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Domino is
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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Posted by Geoff at 11:22 PM CDT
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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Missi Schmid:
One of my favorite things is, you briefly mentioned that the movie kind of flips halfway through, and it’s like we get pulled into a different world. But there’s this one scene when he goes to Club X, when they’re doing that whole Relax song, where you see him and there’s that door labeled “Sluts,” and he’s standing there. The camera follows him, and we see the Holly character behind the swinging door. So the door is swinging, but we get glimpses of what she’s doing. The camera follows him in, but then everything goes neon, and you get the split-screen, where you’re watching her dance and you’re watching him watch her. And then when they close the door, she pulls him into her scene. And pulls him into her world. And everything turns upside down. And that’s probably my favorite part of the movie.

Posted by Geoff at 10:42 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 23, 2023 11:16 PM CDT
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Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Jonny Polonsky is interviewed by Guitar Player's Richard Bienstock:
The songs on Rise of the Rebel Angels go in so many directions stylistically. There’s rock, power-pop, glam, folk, piano ballads, punkier things. Where do you take musical influence from?

There’s so much. I love the Pretenders; Chrissie Hynde is a huge hero. Jeff Buckley. Oasis. The Beatles, obviously. Frank Black and the Pixies. Tom Waits. Mark Lanegan. The Replacements. Prince. I also love stuff like System of a Down – I’m really a huge fan of Daron Malakian’s guitar playing and songwriting.

And Julee Cruise – those records where Angelo Badalamenti did the music and David Lynch did the words: I’m a massive fan of those, especially the first one, [1989’s] Floating Into the Night. And of course I love all the ’70s glam stuff, like T. Rex, Bowie, Mott the Hoople. Sweet, Slade… All of that.

You play a variety of instruments on the record. But is guitar your go-to?

It’s definitely the instrument I feel most fluent on. I love drums and I love piano, but guitar comes easiest to me and it’s the one I’ve been playing the longest.

Is it your main songwriting tool?

Usually. Sometimes I’ll write on piano, or a synth sound will trigger something in me. Every once in a while I’ll write something in my head, like on a plane flight or when I’m out walking. But usually it’s from messing around on an acoustic guitar and finding some chords or a melody that feels good.

That’s what happened with, for instance, “Wrong Dove,” which is the second-to-last song on the album. I was just goofing around on the couch with a 12-string acoustic. And in retrospect, I can see that I’d been listening to a lot of [musician and producer] Alex G. I can hear that in it. It has that same kind of high falsetto vocal.

There’s also some great lead guitar work on the record, in particular on songs like “Everywhere All the Time,” and the first single, “Let It Rust,” which have very expressive slide work. And the closing track, “Live to Ride,” features a really over-the-top multitracked lead.

“Everywhere All the Time,” the lead in that is the melody from the theme from Body Double, the Brian De Palma film, which I’ve always loved. There’s always little musical Easter eggs that I’m intentionally or unintentionally leaving in. And I just thought that sounded cool in the song.

And something like “Live to Ride” – sometimes I get tired of having a pop tune with, like, a really tasteful solo. So on that one I was thinking more like Steve Vai, like, “How can I like ruin this song?” [laughs] And don’t get me wrong – I love Steve Vai. That’s not disparagement. I just thought that most people wouldn’t take a tune like that and put like a shredding solo on it. To me that felt sort of vulgar and inappropriate, which is why I wanted to do it. That one was done with the Schecter with the Sustainiac and the Floyd Rose, and I double- and triple-tracked it in places.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Saturday, May 13, 2023

Le Forum des images in Paris is currently in the midst of "Portrait de Los Angeles," a program of films (and classes/events about the films) set in Los Angeles. Brian De Palma's Body Double and The Black Dahlia are both included, as are works such as Chinatown, The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Mulholland Drive, Once Upon A Time...in Hollywood, Heat, American Gigolo, The Canyons, Licorice Pizza, Sunset Boulevard, Pleasure, Shampoo, The Long Goodbye, and many more.

All three of David Robert Mitchell's features to date - The Myth Of The American Sleepover, It Follows, and Under The Silver Lake - are also part of the series, as he was there last week for the retrospective of his films, and also presnted a Masterclass and "carte blanche," for which he chose two of the series' other films to speak about about. With help from Google Translate, here's what Télérama's Augustin Pietron-Locatelli writes:

On the occasion of its “Portrait of Los Angeles” cycle, the Forum des images received filmmaker David Robert Mitchell. Inhabited by the works of those who had filmed it before him, he superbly staged the city of angels in “Under the Silver Lake”.

He has seen films about it, and his own are full of references: in three feature films, David Robert Mitchell proves his mastery of a wide range of American genres. A reinterpretation of the teen movie, The Myth of the American Sleepover (2010, unreleased in France), his idea of Hitchcockian horror with It Follows in 2014, and then Under the Silver Lake, a hallucinated film noir, a little shunned during its passage in Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival 2018.

Originally from the suburbs of Detroit, "DRM" only landed in Los Angeles for its third feature film. But he knows by heart the classics that depict the city: he is well suited to draw a portrait of them. When we meet the American filmmaker before his first session presentation at the Forum des images in Paris, we discover a man who certainly does not look 48 years old. And who doesn't seem to have come down from an eleven-hour plane flight either... For his carte blanche, clever, he presents two films "which are dear to him", but which, above all, he evokes the air of nothing in his own feature films.

First, The Long Goodbye (1973), which was already haunting the balconies of posh villas… “Is the atmosphere of Robert Altman’s film reflected in mine? A little, but it's the fault of this sacred city, and of all these films about Los Angeles which overwhelm my subconscious," warns the filmmaker. Then, Body Double (1984), by Brian De Palma: “The most “Los Angeles” film of all time. I loved rediscovering it once I settled in California. It’s a brilliant work on voyeurism, strange and full of changes of tone…”

He is reminded that there is a lot of Body Double in Under the Silver Lake. He nods laughing. And continues: “Of course, just like there is a lot of Rear Window in Body Double. I love Hitchcock's films but De Palma takes his language, his techniques, pieces of history and transforms them, takes them further." Mitchell's third film also has this “patchwork” side crossed by references and reinterpretations; the filiation is essential, but we will not make him say that he prefers De Palma. “Do you realize what that would entail? I like both of them. I'm not very good at these rankings that sanctify."

David Robert Mitchell has his own relationship to idols. He cites them willingly, but denies doing so for free. “I am for the 'light' reference, which does not exist for the wink but to share a feeling, which the film arouses in me." Its main character, Sam (Andrew Garfield), for example, pursues a young blonde woman, Sarah (Riley Keough), who cannot fail to recall Naomi Watts in a certain David Lynch film on a certain Californian road. "Mulholland Drive? I built myself by idolizing Lynch. I wouldn't want to imitate him, especially not. I love him so much it must be accidental. Because I had already been told that after The Myth, for which I was thinking of everything but that. I'm probably inhabited… " In fact, Sarah evokes a completely different reference: the young woman speaks to Sam from a swimming pool, "the" scene of Something's Got to Give, the unfinished film - and cult - by George Cukor with Marilyn Monroe.

The director is aiming for the same thing with Los Angeles, and continues to reflect images that we already know, while opening new windows. It's the look of a Michigan native who grew up "super far from movies, while loving them very much". He also shot his first two feature films in Detroit. Then moved to Los Angeles, a city he struggled to “apprehend” at first, to tell himself that he was at home there. But Under the Silver Lake passes for a “Backpacker's Guide” created by a native who knows the city like the back of his hand, with places that we have not seen elsewhere. He tempers: “I arrived in LA with images in mind, seen in all the films all my life. Suddenly, I can reevaluate them by comparing them with the real thing. But the reality presented in the film no longer really exists. It is a set of micro-events, images and clues from my experience arriving in town."

All the same, we come across immutable landmarks. How many times have we filmed the Griffith Park observatory since Rebel Without A Cause? The references even start to intertwine, like in La La Land, where the characters watch the Nicholas Ray movie and then race down the hill. David Robert Mitchell also stages it in his feature film on Los Angeles. Sam performs a sketch with the statue of James Dean in front of the observatory. When asked what the intensity of the place is, "DRM" sketches a smile. "I wish I had a more interesting answer, a director's answer, let's say... But I love this place, and the films that have exploited it. Just going there is magic. In Under the Silver Lake, I think I scrutinized the statue with my director's gaze. But in real life, it's not even a movie anymore. It's just the whole soul of LA in one place!"

Posted by Geoff at 11:50 PM CDT
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Friday, May 12, 2023

Brian De Palma's Body Double is one of the films included in the series Pillow Stalk: Erotic Thrillers After Midnite at The Coolidge Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts. WBUR's Sean Burns writes about the program:
[Karina] Longworth’s pick from the Coolidge program — and my favorite of the films as well — is Brian De Palma’s blissfully irreverent 1984 “Body Double.” Screening this Friday, May 12, the movie stars Bill Maher-lookalike Craig Wasson as a pervy peeping tom duped into witnessing a murder. Directing with his middle fingers held aloft, De Palma answers critics who dismissed him as an Alfred Hitchcock copycat by mashing up “Vertigo” with “Rear Window” and casting the daughter (Melanie Griffith) of one of Hitch’s most iconic iceberg blondes (Tippi Hedren) as a porn star named Holly Body. Griffith’s hugely charismatic performance revived the former teen starlet’s flagging movie career, while De Palma’s flights of puckish virtuosity taunted his detractors with hilariously Freudian sights like the killer wielding a massive power drill at crotch level. We talk a lot about movies that couldn’t get made today, but when it comes to “Body Double,” Longworth admits, “it’s pretty incredible it ever got made.”

She’s higher than I am on "Cat People." Screening on May 20, Paul Schrader’s 1982 remake of Jacques Tourneur’s 1942 classic stars Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell as siblings descended from an ancient race that transforms into hungry sex panthers whenever they get too horny. Despite some sumptuous visuals by production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti and a hypnotic Giorgio Moroder score, the central metaphor has always struck me as a little too heavy-handed, even by Schrader standards. For a superior supernatural New Orleans-set neo-noir, I suggest Alan Parker's "Angel Heart," which plays on May 19. The film famously got Lisa Bonet fired from “The Cosby Show” for playing a Voodoo priestess who sacrifices chickens while seducing Mickey Rourke’s doomed private dick. (Any movie that so enraged a moral authority like Bill Cosby must be doing something right.)

For further Hitchcock sacrilege — and sacrilege in general — Ken Russell’s 1984 “Crimes of Passion” (screening May 26) stars Kathleen Turner as a buttoned-down businesswoman who puts on a platinum wig and moonlights as a sex worker named China Blue in a skanky, downtown no-tell motel. In this garish, neon underworld, she fends off the affections of a perverted priest played by the “Psycho” himself, Anthony Perkins, in his most repellent performance, which is saying something. Amid such company, Barbet Schroeder’s 1992 “Single White Female” (showing May 27) seems positively demure. It’s a sturdily-crafted, formula potboiler elevated by fine work from a much-missed Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh as her increasingly unhinged new BFF. My guess is it’s included in the program just for an unforgettable scene in which Fonda’s fiancée Steven Weber fails to recognize which roommate he’s with until a little too late.

The erotic thriller basically took its final bow in 1998 with John McNaughton’s “Wild Things,” screening on 35mm this Saturday, May 13. Matt Dillion stars as a hunky high school guidance counselor accused by two students of sexual misconduct in this swampy Florida romp full of sordid revelations and delicious double-crosses. The bad girl turns by Denise Richards and Neve Campbell imprinted upon an entire generation of teenage boys, while Kevin Bacon lets it all hang out as a pushy, ethically queasy cop. But the film is stolen by supporting players Theresa Russell and Bill Murray, who find the sweet spots between half-kidding and camp in a screenplay twisty enough that the plot is still explaining itself throughout the closing credits. “Wild Things” is so hopped up on horny tastelessness it’s almost as if the genre had nowhere left to go.

The very premise of the film is also unthinkable in today’s political climate, which is another reason you won’t see movies like these being made anymore. “I think there is a lot of fear in the culture right now about dealing with all of the issues surrounding sex between men and women,” Longworth says. “We’ve never come close to resolving most of the imbalances and inequalities that charge a lot of these movies of the ‘80s and ‘90s and I think we’re uncomfortable with the lack of progress. I also think that the best of these movies are somewhat ambiguous as to what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and ‘normal’ or ‘not normal,’ which is true to human nature but doesn’t jibe with a strain in our culture that wants to pretend that anything they don’t approve of or don’t feel comfortable with doesn’t exist.” Indeed, such stories are probably more palatable to modern audiences with the safe distance of being appreciated as artifacts from Hollywood's problematic past.

But hey, we’ll always have “Body Double.”

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Monday, April 24, 2023

Last week, Bloody Disgusting's Joe Lipsett posted an editorial/"Sex Crimes" column headlined, "The Self-Aware Meta Commentary in Brian De Palma’s Body Double" -
As we’ve discussed in previous entries, Erotic Thrillers owe a great deal to Film Noir, which – thanks to the Hays Code – tended to end by reinforcing a morally black and white view of the world. Body Double refuses this script: not only does Holly disapprove of being forced into Jake’s crusade and nearly being buried alive, but the pair don’t wind up together. And while the end of the film confirms that Jake has overcome his claustrophobia and returned to work, the final scene plays like it is gently mocking Jake’s B-movie role as a pervy vampire who is still working with body doubles.

In this way, Body Double works both as a great Erotic Thriller, and as self-aware meta commentary by De Palma about the subgenre and his own reputation within it. That’s pretty clever.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Saturday, March 11, 2023

Posted by Geoff at 1:02 PM CST
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Friday, December 9, 2022

On Friday, Waxwork Records announced that it will include a vinyl edition of Pino Donaggio's complete and expanded score for Brian De Palma's Body Double as part of its 2023 subscription plan, which includes six soundtracks total. The subscription goes on sale this Tuesday, December 13th, at 9am central. A version of this Body Double soundtrack will be made available to non-subscribers, but the vinyl records in that version might look different. Here is the Waxwork announcement from Facebook:
We are so excited to announce the return of the Waxwork Records Subscription! For the next week, we'll be revealing a new soundtrack title every day that's included for 2023 subscribers! Next up, Brian De Palma’s 1984 erotic thriller BODY DOUBLE featuring the complete and expanded score by Pino Donaggio (Carrie, Tourist Trap, The Howling) for the very first time on vinyl! This is one of our most requested releases and we are thrilled to finally bring it to you. Originally landing an X-Rating by blending elements of horror, mystery, and eroticism in a neon washed noir thrill ride, BODY DOUBLE was De Palma’s middle finger to Hollywood for the heavy pushback he received for exploring the boundaries of film making with his movie SCARFACE. "If this one doesn't get an X, nothing I ever do is going to. This is going to be the most erotic and surprising and thrilling movie I know how to make... I'm going to give them everything they hate and more of it than they've ever seen. They think Scarface was violent? They think my other movies were erotic? Wait until they see Body Double,” remarked De Palma in 1984.

The 2023 Waxwork Records Subscription goes on sale Tuesday, 12/13! Limited subscription spots are available so don’t miss out! 🔭

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Thanks to Peet for sending along a link to The Flashback Files' great new interview with Craig Wasson:
When you were cast as Jake Scully in BODY DOUBLE, do you know what movies Brian De Palma had seen of you?

That’s a good question. I know De Palma had seen a two-part episode of a TV series I did called Skag with Karl Malden. I played his oldest son. Like FOUR FRIENDS it’s about Serbian immigrants who are steel workers. And Karl Malden really is Serbian. It was wonderfully written by Abby Mann who also produced it. This two-part episode was about me and Karl going to Atlantic City on a break from the steel mill. While there I meet a hooker, played by Dee Wallace. Of course, my character falls in love and Karl’s like: You idiot! I’m like: She’s okay, dad. She’s a great gal. Anyway, it was so wonderful, working with Dee. She’s my favorite actress who I ever worked with. And this two-part episode is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever done. I know Brian De Palma saw this.

Just as a sidenote: Karl was the president of the Academy and he nominated me for membership. But they didn’t let me in! They rejected me.

That’s strange. What do you need to do to get in?

You’re asking me? I never got in! [Laughs] Supposedly, you give them a list of your credits and then you need two members who vouch for you. I had Michael McGuire and Karl Malden nominating me. And Karl was the president of the Academy. But I guess someone blackballed me. You can’t have anyone blackball you.

Now the same thing happened years later. In 2007 I go to Massachusetts to a film festival to honor Arthur Penn’s work. Sid Ganis was there, who produced AKEELAH AND THE BEE in which I have small part. And at that point he was the president of the Academy. And he walks up to me and says: How come you’re not a member of the Academy? I said: I’d like to be. He said: Just make a submission and I’ll make sure you become a member. And I got Sid and someone else to vouch for me. And I get rejected again!

But you know, it’s not that big of a deal, I don’t even have the clothes to go to these parties [laughs]. I’m a black T-shirt and jeans guy.

I’m nearly fifty and I never learned how to tie a tie.

[Laughs] I love you. You’re my kind of guy.

Let’s get back to De Palma. His movies are always exaggerated, even the performances in them. Did this prove a challenge for you? That scene in the tunnel for example…

No, I love De Palma. He’s an understated comedian. He’s really funny. And he’s a poet. That’s the thing people don’t know. He sees the humor in the fact that he’s supposed to do something as a filmmaker and then he does the opposite. He’s like: Why do I have to stay inside these boundaries? Yesterday I happened to be flipping the channels and SCARFACE was on, with my old buddy Steven Bauer. We used to call him Rocky Bauer. When I came to Los Angeles we used to play softball together with Andy Garcia. But I digress. The scene I was watching yesterday is the scene where those two gunmen come into the club and start shooting everybody. There’s one guy in that scene with a weird costume on and a conehead. And he’s wobbling around while he gets shot. Why is that guy even in that scene? But that’s Brian. Just throwing that guy in there.

But you did talk with him about the role of Jake Scully?

Sure. He pulled me aside and told me that this story was about mediated experience. For instance, the telescope represents television, movies, newspapers… And he said: You’re looking at something you love, that you adore, that means everything to you. And you’re seeing it’s in danger. But you don’t know what to do, what action to take. You’re frozen. Take action, Jake! Take action! Action! Right? It’s a great double entendre, with Jake being an actor. And he said: You don’t build up the courage to fight for what you love until what you love is gone and all that’s left is a bad impersonation of it. I was like: Wow, you’re blowing my mind! That’s what the movie was for him.

But Brian said: Nobody will ever see that. And he was right. Because he was always targeted. BODY DOUBLE came out the same week as THE TERMINATOR. That’s a great movie. It’s magnificent. But you know, it’s pretty violent. And we got criticized for being misogynistic, because one woman is murdered and you don’t even see it on screen. It’s all in your head. Well, there’s lots of movies where somebody dies. But now suddenly, Brian De Palma is a misogynist. And the critics at the time didn’t know what to make of him because he’s not a cookie-cutter kind of filmmaker.

The whole movie was also a salute to Hitchcock. Go back to Hitchcock and you can see it’s all there. I mean, Tippi Hedren’s daughter is Melanie Griffith! How on the nose can you get? De Palma asked me: Craig, can you do a Jimmy Stewart imitation? And I started answering him in my best Jimmy Stewart voice, but before I got anything out, he said: Don’t. You are Jimmy Stewart, just don’t do Jimmy Stewart.

My favorite sequence of the movie is where you follow Deborah Shelton to the Beverly Hills Mall and you’re watching her buy new underwear and you grab her old underwear out of the trashcan. There’s something humorous about that whole scene. It really lays bare Jake’s weakness.

I loved the interview you did with William Friedkin in which he says that people aren’t good or bad, they’re all in this grey area of morality. And he’s right. We’re all messed up. We can be great and horrible. So, a guy grabbing some underwear out of the trash. It’s disgusting, but at the same time you might think: I don’t know. I might do that. It’s an embarrassing human trait. You’re in love with a woman you don’t dare approach, now at least you have something. [Laughs]

Did the criticism of the movie hurt your career at the time?

It might have. People were offended by the fact that I wasn’t the typical hero. I played a less than perfect guy. A disappointing kind of guy, you know? I remember going to the premiere. Lot of big shots were there. I brought my girlfriend. My agent was sitting behind me. At first people were responding positively and I leaned over to my girlfriend, saying: I think it’s going well. But after it was over, there was no applause. Just this sort of hush. I thought: Oh, man, that’s not good. My agent was afraid to be seen with me. He walked out quickly, with his back to me. I thought: That’s not good either.

Maybe you were too successful in portraying Jake. Because it’s not only that he has a phobia, and he’s a peeper and a panty-stealer, or his inability to save Gloria. After all that he also goes undercover as a porn actor! I love that about the movie and I think your performance sells it. But watching BODY DOUBLE, you are embarrassed as a viewer. And if you don’t see the humor in this human folly, the way De Palma probably intended, then you’re not having a good time watching this.

I agree with you, brother. It’s the kind of movie people want to distance themselves from. That’s why the distance of years has made it more acceptable for some people. You could almost say: Oh, that was the eighties. But I got a secret for everyone out there… Nothing’s changed. Guys are still weird. [Laughs] And women are mostly fine with that. Let’s not kid ourselves.

Did the experience in BODY DOUBLE, doing the music video with Frankie Goes to Hollywood as a scene in the film, somehow inspire you to do a music video for Have Me Arrested?

I truly don’t remember if I did the video for Have Me Arrested before or after BODY DOUBLE. I know for a fact that I had written and recorded Have Me Arrested before the movie. The song was meant to address the news industry. It was about all these constant lies to control you through fear.

I wrote a song for the movie that De Palma actually was going to use. He had asked me to write it. He wanted something like Every Breath You Take. My song was called What You Do, I Do. But Columbia Pictures was owned by Coca-Cola at the time and they already had a deal with Frankie Goes to Hollywood. But it worked out for the best, because that video is great and the song is fantastic.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Sunday, October 9, 2022

In an article for the BBC timed for the 25th anniversary of Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights, Rachel Pronger delves into the interrelated history of the pornography and film industries:
As Karina Longworth highlights in her podcast series Erotic Eighties, the mainstreaming of porn in the 1970s also fed directly into Hollywood. A wave of erotic thrillers released across the 1980s and 1990s – films such as American Gigolo (1980), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) and 9½ Weeks (1986) – drew directly on the aesthetics of pornography, offering up naked movie stars as sex symbols. Aside from these erotic thrillers, another way in which porn has clearly influenced Hollywood lies in the small but significant subgenre of films set in the industry. Like Boogie Nights, the best of these films have as much to say about the power dynamics and ethical challenges of working in Hollywood as they do about pornography.

Unlike other films of the 1980s erotic thriller boom, Brian De Palma's Body Double (1984) is explicit about the crossover between Hollywood and porn. This campy and heightened B-movie homage centres on Jake (Craig Wasson) a struggling actor who becomes obsessed with performer/body double Holly Body (Melanie Griffith) and is sucked into LA's seedy underworld. Intentionally lurid and violent, Body Double split critics on it release. While some responded positively – Roger Ebert called it "an exhilarating exercise in pure filmmaking" – others criticised the film as sensationalist schlock and "creepy crud". Body Double was particularly strongly critiqued by feminist commentators who drew a link between De Palma's depiction of violence and real-life violence against women, an accusation that has followed the director across his career, much to his annoyance. "I got slaughtered by the press right at the height of the women's liberation movement," remembered De Palma in a 2016 interview. "I thought it was completely unjustified. It was a suspense thriller, and I was always interested in finding new ways to kill people."

Body Double has enjoyed something of a renaissance lately, with a new generation of critics restyling the film as a misunderstood gem. As time has passed De Palma himself has evolved from enfant terrible to filmmaker's filmmaker, becoming the subject of an admiring documentary helmed by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow, and increasingly celebrated for his influence. Certainly, one can sense Body Double's bloody fingerprints all over Ti West's X (2022), a kitsch slasher flick about a porn crew who are stalked by a frenzied killer, which draws heavily on 70s exploitation films but has more than a dash of De Palma's camp sensibility, dark humour and stylised violence.

Although not to everyone's taste, Body Double's self-conscious excess serves a purpose, indulging in Hollywood excess while simultaneously critiquing it. Like Anderson, De Palma constantly references other filmmakers, particularly Alfred Hitchcock – the film's plot riffs directly on Vertigo and Rear Window – and these references have gained new potency over the years. Watching Body Double today brings to mind Hitchcock's abusive treatment of actor Tippi Hedren (Griffith's mother) and this connection adds another layer to the film's commentary on Hollywood's abusive dynamics. With its nudity and violence Body Double has its cake and eats it, but it nevertheless asks provocative questions. If Hollywood can serve up the same salacious thrills – and exploitative dynamics – as porn, where does the division between the two industries lie?

Alongside other explicit Hollywood films of the era, Body Double was caught up in a furious debate around depictions of sex on screen which became known as the "porn wars". One of the key arguments of the porn wars was that pornography inevitably exploits female performers. In 1986, Linda Lovelace herself became an ally of anti-porn campaigners when she testified before Congress that she had been violently coerced into appearing in Deep Throat, stating shockingly that "virtually every time someone watches that movie, they're watching me being raped". Lovelace's testimony called into question the idea of sexually liberated femininity that underpinned "porno chic" and exposed the potentially troublesome dynamics of the industry.

Posted by Geoff at 10:14 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, October 9, 2022 10:15 PM CDT
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