Monday, May 24, 2021


 by Adam Riske

The Carolco Pictures series is heating up with 10 things about Basic Instinct.

1. Let’s talk about sex! The love scenes in Basic Instinct are terrific for a mainstream movie. My only observations are when Catherine (Sharon Stone) scratches Nick’s (Michael Douglas) back and he starts bleeding…wouldn’t you stop? You’re bleeding on white sheets! Also, blood and sex isn’t everyone’s PB&J, you dig? Also, when Catherine is on top of someone and finishes, she does this lunge forward (which is supposed to be suspenseful because we don’t know if she’s gonna icepick the guy or not), but when she doesn’t it looks like she’s sticking a landing or doing the sex version of going “Ta-da!” But whatever, just a couple knuckleheads in their prime having the time of their lives. Supposedly, Michael Douglas made Basic Instinct in part because he was afraid Hollywood films would stop having sex scenes due to the AIDS epidemic. That’s like telling Michael Jordan he can’t play with a basketball.

2. I first found out about Basic Instinct because it had a trailer on the Terminator 2: Judgement Day VHS tape. It confused 9-year-old Adam. I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew one day (like Ariel in The Little Mermaid) I wanted to be a part of that world.
3. On this revisit, I was impressed how good of a thriller Basic Instinct is, especially compared to many of its contemporaries including Body of Evidence, Sliver, Whispers in the Dark, Color of Night, Jade, etc. It’s more than a sex movie; it’s a really solid neo-noir too.

4. Michael Douglas is great at playing sleazy guys. It’s a smart choice by the filmmakers (director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas) to have his detective character suspended after the first half of the movie and spiraling the drain for the second half. I really bought Michael Douglas’ character’s obsession with Sharon Stone and that’s because…

5. Sharon Stone has never been better than she is in Basic Instinct. It’s a phenomenal performance and she was absolutely deserving of becoming an overnight movie star because of this movie. Her performance in Basic Instinct has a sense of play, darkness, warmth, and (in a weird way) joy that felt refreshing when compared to a lot of her later, tortured person performances.
6. The movie is nearly stolen by George Dzundza, who plays Michael Douglas’ partner, a cowboy detective in San Francisco. Whether he’s giving knowing glares, slurping down diner chili (or soup? Idk) or calling Douglas “hoss,” Dzundza seems like he’s having the time of his life.

7. The V-neck sweater Michael Douglas wears to the club is one of the best moments of 1990s cinema. That thing should be displayed in the soon-to-open Academy Museum.
8. Supporting actor Denis Arndt (who plays Lieutenant Walker) is the most-Hal Holbrooky not Hal Holbrook I’ve ever seen in a movie. Leilani Sarelle (who plays Roxy Hardy) is the most Tammy Laureny not Tammy Lauren I’ve ever seen in a movie. No wonder I like Roxy.

9. The thing that creeps me out more than anything in Basic Instinct is every sighting of Hazel Dobkins (Dorothy Malone). She’s my Pazuzu.

10. Presumably Catherine is going to kill Nick soon after the movie ends, right? How the hell is she going to get away with it this time?

See you next time when we gather back around the campfire to talk about a Carolco release that I’ve never seen before – Johnny Handsome!

1 comment:

  1. There was a very uninteresting sequel that had Catherine getting away with the murder of Nick and running to London to kill more people. She locked her eyes on a psychiatrist played by David Morrisey (who would go on to WALKING DEAD fame as The Governor). Silly stuff... but I think the question at the end of the first film is not if she will kill him but when. Verhoven said Catherine is the personification of the devil, and could get away with anything she put her mind to.