy Six Films and Brivido Giallo. He has just finished shooting his current feature, the neo-giallo Reversed, and has completed the screenplay for his next film to shoot next year. Vince also writes for Videotape Swapshop and the fiction site Creepy Six Tales, and is currently writing a cinema book.

Geek to Geek Chic – My Top 10 Christmas Lust-Haves

30 Dec

One of my favourite things about Christmas is the twin fun of giving and receiving. And for all those regular readers of my blog, I’m not just talking innuendo… I’m talking presents! This year I got to watch my boyfriend’s niece and nephew open their parcels from Santa and it got me thinking about all the presents I’d had as a kid and the excitement about waking up on Christmas Day and finding out which ones were under my tree. So while you all do your Top 10 best and worst films of the year, I bring you my all time, most lusted after Christmas presents…

LUST-HAVE #10 – Sony Playstation.
CURRENT STATUS – Owned, AWOL.
Oh Sony Playstation, how I longed for you and loved you from afar. You see, I was seven when my four-year old cousin got the original Playstation console for Christmas the year it came out. Now, I love my cousin, but he was a right little shit about it and he never let me have a go on it until a few years later. So for a very long time, I used to sit there and watch him play Crash Bandicoot and Porsche Challenge whilst I sat there hoping he’d give me a chance. Eventually he did and years later we used to gang up on his younger brother and beat him all the time at multiplayer Crash Team Racing. After four years of not getting the hint, my parents finally gave in and bought me one which I never thought would happen as I wasn’t (and still aren’t) very good at gaming. My cousin rang me to tell me there was a Playstation-shaped box under the tree for me. I cried because he had to be lying. My Grandparents bought me Star Wars Dark Forces and I got even more upset because I didn’t have my own console to play it on. In reality, my cousin was right, my Grandparents thought I’d already opened the damn thing and I was just incredibly stupid for not getting the hints myself. Was loved for years and is now lost, along with the annoying dance mat which isn’t a bad thing…


LUST HAVE #9 – Hungry Hungry Hippos
CURRENT STATUS – Wanted aged 5, got aged 19…
Like many a child in the 1990s, I was drawn into the lie that a game about obese Hippopotami would fulfill my life. Ever since I saw the advert aged five, I’d always wanted my own game. I played it at nursery. I played it at my friend’s houses. I never got one. Fourteen years later and I receive one for my nineteenth birthday and, in all honesty, it wasn’t really the same. If a future me had visited my five-year old self and told me I’d spend my nineteenth birthday playing Hungry Hungry Hippos whilst being pissed out of my mind, I would have stopped asking for it. Currently collecting dust in the attic and not making a reappearance at parties any time soon…

LUST HAVE #8 – Chemistry Set.
CURRENT STATUS – Got one Christmas, binned the following week
Ok, so this isn’t something I lusted after but remains a very memorable present because the whole kit was in Ukrainian. Which no one in the family speaks. The week after Christmas it was binned for safety reasons and because I hated Chemistry. Best. Christmas. Ever.

LUST HAVE #7 – Anything related to The Lion King
CURRENT STATUS – All gone except the slippers I still have even though they haven’t fit me for the last 15 years…
I loved The Lion King so much as a child and was lucky enough to have a lot of stuff. Figures, leggings, cuddly toys, playsets, CDs, pyjamas, sweatshirts, t-shirts, beakers, towels, I had the lot. The memory that sticks with me the most is not getting the VHS the Christmas when everyone else got the VHS because ‘Santa had forgotten to deliver it’. In reality, it had fallen down the back of my Grandparent’s wardrobe and they couldn’t find it. This problem was rectified a few weeks later when ‘Santa delivered it with an apology’, i.e. when my Nana had found it. Everything has gone except the slippers that have Simba’s head on them which I plan on making my own children wear should I be blessed with any of the little buggers. My Nana got me the Blu-Ray this Christmas because she wouldn’t buy me an Emanuelle/Emmanuelle DVD…


LUST HAVE #6 – Bass guitars.
CURRENT STATUS – Got. Played. Now gathering dust.
When I was a teen, I wanted to be in a punk rock band. Brody Dalle, nee Armstrong (in the video above), was my idol and I was determined to be like her (and after I’d been to a gig and smoked a couple of packets of fags I sounded like her which pleased me greatly). I desperately wanted to learn bass guitar because it was just a hell of a lot cooler then playing the guitar and I pestered my Mum for years before she gave in. I was sorted. I had my music. I dressed like a crack-addicted prostitute. I was sure I was going to find love with a gorgeous, older punk and live happily ever after. I was going to be in a band. Except that it never happened. A few years later I stopped playing, grew out of the scene and realised my heart belonged to film. Now my beloved bass beauties are gathering dust and looking for a new home, whilst my Mother breathes sighs of relief that I no longer dress like a teenage Lolita…

LUST HAVE #5 – Anything related to Jurassic Park.
CURRENT STATUS – Bring it on!!
As a kid, I loved dinosaurs and Jurassic Park is one of my all time favourite films. I was four when it came out and had a few toys but not all the ones I’d wanted… So for my sixteenth birthday I asked my Mum for some raptors. Didn’t get any. Asked for my seventeenth and eighteenth, nothing. Nineteenth came and went with no dinosaurs. Enter my ex who bought me something Jurassic Park related every Christmas for the last three years and cue this summer when I went all Envy Adams on his arse and we broke up. Which now means I have to buy dinosaurs myself. Or ask my Mum again. Think I’ll have more luck going alone on this one…

LUST HAVE #4 – Anything sex/Sexploitation related.
CURRENT STATUS – I ask nicely but end up buying myself.
Who knew that asking for presents the older you get would be so bloody problematic. Now that I’m older, and also incredibly fussy at times, my family ask me what I’d like. Except that when I tell them what I’d really like, they tell me no. No porn, no sexploitation posters, no softcore DVDs, no sex books, nothing. Before I’d even been asked what I wanted this year, my Aunt rang my Mum and said that Emmanuelle or anything sex related was out of the question. So I got The Lion King instead. I’ve been asking my Father for the same academic book on sexuality for the past six years and somehow it never seems to be wrapped and delivered by Santa. He promptly suggested that he buy me a coat when I suggested he buy me a vintage quad poster for Sex Dens of Bangkok that would have only cost him £3.99!! God bless my boyfriend who spoils me endlessly by entertaining my interests. Next year I’ve threatened to decorate the tree next year with topless pin-ups if there’s no porn under the tree. Watch this space.


LUST HAVE #3 – Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow
CURRENT STATUS – Pokemon Master! Games AWOL…
Remember earlier when I said that my cousin wouldn’t let me have a go on his Playstation for years? Well, I got my own back. The year I got a Gameboy and the three Pokemon games, he didn’t and he really wanted to have a go at playing them. So I went all sadistic eleven year old and didn’t let him play once, mwhahahahahahahahahhaahhahaha! For someone who was absolutely terrible at gaming, Pokemon was my chance to shine, and shine I bloody well did. The only girl in school who knew how to play the game and be better at it then the boys who proclaimed they were amazing at it. I ruled, and it helped when you owned all 150 species and had trained them all to Level 100. No one I knew could beat me. Looking back, it just sounds really, really lame. Still, I’d give anything to have a real life Pikachu or Squirtle of my own…

LUST HAVE #2 – A footrub from the master himself.
CURRENT STATUS – Dream on you absolute weirdo.
It’s ok, I already know. I’m weird. It’s weird. But I can’t help it. Ever since the age of sixteen I have been keeping my feet beautiful and soft in the hope that one day, Tarantino himself will walk up to me and go ‘give me your feet’ and I’d give him my feet and he’d play with them and kiss my toes and it would be amazing aldskhf;akjbwvm sncxpojihkjfmdvxc… Ahem. For those who follow my Twitter feed, this isn’t exactly new news and I know it lumps me in the category of strange or perverted but I know it would be amazing. So, if anyone knows QT and knows he wouldn’t be put off by my Death Proof tattoo, tell him there’s some girl in London that would let him have his wicked way with her feet. That said, nothing compares to when my boyfriend slips off my shoes and massages my feet in the cinema. Word of warning, if the cinema is fairly empty and we’re sitting near the back alone, probably a good idea to join us later…


LUST HAVE #1 – Mr Frosty.
CURRENT STATUS – Owned, now disowned.
I’ll say this once, and I’ll say it over and over again. Mr Frosty is a paedophile. When I were a wee kid I saw the advert above and longed for a Mr Frosty. He looked so cool, so fun and had the promise of being able to make Slush Puppie-esque drinks at home. I never got a Mr Frosty… Until I turned nineteen. Yes, fifteen years after I first asked for one, I finally got one and realised they were pretty bloody boring. Flash forward to the following summer and cue me, incredibly pissed after downing around fourteen shots of vodka, telling a group of four to eight year olds that Mr Frosty is actually a paedophile and has spent the majority of his career grooming and abusing Penguin (the little juice squirter (See, it gets worse!!!) that comes with Mr Frosty (quite literally…) that is a small snowman in the advert above) into being his lover. This rant went on, and on, and on until my friend physically dragged me away. And it was done in front of their parents. All I remember are horrified faces and not a lot else. Mr Frosty hasn’t been seen since.

I Do What I Do To Have You – Adrian Lyne’s ‘Nine 1/2 Weeks’ (1986)

28 Sep

Two gorgeous lead actors? Check. One fifth of Duran Duran doing the title song for the soundtrack? Check. A director who shot one of the highest grossing films of the 1980s behind the camera? Check. Whilst neither a commercial or critical success in America when released in 1986, Nine 1/2 Weeks would go on to be a huge hit internationally and attract a large fan base on video. Well known for its sadomasochistic content, the film charts the duration of a relationship between John Gray (a once gorgeous Mickey Rourke) and Elizabeth McGraw (Kim Basinger, also equally beautiful) from its initial flirtations to its eventual emotional breakdown.

John and Elizabeth’s relationship is instantly built on lust and attraction. The two characters meet when John introduces himself after a series of exchanged glances and flirtatious smiles. After having dinner, the two spend more time together which culminates in their first ‘game’; John blindfolds Elizabeth. Whilst she seems somewhat scared, she reluctantly agrees and following some play time with an ice-cube, she becomes excited by it. Over time, the ‘games’ continue and Elizabeth is pushed further and further to her limit, initially being weary yet gradually becoming more aroused by the power that John has over her. Over the course of the relationship Elizabeth realises that it has completely taken hold of her life and after one climatic night in which she tries to challenge John’s position, she leaves him, ending their affair.

John Gray (Mickey Rourke) and Elizabeth McGraw (Kim Basinger)

Admittedly, there’s not an awful lot going on in Nine 1/2 Weeks in terms of plot and narrative. Instead the film serves as a character study of the two leads, played extremely well by both Rourke and Basinger. The appeal of the film is to show the ‘kink’ in sex that ‘normal’ people can have. Think of how many films you have seen in which power play and forms of sadomasochism have been reserved for characters who were deviant; rapists, criminals, murderers etc. Lyne’s film showed that sex is subjective and shouldn’t always be applied to stereotypes. Both McGraw and Gray are ‘normal’, like the average audience watching the film, therefore showing the viewers a more believable approach to the beginnings of sexual relationships and how power play can develop.

Rourke is gorgeous and almost unrecognisable compared to how he looks now, the subsequent years he spent trying to graft a boxing career after the film was shot having taken its toll on his appearance. He downplays the role of John very well, subtle hints of sinister sadism only noticeable upon further viewings showing some depth to Gray’s role as the dominant one.  Despite his good performance, Rourke is ultimately upstaged by Basinger. She is completely believable as the unsure woman holding herself back, her nervousness and coy attitude mirroring the audience’s as she, alongside us, tries to work out what type of person John really is. Basinger’s growth and development throughout the duration of the film feels entirely natural, her steadily growing tolerance of John’s behaviour and how much she grows to be excited by it being one of Hollywood’s more ‘truthful’ approaches in depicting sexual relationships on-screen.

Nine 1/2 Weeks was released during the AIDS paranoia of the 1980s and was a good example of showing that sadomasochism, regularly linked negatively to homosexuality, also existed between heterosexual couples. The film also has a strong message in showing that people need to take responsibility for their behaviour and actions in sexual relationships. The ending of the film is somewhat downbeat. John finally opens up and tells Elizabeth that he loves her after she has walked away. Whilst he thinks she’ll come back to him, the audience knows that she won’t, his actions and hold over her proving too much with nothing to weigh it up against. John knows enough about Elizabeth to know what she’s like and how she’ll respond to him, but she knows nothing about him, only the dominance that he shows.

That aside, Nine 1/2 Weeks is ultimately a film made to show ‘good girls’ that being ‘bad’ can be so much fun. Who doesn’t like dressing up, having sex outside, playing with the bodie’s senses during sex and having some downright dirty fun with food? Honey has never been the same for me since…