The Seduction Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Written and directed by David Schmoeller
1982, 104 minutes, Rated R
Released on May 21st, 2019
Morgan Fairchild as Jamie Douglas
Andrew Stevens as Derek
Michael Sarrazin as Brandon
Vince Edwards as Capt. Maxwell
Colleen Camp as Robin
Kevin Brophy as Bobby
Jamie Douglas is a successful anchorwoman on a top-rated news program in Los Angeles. She has a dedicated boyfriend named Brandon, supportive co-workers, great friends, a luxurious house in the hills and a secret admirer named Derek. Derek sends her flowers and candy and calls her at both work and at home. She tells him she’s not interested, but he refuses to take a hint. He becomes obsessed with Jamie and begins aggressively stalking her. He takes photographs of her most intimate moments alone or with her boyfriend and follows her throughout the day. The phone calls become threatening and Jamie turns to the police for help. Unfortunately, Derek hasn’t committed any crimes, so they can’t intervene. Capt. Matthews suggests she buy a gun and Brandon agrees. Jamie is far from helpless and ready to fight back when she comes face to face with her stalker.
The Seduction is a chilling tale of suspense, but the title is a misnomer, as there is nothing seductive about what’s going on here. This is a tale of voyeurism, uncontrolled obsession, stalking and murder. Derek is a violent sociopath determined to have Jamie as his own. When she rebuffs his advances he shifts gears with the idea that if he can’t have her, no one can. He begins threatening her friends and becomes more intense as he lashes out against those in her inner circle. He invades her personal space and violates her home, spying on her as she gets dressed or takes a bath. Jamie may be a woman in peril, but she is not a traditional victim. Once she gets past her initial fear, the tables will turn and Derek may be in for a surprise of his own.
Written and directed by David Schmoeller (Crawlspace), this movie is all about building tension and seeing how close Jamie’s stalker can get to her without her knowing he is there. He toys with her at both home and at work – at one point adding a message to the teleprompter for her to read on the air. Morgan Fairchild (Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge) makes her big-screen debut as Jamie Douglas, the object of so much unwanted attention. She is attractive and resourceful and brings an inner strength to the role that allows her to keep her head during a crisis. Fairchild delivers on all fronts as the character evolves from terrified victim to someone strong enough to fight back. Andrew Stevens (10 to Midnight) is in full sleaze mode as Derek, the obsessed fan. He oozes menace with a calculated calm that only slips into violent outburst when provoked. They share great onscreen chemistry and Stevens is really good at making you feel uncomfortable.
The Seduction came out in 1982 during the height of the slasher movie craze and capitalized on a new wave of stalker material that would later permeate the decade. There were not a lot of films out there like it and while it wasn’t the first to tackle the subject, it was ahead of the curve and did a lot to advance the subgenre. Woman-in-peril movies have always been popular, but there is something satisfying about watching the victim growing empowered and getting justice in the end. This film cheats at the last minute, leaving a slightly sour aftertaste, but Fairchild receives a solid character arc allowing her to shine in the role. There’s not much blood and the body count is low, but Schmoeller keeps the tension high as he gradually builds to an explosive and engaging finale. Performances are strong and Fairchild is gorgeous, so it comes easy to recommend this title to new audiences who may have missed its original release.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, it isn’t clear from the information given if this is a new transfer or not, but the picture looks terrific. A lot of content takes place in the shadows and black levels are up for the challenge. Colors pop and flesh tones appear natural throughout.
The original mono mix is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track that gets the job done sufficiently. Dialogue levels are clean and clear and music cues are well-balanced and never intrusive.
Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.
An archival audio commentary featuring writer/director David Schmoeller and producers Bruce Cohn Curtis (Hell Night) and Irwin Yablans (Halloween) delivers many production stories that are both informative and entertaining. The producers do most of the talking, but Schmoeller chimes in with interesting information from time to time.
Actress Morgan Fairchild reflects on the picture in Beauty and Strength (22 minutes), sharing her memories of the production and working with the cast and crew. She talks about her early days as a stunt performer and her work on television before making the switch to pictures. Fairchild has enjoyed a lengthy career and knows how to tell a story making this a conversation well worth checking out.
In The Seducer (11 minutes), Andrew Stevens discusses how he reluctantly accepted the part and came to enjoy a longtime friendship with Fairchild. He talks about his initial reaction to the material and his hesitancy to play someone like Derek.
Producer Bruce Cohn Curtis remembers the production in Flashbacks (22 minutes) and shares stories of casting the picture and various anecdotes from the shoot. He goes on to talk about crew members who got their start on this movie and have gone on to bigger careers.
Remembering The Seduction (11 minutes) is a panel discussion with director David Schmoeller, producers Irwin Yablans, Bruce Cohn Curtis and Tom Curtis and actors Colleen Camp and Kevin Brophy. Everyone is having a good time reminiscing about this movie.
In Remembering the Locations and Production (11 minutes) Bruce Cohn Curtis and location manager Charles Newirth share production stories and have fond memories of the shoot.
Curtis returns in the featurette Remembering The Seduction and the Law (8 minutes), this time joined by David Schmoeller and LAPD Threat Management Det. Martha Defoe. She talks about different types of stalkers and how the film pulled from real cases for the character of Derek. She also reveals how the laws have changed over the years and how California police frequently work with movie studios to protect celebrities.
A still gallery plays as a silent slideshow (2 minutes) featuring images of VHS cover art, international posters and assorted publicity stills.
The original theatrical trailer is paired with a TV spot.
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