Friday, August 12, 2011


This has nothing to do with any of the "serious" work I should be doing (or, rather, feel like I should be doing--that serious work being the syllabus for my class that starts in just over a week [!!], the stuff on chillwave/hauntology I've been goofing off with all summer, and my thoughts on The Pale King [which I'll have to get into shape pretty fucking sharpish, as I've asked a friend to help set up a panel on it for a conference]), but for a Friday night, what the hell, I'll let my hair down.

I was browsing the website Crackle earlier this evening, trying to find a movie I felt like watching. Crackle's selection is limited (though they have some gems, like So I Married An Axe Murderer). What I came across at the end of their selection blew my mind, however. I saw the title Wild Things* and immediately laughed. Wild Things came out when I was not quite old enough to be able to sneak into a theatre to see it, and as it was never on TV (not that I ever saw, anyway), it had something of a continued mystique (that's not quite the word I want, but I can't think of any one word to sum it up: essentially, I knew there was something vaguely licentious about the film and, coinciding as it did with my pubescence, it held something of a fascination for me as a cultural object that I both knew and not just understood but felt was predicated solely on sex; at the same time, though, I also knew it was, inevitably, not going to be that sexy, but without having that illusion shattered, the possibilty that it might just be as sexy as my fevered little imagination conspired to make it was kind of tantalizing) for some time after it had generally faded from memory (until college, really, when I realized the kind of males [and it was only males, in my experience] who owned the movie and claimed to like it). I've still never seen Wild Things, and I have no real desire to ever see it, but I might have watched a few minutes before turning it off in embarrassment were it available for streaming. Fortunately (unfortunately?), Crackle had a bigger surprise in store for me: the movie my mouse hovered over was not Wild Things, but Wild Things 2. Yes, they made a sequel. I almost fell off my chair. Crackle was not quite done, though. Looking at the very next movie in its list, I discovered that Wild Things 2 has a sequel: Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough (full disclosure: I looked up Wild Things on Wikipedia [I couldn't actually remember in which year it came out] and discovered there is a fourth Wild Things movie, Wild Things: Foursome [I guess at this point they figured why even have the pretense of being anything other than softcore porn]).

The fact that Wild Things has a sequel (let alone three of them!) is, for me, the most shocking movie-related moment I've experienced since watching Ralph Bakshi's American Pop (another movie I have a long, strange history with) and realizing it was trying to tell me that the history of American popular music reached its apex with Bob Seger's "Night Moves." For your pleasure, allow me to reproduce (with minimal commentary) the capsule summaries Crackle provides for Wild Things 2 and Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough (sadly, the first movie in the series is not available--this seems to be a theme on the site with erotic thrillers: Basic Instinct 2 is present, but not Basic Instinct):

Wild Things 2, starring Susan Ward, Isaiah Washington, and Joe Michael Burke; directed by Jack Perez [Ed. note: and I'm sure that went on the form Christmas letter that year]
"Teenage girls Maya and Brittney [Ed. note: the two 't's add that extra bit of trashiness you want in the main character of your movie] go on a sex and killing spree to win millions."

Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough, starring Sarah Laine, Sandra McCoy, Linden Ashby, Ron Melendez, Claire Coffee, Michael Mantell, and Dina Myer; directed by Jay Lowi [Ed. note: I'm sure this is the first (only?) line on his resume]**
"Bad girls just want to have fun. Continued steamy antics and erotic Florida locals." [Ed. note: "erotic Florida locals" is a phrase that inspires untold amounts of dread and terror in me]

So there you have it: Wild Things, a movie I've not thought about in years (had anyone?) has two (hang on, three!) sequels. This little interlude added a welcome touch of surreality to what had been a mostly unremarkable day. I hope it can offer you the same.

*For those of you unfamiliar with this cinematic milestone, it is an "erotic thriller" that came out in 1998 and stars Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell (as I recall it, the primary draw in my eyes), Denise Richards, and Kevin Bacon (Wikipedia also mentions Bill Murray [!! or, rather, ?! I don't know if I want to see Bill Murray in anything "erotic]). From that same Wikipedia article: "The movie gained notoriety for featuring several sex scenes - in particular, one involving a man and two women simultaneously - that were more explicit than is typically seen in mainstream, big-budget Hollywood movies."

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