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Published by Film Fanaddict on 2006/12/21 (4749 reads)
Directed by David Schmoeller
Review by Chris Barry
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Running Time: 104 minutes
Color format: Color
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Audio Commentary with Producers Irwin Yablans and Bruce Cohn Curtis, and Writer/Director David Schmoeller; Featurettes: Remembering THE SEDUCTION; Remembering the Locations and Production; THE SEDUCTION and the Law; Trailer.
THE SEDUCTION isn’t a great film. It doesn’t display great direction, writing or acting. And it isn’t particularly gripping.
But what it does display is prophecy. Lost in a quagmire of slasher films that were dominating American box office in the early 1980s, THE SEDUCTION slipped into this burgeoning subgenre of horror purely through marketing. But the film, written and directed by David Schmoeller, transcends the slasher label because it addressed a relatively unknown phenomenon at that time – that of celebrity stalker.
THE SEDUCTION is more of a psychological thriller as opposed to a FRIDAY THE 13TH clone like so many horror films during that time. While FRIDAY THE 13TH and others were made up of a series of set pieces of sexually adventuresome teen-agers getting hacked up, THE SEDUCTION presents an adult story of a popular newscaster named Jamie Douglas (Morgan Fairchild) being stalked by an overzealous fan named Derek (Andrew Stevens) without any visible motivation.
Interestingly, THE SEDUCTION is told from two perspectives – that of Jamie, who is victimized by Derek and that of Derek, who is also referred to as a victim. According a psychologist in the movie, Derek is the victim of a psychological disorder known as erotimania, which is when a person is under the delusion that the love he or she gives to someone is returned by that object of desire. Derek, it seems, is “in love” with Jamie. He’s filled with fantasies and focuses on her even though she’s an untouchable “celebrity.” From Derek’s point of view, Jamie “talks” to him every night while he watches her on TV.
Derek spies on Jamie from his house, which is located on a hill above her residence. He also phones her and shows up at her television studio with candy. He buys her gifts but, when she rebukes him, he grows agitated and violent.
As Derek becomes more relentless, Jamie – who cowers in fear throughout most of the film – decides that the best way to deal with him is by “becoming” him. She turns the tables and this is where THE SEDUCTION falls apart and ends up with a final shoot-out with a predictable outcome. It’s neither satisfying nor disappointing – it’s just inevitable.
In 1982, writer Schmoeller tapped into the roots of an American trend wrapping itself in a cult of personality. Shortly before THE SEDUCTION was produced, Mark David Chapman stalked and murdered John Lennon in December of 1980. A few months later, John Hinckley, Jr., who had been stalking Jodie Foster, shot Ronald Reagan in an attempt to get Foster’s attention. Certainly Schmoeller molded this bizarre behavior for his story. But, oddly, there were no laws in place to handle stalkers and celebrities were, basically, on their own when confronted by an obsessive fanatic.
In THE SEDUCTION, the police state as much to Jamie. In fact, they advise her to “get a gun.” Her boyfriend Brandon (Michael Sarrazin) shows her how to use a pump action shotgun despite her protestations – she’s not a violent person.
The story foreshadows the infamous stalker tragedy of actress Rebecca Schaeffer, who was shot to death by a delusional fan named Robert Bardo in 1989. When Schaeffer was murdered, there weren’t any laws on the books dealing with nutcase fans. But because of the increasing incidents, a law was passed in 1990, turning the Schaeffer death into a landmark case. According to the director of THE SEDUCTION (in the documentary included on the DVD called “The Seduction and the Law”), the film has been used as a model to raise public awareness about stalking. Whether this is true or not, it certainly could be – after all, it does carry the weight of expertise.
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