SOFTCORE FILMS

BODY OF INFLUENCE

This 1993 film is from Axis Films International, the premier producer of erotic thrillers in the 1990’s. Written by David P. Schreiber and directed by Axis co-owner Gregory Dark (as Gregory Hippolyte) it co-stars Nick Cassavetes and the amazing Shannon Whirry.

Cassavetes plays Jonathan Brooks, a successful psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, whose patients appear to be exclusively wealthy sexually-frustrated housewives. Several of his patients have been known to occasionally make sexual advances towards Jonathan, but he never appears to be the slightest bit tempted, not even when one of this patients, played by former adult-film star Tiffany Million (as Sandra Margot) strips naked in his office and straddles him. This restraint and professionalism earns him the admiration of his loyal secretary Helen (played by Catherine Parks). Jonathan is also happily living with his fiancé Jennifer (Diana Barton), a successful attorney, who at one point remarks that the reason she and Jonathan are perfect for each other is because “both of us are completely in control of our lives. No messes, no surprises.”

Well, that control begins to unravel when Jonathan gets a new patient, a meek woman named Laura, played by Shannon Whirry. Laura complains of blacking out and waking up next to strange men, not remembering what happened, while also suffering from various bruises and scars that indicate sexual violence. Through hypnosis, she begins remembering some encounters, including one night where a man (played by Don Swayze) ties her to a bed and has sex with her). One night Laura randomly shows up at Jonathan and Jennifer’s house, and begins screaming and acting erratic until Jonathan is forced to sedate her with drugs. Next in therapy, further hypnosis brings out a split-personality in Laura, a much more sexually aggressive persona calling herself Lana. Lana begins attempting to seduce Jonathan and daring him to be more sexually daring, which eventually leads Jonathan to not only begin sleeping with Laura/Lana but also with two of his patients. Soon Jonathan’s life is spiraling out of control, as he risks losing his fiancé and his medical license by his actions.

A subplot in this film involves a local serial killer who is strangling prostitutes. Richard Roundtree plays a police detective on the case, who happens to be a friend of Jonathan and enlists his help trying to solve it. This seemingly unrelated plot eventually ties into the main storyline when the man whom we saw tie up Laura/Lana in her flashback gets arrested as a suspect.

Storywise, this film doesn’t work as well as it could. First there is the failure to more closely tie together the serial killer plot with the Laura/Lana plot. The murders should have been a bigger deal early on, but it feels more like an afterthought. Also Jonathan’s switch from cool professional to reckless womanizer doesn’t feel natural. Yes, Shannon Whirry is sexy as Hell, as I’ve emphasized in my previous reviews of her films, but there’s no compelling reason shown as to why she is suddenly able to tempt him when none of his other patients had been able to do so before. All of the suddenly he’s throwing his professional and personal lives away for some sexual gratification? It doesn’t make sense.

However, the film is saved by the stars, Cassavetes and Whirry have great chemistry together, and they sizzle onscreen in their several sex scenes. Cassavetes also has sex scenes with Sandahl Bergman and Anna Karin, who play the two patients he seduces, and another one with softcore film legend Monique Parent. Every sex scene in this film is hot, which makes this film worth watching. The film also features a brief (non-nude) appearance by Michelle Stafford, who plays the Madam of a local brothel, and adult film actress Wendy Divine (as Maya Divine), who gets topless.

Chacebook rating: THREE AND A HALF STARS

You can find a copy of the UNRATED dvd on IOFFER

2 replies »

  1. A disagreement on one aspect of this review: the scene with Monique Parent. Viewers were basically robbed of a b/g/g scene between two of the best softcore actresses. It cuts just as it’s about to get really into it. Otherwise, I agree with everything you said. Especially how quickly he changes from professional to reckless like that.

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