Blindfold: Acts of Obsession

(Lawrence L. Simeone, USA, 1994)


I follow with great interest the video and telemovie career of 90210‘s young diva Shannen Doherty.

She appears to have an unerring taste for the trashiest projects. Doherty found her rightful B movie auteur in Lawrence L. Simeone, whose Eyes of the Beholder was the most off-the-wall video release of 1993.

Simeone, who died in 2002, was clearly a star pupil in the Brian De Palma school of showy pyrotechnics. He had a special trait which sets him apart from most horror-thriller hacks: he was unafraid to unleash thunder and lightning whenever the drama hits an emotional peak.

He was also a dab hand at inventing pseudo-philosophical dialogue for his eager actors to deliver. Doherty makes true poetry out of lines such as: "This is the first time we have made love as one".

Doherty has appeared in a psychological melodrama (Obsessed [1992]) and a horror movie (Almost Dead [1994]), but this is her first erotic thriller – a prolific genre that fills much space in large video/DVD stores.

Like most of the more sensational films of this sort, it collides a sexually frustrated woman keen to play kinky games (Doherty) with a mysterious serial killer and an alarmingly unprofessional psychoanalyst (Judd Nelson) who makes such observations as: “Your statement is laced with malice”.

Blindfold takes elements from the more reputable examples of this genre, such as Sea of Love (1989) and Whispers in the Dark (1992), and sullies them gleefully with soft porn and cheap, shock tricks.

Simeone throws in so many bizarre plot twists and character reversals that you start expecting that each new scene will be revealed as the fantasy or drug-induced hallucination of one character or another.

The steamy sex scenes only add to this delightful confusion, since dark haired Shannen’s body-double for the juicy close-ups is clearly a blonde.

© Adrian Martin September 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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