Top 10 Erotic Thrillers

2010-08-24 16:58
Shaheema Barodien, Sam Brighton and Anton Marshall
With the release of Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson's erotically charged thriller Chloe about to be released this Friday, we revisit the dangerous lust and forbidden temptations of the best films designed to turn us on while keeping us on the edge of our seats.

1. Basic Instinct (1992)
The mother of all commercial erotica. The movie was released with a no persons under 21 rating back in the ultra-conservative old South Africa, but thankfully all that nonsense has been done away with. Because, if 18-year-olds can now legally get drunk, surely they can also partake in Sharon Stone's star-making performance as a psychiatrist who may or may not be killing off her sexual coquests with an ice pick, and spectacularly flashing her non-existent knickers at a roomful of cops? The stuff movie dreams are made of.

2. Body Heat (1981)
As if Kathleen Turner's husky, come-hither voice were not enough, we get to watch her play dangerous cat-and-mouse games with William Hurt in the sweltering summer heat of Florida. She's married to the wealthy Edmund Walker. Racine's just a sleazy, horny lawyer willing to do anything to get into Mrs Walker's high-priced pants. Even murder her husband for her.

3. Fatal Attraction (1987)
Boiled bunnies, maniacal jilted lovers. Nope, this is not a comedy (as such) but the high drama and edge of your seat suspense of Fatal Attraction is all in Glenn Close's batshit crazy performance as a woman who takes her weekend affair with a successful, happily married attorney (played by Michael Douglas) a little too seriously. Spoiler alert: It doesn't end well. That poor, defenceless bunny…

4. Femme Fatale (2002)
Brian de Palma cut his teeth in the genre with Body Double, but amped up the ogle factor with Rebecca Romijn in the role of a jewel thief who assumes the identity of another woman thought to be dead. When a photographer (Antonio Banderas) snaps her picture, he starts a chain of events that tighten the net around our anti-heroine. Good thing she has all the necessary tools to manipulate, indoctrinate and ultimately leave men lying in her wake. Mystique, indeed.

5. Wild Things (1998)
Also known as Denise Richards' audition tape for getting to be Charlie Sheen's wife. It has the upper hand on Bound in terms of the criminal-lesbians-on-the-run sub-genre in that it features a HIGH SCHOOL lesbian couple (they were legal, weren't they?). While Richards, as the wealthy and mischievous Kelly Van Ryan, gets all the topless action, Neve Campbell, as her more sullen, trailer-trash nemesis Suzie Toller, keeps it all buttoned up. Still, Matt Dillon was the most envied man in all the world back in 1998 when he got to pour champagne all over them in a memorable threesome scene.

6. Lust, Caution (2007)
Not all erotica is created equal, and in Ang Lee's beautifully shot wartime we surely have one of the more accomplished works of cinematic temptation to have been released. Tang Wei is a revelation as Wong Chia Chi, a Chinese student who is recruited in the resistance movement against the Japanese occupation. She is chosen to seduce and then assassinate the head of the Japanese secret police, Mr Yee. Their affair is a torrid, brutal and emotionally devastating experience for the inexperienced Chia Chi. And just when the movie lulls us into fairytale ideas of an emotional bond between these damaged souls… You'll have to watch it to find out…

7. Bound (1996)
Before the Wachowski brothers broke new cinematic ground with The Matrix, they figured out that a hot lesbian couple was a surefire way to get people interested in your movie. Genius. Bound puts a sultry Jennifer Tilly and her rather butch partner-in-crime Gina Gershon in a few compromising positions. They want to steal money from the mob (never a good idea) and start a new life together. The Wachowski were so keen to get the lesbian sex scenes right, they hired renowned feminist writer and sex educator Susie Bright to choreograph them. Now that's hot.

8. Unfaithful (2002)
Diane Lane has never been sexier as Constance, a happily married wife and mother who becomes embroiled in a salacious affair with a Frenchman she bumps into on the street, literally! While the story is one that's been told a thousand times before, Adrian Lyne (who also directed Fatal Attraction) knows his way around a story about forbidden passions and keeps the audience hooked until the very last minute. It may have also sparked a craze for Olivier Martinez, who gets to recite poetry in that accent and bed the beautiful Diane.

9. Fear (1996)
Fear can be very attractive. In this teen thriller, fear intertwined with innocence and discovery makes for a dangerous dynamic. Teenage schoolgirl Nicole (Reese Witherspoon) can't tear herself away from the elusive David McCall (Mark Wahlberg), despite his violent outbursts and erratic, obsessive behaviour. He opens her eyes, her world, and ultimately her legs. The rollercoaster scene set to "Wild Horses" performed by The Sundays is sexy and dangerous because Nicole is so easily pleased. David's got her hook, line and finger.

10. 9 1/2 Weeks (1986)
While the thought of present-day Mickey Rourke turning anyone on, least of all a transcendentally beautiful Kim Basinger, will require a substantial amount of suspension of disbelief, keep in mind that Rourke was hot stuff in the 80s. Never more so than in this darkly masochistic cult favourite. Rourke plays John Grey, a Wall Street trader with a taste for the risky side of sexual play and finds a willing mate in Elizabeth McGraw who subjects herself to Grey's kinky games. If you're ever feeling lonely, with nothing but an ice cube for company, 9 1/2 Weeks will point you in the right direction.

* Did we get the Top 10 hopelessly wrong, or perhaps not? Let us know in the comments below!


  • Vusi N - 2010-08-25 09:02

    You forgot to add "Delta of Venus". Certainly in the top 3.

  • christie - 2010-08-25 10:01

    Unbearable Lightness of Being... Daniel Day Lewis, Lena Olin ...

  • THE BEAST - 2010-08-25 11:54

    You forgot body of evidence.

  • JK - 2010-08-25 12:10

    I was gonna say Body of evidence too, but its actually a crap film. What about The Last Seduction? Basic Instinct is defs the best!

  • MBA - 2010-08-25 13:14

    How about "The Lover" the film details the illicit affair between a teenage French girl and a wealthy Chinese man in 1929 Vietnam. Cast, Jane March as The Young Girl Tony Leung Ka-fai as The Chinese Man

  • PL - 2010-08-25 13:23

    You forgot that great late 80's one, Bedroom Eye!

  • Heins - 2010-08-25 14:20

    You forgot to add Schalks Shabalala-Survival Guide to SA 2010.

  • Overlaud4.0 - 2010-08-25 15:01

    er... just remember it specifies "erotic THRILLERS", which Lightnes of Being and Delta of Venus and The Lover... don't... really... qualify... for.... Schucks Tshabalala? Well, ok.

  • preshen govender - 2010-08-25 16:12

    you also forgot Crash

  • James - 2010-08-25 17:22

    You forgot The Pillow Book with Ewan Mcgregor. But maybe that veers more towards pornography than eroticism :)

  • Marius - 2010-08-26 07:11

    Color of night, Jade, Two moon junction and maybe Sliver. I cant think of any other really good ones right now.

  • fan of preshen - 2010-08-26 07:30

    what about the Emmanuel series

  • sharon - 2010-09-02 12:00

    how about our own charlize Therons 'Monster' movie?

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