Sunday, May 12, 2019

THE SEDUCTION (1982) Blu-ray review

The Seduction (1982) d. David Schmoeller (USA) (104 min)

L.A. anchorwoman Jamie Douglas (Morgan Fairchild) has it all: a glamorous career on a top-rated news show, a luxurious house in the hills, and a devoted young admirer named Derek (Andrew Stevens). But when Jamie ultimately rebuffs his “romantic” advances (after spying on her swimming nude in her pool, the increasingly unwelcome phone calls, flowers, candy, and visits to her house follow), Derek plays out a psychotic courtship with the frightened newswoman, threatening every part of her life, and secretly observing even her most intimate moments. When the cops (led by TV’s Ben Casey, Vince Edwards) can’t do anything, Jamie goes commando, shotgun-blasting away in a satisfying whirling dervish revenge fantasy conclusion.

After several years building a solid reputation on television, Fairchild made her big-screen bow with this sudsy melodrama, which now stands as an early ’80s time-capsule testament to blow-drying and huge sunglasses as well as tackling the “celebrity stalking” issue long before it made national headlines. By all reports, Stevens took a little convincing to take on his villainous role, eventually coming aboard once promised an equal payday to Fairchild’s. Meanwhile, Michael Sarrazin, whose once-hot career was already starting to slip, doesn’t do himself any favors here as Jamie’s tough-talking lover, bulging his eyes and ineffectually declaring, “I’m going to kill him!” every chance he gets.

While the film was roundly drubbed by critics, it made a solid return on its minimal investment and served as an early career-starter for any number of genre notables. Writer/director Schmoeller (Puppet Master, Crawlspace) had caught the attention of producers Bruce Cohn Curtis and Irwin Yablans with his script for Tourist Trap, which was originally offered to John Carpenter. When Schmoeller insisted on directing himself, Yablans ended up producing both Tourist Trap and Halloween to great success. Yablans and Curtis teamed up again for Hell Night (starring Linda Blair), and would go on to work together and separately for any number of memorable independent and studio projects, including Dreamscape, Chatterbox!, Roller Boogie, Fade to Black, Dolls, and Scream for Help.

Other familiar names include Chuck Russell, who would go on to direct The Blob and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, on board as an exec producer. Frank Darabont (The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption) had worked as a production assistant on Hell Night and was subsequently promoted to transportation captain for Seduction. And Charles Newirth, who went on to exec-produce the Marvel movies Dr. Strange and Ant-Man and the Wasp, served as location manager!

Already a hot item following his work on Carrie and The Amityville Horror, composer Lalo Schifrin lends his estimable musical talents to the proceedings, while renowned cinematographer Mac Ahlberg (Dolls, The Horror Show, Re-Animator) elevates the proceedings enormously with his skillful camera work and effective lighting. (Fairchild, it must be admitted, looks stunning and much credit goes to Ahlberg for showing his subject off at her bleached and manicured best.) Editor Anthony DiMarco, whose second big-screen credit was none other than 1957’s The Giant Claw before going on to, um, bigger, er, better projects like Chained Heat and The Initiation of Sarah (starring Fairchild in her TV-movie debut), keeps the action swift and streamlined.

This overheated little exploitation piece certainly fits the bill as a late-night guilty pleasure...if one were so given to feel guilty about such things, which, well, I'm not, so I don't. It may have little to recommend it in terms of actual tension or horror, but it is a certifiable hoot to watch, packed with dodgy plotting, big star nudity, and hilarious histrionics from all involved. (When Derek sneaks a message onto the news teleprompter, Fairchild’s hysterical – in every sense of the word – on-air breakdown is worth the price of admission alone.)


NEW “Beauty And Strength” with actress Morgan Fairchild (22 min)

NEW “The Seducer” with actor Andrew Stevens (11 min)

NEW “Flashbacks” with producer Bruce Cohn Curtis (22 min)

Audio commentary with producers Irwin Yablans and Bruce Cohn Curtis, and writer/director David Schmoeller

“Remembering The Seduction” with Bruce Cohn Curtis, Irwin Yablans, David Schmoeller, Colleen Camp, Kevin Brophy, and associate producer Tom Curtis (11 min)

“Remembering the Locations and Production” with Bruce Cohn Curtis and Location Manager Charles Newirth (11 min)

“Remembering The Seduction and The Law” (8 min)

Original Theatrical Trailer & TV Spot

Still Gallery

The Seduction is available May 21 on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and can be pre-ordered HERE:


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