.com for Murder hits everything I’m looking for in a movie:
Nico Mastorakis (Death Has Blue Eyes, Sky High, The Wind, Nightmare At Noon, Bloodtide, Ninja Academy, Island of Death) makes entertaining junk and I use the word junk with the highest possible esteem. I mean, the dude was a muckraking reporter and co-wrote some songs with Vangelis before he even got into movies.
It’s a movie about an internet — and a dark web! — that doesn’t even exist this way today, filled with graphics that are once dated and futuristic and giving me the warmest of feelings.
A direct-to-video movie?
Appearances by rock stars — Huey Lewis and Roger Daltrey — and gorgeous leads — Nicolette Sheridan and Nastassja Kinski — in what is really a giallo no matter how much you dress it up as an erotic thriller?
Daltry is Ben, an architect married to Sondra (Kinski) who has just broken her leg in a skiing mishap. When he leaves town, she uses the computer that runs their house — called HAL, right? — and finds out that her husband has been talking dirty in internet chat rooms. She plays sleuth and gets online and sets herself up on a date with one of the girls online — which is amazingly not a dude, welcome to science fiction — named Lynn (Kim Valentine, who was in Mastorakis’ Grandmother’s House) before she’s locked out by a hacker named Werther (Jeffrey Dean). She logs off just as her sister Misty (Sheridan) comes to look after her and before you can say Rear Window, they watch Werther murder Lynn via online feed — it was 2002, so I imaging he was using Real Player and man, the buffering — as he quotes Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe.
The police can barely handle real crime, much less giallo police handling psychosexual crimes, much less 2002 police handling web crime, so they refer Sondra and Misty to FBI agent Matheson (Lewis and yes, I am as shocked as you; he does not show off his hog as in Short Cuts) who has experience with these kinds of murders. He advises them to call an expert to fix their computer but what if the expert is the killer?
This movie also has Melinda Clarke — who knows a little about giallo style murder as she played Lady Heather on CSI — as Lewis’ partner and Shelley Michelle (Showgirls 2), Sandra Eloani and goddess walking in the world of mortal men Julie Strain as virtual exotic dancers.
Imagine if Manhunter wasn’t a well-made masterpiece and instead a near-Cinemax After Dark ripoff of The Net and man, just writing that makes me want to watch this all over again. Bonus score for Huey Lewis yelling, “Fuck computers!”
The Arrow Video blu ray — I love that they’re steadily releasing everything Mastorakis made — has the film in high definition, as well as The Making of .com for Murder; .com for Murder: The Unknown Story, a new featurette in which producer-director Nico Mastorakis revisits the production; interviews with Daltrey and Lewis, a trailer, an image gallery, a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys and an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by David Flint. You can get it from MVD.
I love Mastorakis’s stuff. He’s one of those guys who makes good-looking movies that are beneath the flash surface, just sleaze. Unmitigated sleaze.