Wednesday 10 September 2008

The Seduction

I know, I know... How can I call this blog Anchorwoman In Peril! and not include a review of the 1982 Morgan Fairchild masterpiece The Seduction? That’s like having a birthday cake without any candles on top... Sure, it’s sweet, it’s tasty and it fills you up, but where’s the sense of occasion? It’s just a vanilla sponge. And look, you’ve not even iced it properly! Can’t you get anything right?

I forgive you, anyway. This time. And, as a gesture of goodwill, here’s that long-overdue review of The Seduction, the queen of Anchorwoman In Peril movies and, um, bastard child of the slasher and erotica genres.

The first five minutes of The Seduction aren’t so much a blast from the past as they are a 15 megaton explosion of early-eighties kitsch. The music, the hair, the nails, even that typeface used for the opening credits... It’s like being raped by 1982. In the eyes. And the purpose behind all this malarkey? A few hazy Morgan Fairchild beaver-shots.

Now, don’t get me wrong; that may be your thing. And if it is, lucky you, because The Seduction isn’t just about telling a decent story, it’s about showing Morgan Fairchild in as many swimming pools, hot tubs and saunas as humanly possible. Seriously, she spends more time in the water in this film than the shark does in Jaws – and, by the end of it, even my skin was starting to go wrinkly.

Which isn’t to say that The Seduction doesn’t also tell a decent story. Fairchild stars as Jaime Douglas, the smokin’ hot anchorwoman of the Six O’Clock News on Channel Six. When she’s not busy reporting on a recent spate of local “Sweetheart Murders”, Jaime can most likely be found sharing a bath with her rather mismatched older boyfriend, Brandon (Michael Sarrazin). But it seems she’s also getting some attention of the unwanted kind – in the shape of a young fan called Derek (Andrew Stevens), who’s much more her own age but, sigh, also a psychotic stalker.

After Derek breaks into her home, frenziedly snapping photos of her whilst slapping her about with cries of “wet your lips!”, Jaime approaches Brandon’s cop buddy Captain Maxwell (Vince Edwards) for help. Surprisingly, however, Maxwell is adamant that, “as far as the law’s concerned, this guy really hasn’t committed a crime” (remind me not to move to Hollywood), and Jaime’s left with no option but to buy a gun, lock her doors, and hope that Michael Moore doesn’t decide to make a documentary about celebrity firearm-owners.

Cue one of the movie’s biggest cheat sequences wherein, following a ten-minute sequence of Jaime soaping her thighs in the tub (while creepy Derek spies on her from the closet) the telephone rings. But – oh, sweet mother of Dale Midkiff – there’s no one on the line! Now, by this point, we’ve become accustomed to Jaime receiving strange calls but, since her stalker is clearly hiding nearby, we’re left wondering who placed this mysterious call. Does she have two stalkers? Does Derek have an early mobile phone that he uses to play the old “the calls are coming from inside the house” trick? Or is it all perhaps just another excuse to show Jaime wrapping herself provocatively in a towel?

No matter, because we’re heading towards The Seduction’s Live-On-Air Wig-Out scene. As fans of Anchorwoman In Peril movies will know, the heroine’s On-Air Wig-Out is the staple component of the genre, and this one’s a corker: Derek manages to sneak into the studio one evening and add a little page of his own to the Six O'Clock Report’s autocue script, resulting in Jaime reading out the words “Jaime, I’m watching you” in the middle of a report, before breaking down and whimpering, “He’s gonna kill me... Please help me... Please!”

Sadly, other than authorizing some time off work, no one really does do anything to help her, and it’s up to Jaime to sort things out for herself in a climax that involves the aforementioned shotgun and Jaime’s own top-secret weapon – her smouldering sexuality (or is that two weapons?). It’s in this last real that The Seduction finally bubbles over from tolerable pot-boiler to Fairchild-femme-fatale fever-pitch, bringing together all its subplots to a neat conclusion that neither cops out nor runs out of steam.

All the film really needs is a body count. Lord knows, there are enough peripheral characters to support a spot of pruning – from Jaime’s gay assistant (Kevin Brophy) to her best friend (Colleen Camp) – but the lack of nastiness detracts from the sense that Derek is actually dangerous. As a result, The Seduction never quite makes that step up from TV-movie level (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) to full-on shocker – a move that would have nudged it into the realm of the previous year’s Lauren Bacall vehicle, The Fan, which also concerned the then-hot topic of celebrity stalkers but thankfully required less nudity from its aging star.

Despite this flaw, your Anchorwoman In Peril education is NOT COMPLETE if you haven’t yet experienced The Seduction and its retro-fitted fabulousness. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and report directly to Morgan Fairchild’s hot tub.

Rating: 3/5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For years, whenever I'd get sick with the flu I had to see this movie! I'm still not sure why, but maybe it's a bit of a fever dream in and of itself.

I sat down in an unsick fashion last year and re-watched the DVD release and really enjoyed it. It's very of it's time and has a great romantic feel, without being romantic at all. Plus that Morgan Fairchild, MY GOD, she's perfect. Even my boyfriend used the word "fabulous" when describing her in an un-dressed state. I have to concur...

Also, I liked the acting a lot. I thought Andrew Stevens was really good. And who knew he was just prepping for Night Eyes!

I love the still you have of Morgan and Coleen Camp, the eternal "best friend" in these movies. A few years ago, I was watching that abysmal Charlize Theron movie Trapped and at the beginning Charlize gets a phone call from a friend. I jokingly said, "That must be Coleen Camp," and it was!

Nice review. I do agree, this movie should be seen. It's no groundbreaker, but it's definitely a well made romp.