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If there's a genre yours truly feels compelled to offer time, attention, and space to on Al Gore's internet, it's the erotic thriller. Many screens and minds have been devoted to discussing why the erotic thriller is worthy of study, but sometimes what it boils down to is that we like our murder and we like our sex and every now and then we like our sexy murder. And since this month SYFY FANGRRLS is shining a spotlight on all those lady killers out there, we thought we'd revisit some movies about particularly deadly women who have ingrained themselves into the public consciousness.
There's a lot about Basic Instinct that, uh, does not really hold up. But there are also several things that do, including Sharon Stone as unrepentant bisexual ice queen Catherine Tramell and Michael Douglas acting solely through jaw clenching. Oh, and I would absolutely read a Catherine Woolf thriller yesterday.
1. OK, first off, the soundtrack to this movie sounds like ... Indiana Jones? Wow, this is a Jerry Goldsmith joint. OF ALL THE FILMS.
2. Quite possibly the movie that introduced the world to silk-scarf bondage?
3. "A civic-minded, very respectable rock star" is how they describe Johnny Boz here but could also be used to describe Bono.
4. Michael Douglas' aviators deserve their own credit.
5. "I'm her friend." You know. Gals being pals.
6. This movie is already SO HORNY that someone putting their hair up in a ponytail becomes A Thing.
7. I love the Roxy mistaken-identity fakeout that leads the detectives out to Catherine's beach house where she is wearing THIS MAJESTY OF A CABLE-KNIT.
8. This is where they got the inspiration for Chris Evans in Knives Out in terms of obviously homicidal blondes, I'm convinced.
9. Any time a woman says anything vaguely suggestive in this movie, the camera lingers on the men for just an extra second to demonstrate that they are literally unable to handle it.
10. Jeanne Tripplehorn in over-sized glasses and an equally over-sized blazer. That's it.
11. I feel like having an on-again, off-again affair with the psychiatrist who's supposed to be evaluating you as a cop miiiight be a conflict of interest? Maybe?
12. Ah yes, when the famous author's parents mysteriously died in a boating accident and she inherited all their money, that's how you know she's been guilty this whole time.
13. Writing a murder into a book just one year before you actually commit it is a power move that should be respected.
14. Look, Love Hurts even has a stepback — ohhhh, never mind.
15. Aww, looks like the SFPD all got together to have their little Catherine Tramell book club.
16. Stephen Tobolowsky!
17. Wayne Knight!
18. Catherine asking Nick if he has a cigarette and then pulling out her own of an elegant case is also a power move.
19. Nobody has ever been sweatier on-camera than Wayne Knight in this interrogation scene.
20. I'm also distracted by how many cigarettes Catherine lights up that we never see finished. Where do they go? WHERE DO THEY GO?
21. I can never get past anyone who takes their eyes off the road to look at their passenger for too long in a driving scene, but it's even more egregious when it's RAINING OUTSIDE. You're asking for a hydroplane!
22. It is a well-known truth in fiction that anyone who works for Internal Affairs is going to be.a ballbuster who never cuts our lead character a break when they just need a break, man!
23. Somehow it makes complete and total sense that Catherine Tramell would be with a woman who looks exactly like her. The narcissism jumped out.
24. Michael Douglas spends this movie in various states of rage: aggressive rage, barely contained rage, vaguely horny rage, extremely horny rage. The ra(n)ge!
25. And now he's wallowing in despair and watching Jeffersons reruns. Classic sad man spiral.
26. Beth having a Bart Simpson keychain is somehow one of the most jarring details of this entire movie.
27. Ah yes, when a man expresses rage it's completely healthy and normal but when a woman does it, she's crazy! So progressive and not at all double-standardy!
28. Did you know Nick falls asleep while Hellraiser II is playing on the TV? Because as many times as I've seen this movie I didn't realize this until now.
29. Halfway through this movie Nick starts doing a Catherine Tramell impression while being interrogated as a murder suspect and it's … well, as poetic as it sounds. The symmetry!
30. Now Nick's on forced psych leave and he's not going to be doing anything destructive or bad for him at all!
31. While Nick starts to spiral out and sink back into bad vices, Catherine suddenly becomes Soft Hot Mommy Figure who picks his ice for him. I want to know if Sharon Stone had to take special ice-picking classes for this movie.
32. If there's one thing we know about Catherine Tramell, it's that she is subtle.
33. Pizza Hut product placement! This really was the ‘90s.
34. Michael Douglas is an eyes-open kisser and it is very distracting.
35. There are a lot of equal-opportunity butts in this movie too. We're even treated to some Dougl-ass.
36. Gus is the only one in this movie with a lick of sense. Also likes going to cowboy bars, which is the most endearing thing about him.
37. There are way more high-speed car chases in this movie than I remembered.
38. OK, but now I want the prequel where a young Catherine and a young Beth have a complicated queer relationship that may or may not result in the accidental death of their weird creepy student advisor. Because it would probably be at least 50% less problematic than whatever this movie tries to say they had.
39. I love that Beth lives across the street from a Jazzercise class so we can have them in the background during the movie's most emotional moments.
40. "She's evil! She's brilliant!" Don't we all strive to be those things?
41. This movie basically becomes about two women toying with Michael Douglas, which is exactly the kind of thriller I enjoy the most.
42. Wow, that cover art came together fast.
43. Banging a hot detective and then breaking up with him as soon as you've finished the book you're writing about him: a power move!
44. So uh, is anyone going to point out that Nick got to read the script for the movie before the scene actually happened?
45. If it all wraps up too neatly, it MIGHT be a setup. Just maybe.