Acting on Impulse

(Roses are Dead, Eyes of a Stranger, Secret Lies and Secret Lives, Sam Irvin, USA, 1993)


The quality level of the average, low-budget erotic thriller on video can be quite high at times. Catchy title, convoluted plot, touches of black humour, kinky sex, cameos from faded stars, stylish camerawork, busy rock soundtrack: Acting on Impulse has most of the ingredients.

As usual, the script has been pieced together from many previous films, particularly Something Wild (1986) and Body Double (1984). Linda Fiorentino plays a cynical, free-living B movie star who flees the set of her latest shocker to avoid both nerdy fans and a sleazy producer (Patrick Bauchau) whom she leaves dazed and bleeding.

She stumbles upon two very staid people (played by C. Thomas Howell and Nancy Allen) at a sales convention, and proceeds to take them for a walk on the wild side.

Soon there are corpses, betrayals and murder suspects filling every corner of the frame. The denouement is predictable, but before then there is much sidebar merriment with guest stars including Paul Bartel and Isaac Hayes, and one of the truly great safe-sex scenes of modern cinema.

© Adrian Martin December 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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