‘We Kill for Love’ Review: Soft-Core Erotica of the VCR Years


If “Boogie Nights” had a villain, it was the videotape. For the characters, the advent of that technology ended the golden age of pornographic films and ended the illusion that they were making art.

Documentary film “We Kill for Love” Counters say the home video market inaugurated a heady era in its own right: not a renaissance of hard-core porn, but the direct-to-VHS soft-core boom that peaked in the 1990s, with outlets like Blockbuster Thanks to the demand of , which at least officially abstained from anything with an NC-17 rating.

These films featured a parallel production system, an alternate universe of stars (Shannon Tweed, Joan Severance) and titles that liken the documentary to a magnetic-poetic kit of recurring adjective-noun combinations: “Dangerous Passion,” “Criminal Passion, ” ” Inner Sanctum 2.” As the film reveals in a hilarious sequence, the industry has also complicated the lives of archivists by recycling cover art and changing names.

“We Kill for Love”, which has the subtitle “The Lost World of the Erotic Thriller” – and is presented not as “a film”, but as “a video” by its director Anthony Penta – is clarifies that its main interest is in this semi-forgotten subculture and its product, most of which never reached DVD. Enduring mainstream smashes like “Fatal Attraction” and “Basic Instinct” may have similar subject matter, but they don’t quite matter.

However, both of those films have come up for analysis, with “Fatal Attraction” screenwriter James Dearden taking the plunge in an interview. Somewhat paradoxically, “We Kill for Love” tries to propel its catalog of grade-Z erotica into an apparently rightful place next to those hits that—and even Hitchcock, Also in canon with “Double Indemnity” and “Dressed to Kill”. The documentary cleverly combines interviews with vintage-noir scholars such as James Ursini and Ellen Silver with commentary from veterans of direct-to-video productions. Actress Monique Parent says that her output in the 1990s was so great that she can’t always remember which film is which.

These films certainly provide fodder for academics. “We Kill for Love” notes that they could only flourish when private viewing became possible, and that distribution through video stores enabled filmmakers to recoup their costs. Nina K., author of “Sexy Thrills: Undressing the Erotic Thriller”. Martin argues that these neglected films focus more on women: “If we only had films like ‘Z,’ ‘Fatal Attraction,’ ‘Basic Instinct,’ ‘Body of Evidence,’ we’d just think Women were sexual beings – dangerous, deadly, mysterious – and men had to be wary of them or tame them somehow.

Despite the game’s attempt to confirm the director’s aesthetic vision Zalman King (“Red Shoe Diaries”), whose daughter Chloe King appears here as a frequent commentator, dialogue, acting and mise-en-scenes in the clips are part of a lost universe of classics or even a sufficiently rich cycle don’t support the notion 163 minutes to a close read – a soft-core companion to Thom Andersen’s great cinematic essay”los angeles plays itself,'” a template that “we kill for love” emerges intermittently. For example, many sociological insights about the tropes used to depict wealth and status can be applied to Hollywood counterparts.

Still, it’s hard to resist how “We Kill for Love” works from the shadows.

we kill for love
not evaluated. Running Time: 2 hours 43 minutes. Available to rent or buy on most major platforms.


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