SOFTCORE FILMS

Shadow Dancer (1995)

Alright, here we go with another softcore film review. I put the year it was made in the title, because there was another softcore film, that one starring Gabriella Hall, with this same name released in 1997. I have not seen that one, and only just recently learned of its existence. And there was a mainstream British film starring Clive Owen released under this name in 2012. This film was released in 1995, was written and directed by Michael Paul Girard, and stars John McCafferty, Kim Dawson (aka Kim Sill), April Breneman, Jack van Landingham, and Cara van Landingham.

I have not watched this film in a long time. I was just going through my tapes and came across it, I didn’t even recognize it by the time at first, so I put it on out of curiosity. Even for erotic thrillers of the time period, this film is a lot darker than usual.

The two Van Landinghams (who I assume were married at the time, but while he’s currently a hypnotherapist, I can’t find any current info on her, so I don’t know if they’re still together) play Nick and April, a couple of strippers who live together. Early on in the film we see both of them performing, he for a party of women and her for a party of men. Nick wears a fake mustache and a wig while he performs, because he’s trying to be an actor, and doesn’t want to be recognized if he becomes famous, and has a bit of a jealous streak. Even though we see that after his performance he sleeps with one of the women at the party, he aggressively questions April about whether or not any of the men at her party tried anything with her, although she was strictly professional.

McCafferty is Rob, an airline pilot, and Breneman is his fiance Yvonne, a flight attendant. Dawson is Rob’s ex-girlfriend Christy, also a flight attendant, whom Rob dumped when she cheated on him. But Christy desperately wants Rob back, but when he rejects her again she sets her sights on breaking him and Yvonne up. After hearing from Rob that he and Yvonne are waiting until they got married to have sex (a bit of a weird detail to tell your ex-girlfriend about, in my opinion), she calls Yvonne and attempts to befriend her, falsely claiming to be over Rob and happy for their engagement, and lies that Rob is impotent after being injured in the Persian Gulf War.

Christy then hires Nick to be the stripper at Yvonne’s bachelorette party (which she is somehow invited to) and pays Nick to rape Yvonne after Christy slips something in her drink that knocks her out, and get it on videotape so that it will look like Yvonne cheated on Rob. Nick goes through with it but is clearly disturbed after he enters her and realizes that she was a virgin. He then goes home and has very angry sex with April (who had performed at Rob’s bachelor party that night). The next day Nick, who feels guilty about what he did to Yvonne, goes to see Christy, who demands the tape, but he tells her that he threw away the tape and gives her her money back. Christy then calls the stripping agency that Nick works for and gets him fired by claiming that he tried to assault her.

Rob and Yvonne get married and have a romantic honeymoon in Hawaii. But now Nick has become obsessed with Yvonne. He still has the tape of them and secretly watches it at home when April’s not around. He stalks Rob and Yvonne’s house and sees the man who cleans their pool. Rob cuts the breaks on the tires of the man’s van, who then dies when the van crashes. Nick then shows up at their house claiming to be a pool man (Yvonne doesn’t recognize him without the wig and mustache), and Rob hires him to clean their pool. Nick later overhears a phone call from Yvonne’s doctor announcing that Yvonne is pregnant. Convinced that the baby must be his, Nick’s obsession goes into overdrive, and now he plans to kill Rob and take Yvonne for himself, whether she wants him or not.

I won’t spoil any further, but things get really violent and tense as this film reaches its climax. As I said, it’s definitely much darker than expected from most films of such nature.

The cast is wonderful in their roles, with some good acting. You could take out the nudity and sex scenes, and this could easily pass as a mainstream film, if not a theatrical release than at least as one of those Women In Danger films on Lifetime. That’s the highest compliment I can think of to give writer/director Girard’s script.

As for the sex scenes, we get seven, most of them involving Jack van Landingham. He has two sex scenes with Cara van Landingham, two with Kim Dawson, and one with J.J. Mantia, who played a guest at the bachelorette party in the beginning of the film.

For the record, the scene between van Landingham and April Breneman is, thankfully, pretty subdued, which is why I’m not counting as a sex scene in this film. She’s in a dress, which stays on, we just see van Landingham reach under her dress and pull her panties off as she lies back on the bed unconscious, and then he gets on top of her, and the camera just switches back and forth between his face and hers as he “pumps” for a couple of minutes and then gets off her. It’s kinda weird, and not sexy at all.

There is a full sex scene between Breneman and McCafferty in a bathtub. And there’s a couple of scenes of Car van Laningham stripping, getting fully nude, which are fun to watch.

Chacebook rating: FOUR STARS

Jason Majercik is selling this Unrated DVD for $24.99. Email him at quinn_nash@hotmail.com for his softcore inventory list.

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