Tag Archives: VHS

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.

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Filed under Comedy, Horror, Romance

No Secrets

NO SECRETS
No Secrets
/ 1991
92 minutes
Dir: Dezso Magyar
Starring: Adam Coleman Howard, Amy Locane, Heather Fairfield, Traci Lind

Do you remember Adam Coleman Howard? He is and shall forever be best known for his debut role as Joshua Greer, James Remar’s rambunctious murdering manchild sidekick in Quiet Cool. Three years passed before he returned to the big screen in Slaves of New York, a Merchant/Ivory production in which he plays a mustachioed artist and asshole boyfriend/manchild opposite hat designer Bernadette Peters. His next movie was 1990’s Pacific Palisades, in which he most likely plays the same role, but this time with ’80s character actor Anne Curry and future Bond girl Sophie Marceau.

I say “most likely” because there aren’t clips of it online. This is shit you can’t even find on THE INTERNET. The same was true of 1991’s No SecretsNo Secrets is a movie about three sixteen-year-old girls who invite ACH’s enigmatic and buff character, Manny Corea, into their cabin. (I made that spelling up; it might be Correa, Korea, Cuhreeuh, who knows it doesn’t matter.) For the girls, this results in much seduction, mistrust, and personal growth. Viewers, however, may experience feelings varying from deathly boredom to madness.

But unless you have your VCR handy, you won’t be able to see for yourself. This movie never made it off VHS, stamped UNWORTHY OF TRANSFER by RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video and tossed carelessly aside. How many others met the same fate, relics of technology left to rot in someone’s collection until thrown up on Amazon or eBay for a fraction of their true worth? What will be lost in the transition from DVD to Blu-Ray? What gems may never be discovered?

Fortunately, No Secrets is no gem. It’s one of only three movies produced by a long-defunct company called Curb Communications, and was co-produced by a gentleman named John Hardy, in need of a swift cool-down after working on Steven Soderbergh’s breakthrough, Sex, Lies, and Videotape. (Or, he saw the magic of Adam Coleman Howard, and knew he needed to hitch his wagon to that star right quick! Both seem possible.) No Secrets opened just weeks ahead of Madonna: Truth or Dare and Hudson Hawk in summer 1991. “Surely,” one wise producer must’ve surmised, “this taut thriller, the English-language film debut of a Hungarian writer/director about three teenagers and Ann Landers’ grandson will hold its own against a documentary featuring the world’s biggest pop star and that dude from MOONLIGHTING. (Raucous, arrogant laughter.)” Hollywood seems like a magical place. [ACH really is the grandson of Eppie Lederer, writer of “Ask Ann Landers.”]

No Secrets is a stupid, stupid movie. It’s aiming for this eerie River’s Edge-esque sexy thriller/morality tale area, but fails so miserably that as you watch it, you literally feel the time slipping from your life like sand between your fingers. It has no spooky David Lynch-ian allure; it’s not the intense erotic thriller about three girls testing the bonds of friendship it thinks it is; it’s certainly not the dark, complex romance about self-discovery that it has the potential to be. It’s nothing. But this nothingness is not entirely bleak, for there was Adam Coleman Howard, and lo, he was good.

*

The plot of the movie: three longtime girlfriends – they’re all from Brentwood, CA, which is made clear because it shows they’re all well-off and of good familial standing, not that this actually matters – have been drifting apart, but were talked into spending “spring vacation” together at the family cabin of Claire, the dowdiest of the girlfriends. They dress like their personalities, so it’s easy to keep them straight. Red sweater blonde hair Jen is SEXY but INSECURE. Leather jacket and sort-of-dreadlocks Sam is CONFIDENT and COOL but also INSECURE. Khaki-to-the-bone Claire is REALLY DOWDY. And Adam Coleman Howard is Manny, the wildcard stranger who had been squatting in the cabin. He evades detection and fakes a bicycle accident out front, so the girls foolishly invite him in and allow him to stay. “I’ll show you a week you’ll never forget,” he promises, of course. One by one, they all fall for him, then reject his mysterious wiles, and I guess probably learn something meaningful. Despite some close calls, no virginities are lost.

No virginities were harmed in the making of this film.

No virginities were harmed in the making of this film.

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Filed under Drama, Suspense