We Kill for Love
(adult content) –
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 2h 43m
Director(s): Anthony Penta
Where To Watch: Special screening at LA's legendary [relaunched] Vidiots on August 31, 2023, with filmmaker Anthony Penta and others in-person. On Demand September 1
RAVING REVIEW: Dive into the shimmering waters of 80s and 90s erotic thrillers with Anthony Penta's WE KILL FOR LOVE. Do you long for the days of your grainy late-night TV? This documentary is your golden ticket to an era where the lines between suspense, allure, and authentic narratives were blurred, creating movie magic.
Picture this: You're transported back to when home videos were the rage and erotic thrillers weren't just midnight guilty pleasures. They were cinema's sizzling stories, brimming with plot twists that tied viewers' minds into delightful knots. But WE KILL FOR LOVE is far from a humdrum stroll down memory lane. Penta intricately maps out the legacy left behind by industry stalwarts, including the versatile Andrew Stevens, the enigmatic Kira Reed, the ever-so-talented Amy Lindsay, and countless others. Through his lens, these erotic thrillers get recast not as fleeting amusements but as tales crafted with dedication, depth, and sheer artistic gusto.
Our charismatic guide, Penta, doesn't stop at just showcasing the zenith of this genre. He connects the dots, comparing its cinematic depth to film noir, another genre known for its moody brilliance and layered narratives. It’s a time-traveling delight, charting the portrayal of evolving societal perspectives and the ever-changing dance of femininity on the silver screen. One of my favorite moments in the documentary was mid-way through when there were comparisons of films that were released in the US and Europe under different titles, different art, and more, all to connect to other films that were popular before; this is a trend that the horror genre uses even in modern times.
While the memories might be foggy for some, Penta makes them shine anew with his restorative touch, taking viewers and guiding them through this bygone era of direct-to-video. Instead of focusing merely on the sultry allure, he challenges viewers to perceive the layers beneath — the artistry, the societal dialogues, and the empowerment narratives that these stories championed—even going so far as to compare the roots of the genre to one of cinemas all-time greatest, Alfred Hitchcock himself.
Yet, while erotic thrillers thrived in the sultry cinematic limelight, Penta doesn't hesitate to probe deeper. These movies weren't just about sensuous escapades. They were boundary-pushers, rebels who asked tough questions and made the audience rethink their deep-seated beliefs. Oddly, they were even credited as women empowerment films to an extent. Although that doesn't add up in the rearview mirror of history, it was interesting to see how many sought these roles.
However, as all tales have their final act, the fall of VHS and the rise of DVDs marked the closing scenes for the golden age of erotic thrillers. However, the increase in direct-to-streaming is seeing a rise of this once mighty subgenre again, even though the genre's glow faded with market shifts and corporate titans like Blockbuster Video directing the narrative of the day.
WE KILL FOR LOVE is not merely a documentary but an ode, a heartfelt ballad to a bygone era, covering unforgettable movies and the visionaries who dared to be different. This is a must-watch, specifically if you are of the demographic that grew up seeing these titles on video store shelves. While this may not connect with some younger film enthusiasts, the core audience will love the trip down memory lane.
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[photo courtesy of YELLOW VEIL PICTURES]
MY SAG-AFTRA/WGA STRIKE STATEMENT:
As an advocate for creators, actors, and writers, I firmly stand with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA in their current strike. The entertainment industry is built on these individuals' extraordinary talents, and their contributions must be appropriately recognized and rewarded. They deserve fair compensation, sensible work hours, and respect for their creative rights. I believe in the power of unity and collective action, and I'm steadfast in my support for their fight for better working conditions and fair remuneration. Together, we can shape a more equitable future in the entertainment world.
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