THE EXCELLENT EIGHTIES: Twisted Obsession (1989)

Originally titled El Sueño del Mono Loco (The Dream of the Mad Monkey), this is based on the Christopher Frank book. While it has the 90’s genre of erotic thriller attached to it, this is very much in the world of the giallo.

To wit: Jeff Goldblum’s Dan Gillis is a stranger in a strange land, one of the key tropes of the giallo, a writer in Paris who has been left behind by his wife and suddenly a single father to his son Danny. A writer by trade, he’s brought in by a producer to work with an enfant terrible young director named Malcolm Greene on a script.

Ironically, the actor playing that young director — Dexter Fletcher — would grow up and move on from acting (he was Baby Face in the absurd and wonderful child gangster musical Bugsy Malone) to directing some of today’s biggest films, such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman.

What draws us closer to the psychosexual domain of the giallo is that Gillis soon becomes obsessed by Malcolm’s sister Jenny (Liza Walker from Hackers in her first film). While presented as somewhere in her teens, she’s also a lolita who possesses the sexual attention of every man she meets, from our protagonist to her brother.

Miranda Richardson also figures in as Dan’s disabled agent who, like everyone in this movie, just wants to get horizontal with one of West Homestead’s favorite sons.

I’m not saying this is a good movie. I’m just saying that it’s interesting that somehow Goldblum made two movies one after the other — this and Mister Frost  — that are borderline bonkers horror experimentations that no one really talks about. This is after he was a star from The Fly and yet here he is, making really strange movies in foreign lands. Leave it to a Mill Creek box set to bring this to my attention.

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