Tag Archives: 1987

My Demon Lover

MDL cover

My Demon Lover / 1987
85 minutes
Dir.: Charlie Loventhal
Starring: Scott Valentine, Michele Little, Arnold Johnson

Movies that cram in as many genres as possible are the best. What could be more special than a movie that wants to cover so much ground? And what could be more fascinating than watching that fail? Enter My Demon Lover, a romantic comedy with an OUTRAGEOUS twist: its main character Kaz (the attractive male lead played by attractive male human Scott Valentine) is secretly a hideous monster. Even TWISTIER? His grotesque features only show themselves when he is sexually aroused. But he still believes in LOVE, goddammit, and he’s seeking it out the only way he knows how: groping women on the street.

My Demon Lover is a massive failure, but not because of the wild concept – this is obviously a great idea for a movie. It’s the execution. There’s a fun way to do the classic “man-turns-into-ugly-beast-when-horny” trope and there’s My Demon Lover’s way, which makes Kaz out to be a sexual deviant and serial killer for half its runtime. The movie could be amusing and cute; instead the inconceivably vulnerable Denny (the attractive female lead played by attractive female human Michele Little) always appears so desperate that it comes off unsettling and cruel.

The film opens with Denny’s boyfriend Chip dumping her via burglary, leaving her with nothing but garbage and a tin of tuna (but no can opener – HA!). “I could’ve made it work…I can make anything work,” she says to her man-eater Sassy Hispanic Friend, who probably has a name, but whatever. From the opening montage, you can tell this movie is meant to be A Real New York-style Rom-Com! – cute, with a little bit of artistic edge, but super cute – but Denny’s weakness and submissiveness is more suited to a Lifetime Original Movie about a chronically abused girlfriend holding on to unrealistic ideals of love who just doesn’t understand that before a person can be happy in relationships, she must be happy…with herself.

So, when Denny chases down Chip’s van shouting, “I think this relationship isn’t working!” it’s not cute, it’s depressing. When she blames herself and makes excuses for Chip, who, she explains, left her because he didn’t want to come to her birthday party, you’re not on her side, and you’ve already thrown your VCR out the window. HEY but look at her kooky outfits!!!

Kooky!!!

Kooky!!!

Cut to Kaz, busking in a subway car, apparently homeless, coated in a fine layer of sexy movie-grime and dressed like a reject from a Hall & Oates-themed Sears catalog photo shoot. He plays the saxophone, perhaps a metaphor for the yearning that drives him, or maybe just a funny instrument for a guy in a surprisingly well-lit New York City subway car to be playing at the beginning of a movie about a gnarly sex monster.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Comedy, Horror, Romance

Delirious / Raw

Delirious / 1983
70 minutes
dir: Bruce Gowers

Raw / 1987
93 minutes
dir: Robert Townsend

In the final moments of Delirious, Eddie Murphy mentions Marian Anderson, the African-American singer who in 1939 was denied from performing in Washington, D.C.’s Constitution Hall, where Delirious was filmed in August 1983. “Here we are not even fifty years later – a 22-year-old black man onstage gettin’ paid to hold his dick. God bless America.” He drops the mic and leaves the stage, followed by the camera and an attentive entourage through the hall’s tunnels to a feast in his dressing room.

From 1981 to 1990, ages 19 to 29 Eddie Murphy was the biggest celebrity in the country, maybe the world. He started on Saturday Night Live at 19, and would soon begin starring in some of the most iconic comedy and action movies of the decade. Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places, 48 Hrs., Coming to America (and don’t forget The Golden Child!) – each holding strong as all-time greats. (Maybe not The Golden Child…)

But what really put Murphy on a separate plane were his two stand-up specials, Delirious and Raw. You weren’t about to see any other young comedians doing crossover action movies in 1983; no other action star would be caught dead doing ten minutes of stand up, let alone over an hour. Onstage, Eddie was immature, brash, and ridiculously crude; the candid style, rapid-fire pace, and loose structure reminded the audiences of just How Fucking Cool he was, and they ate it up. Twenty-five and thirty years later, though, the vulgarity and the bluntness and the outfits leave Murphy looking unhinged, deep into some ego (cocaine) fueled tirades that have become increasingly less resonant with anyone that isn’t Eddie Murphy.

These specials – 1987’s Raw was actually a theatrically released concert film directed by Robert Townsend that grossed over fifty million dollars – document the divide between Eddie Murphy: Mega Star and Eddie Murphy: Human Being. Obviously, those halves had to meet somewhere. The necessity of red and purple leather suits, however, is less apparent.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy