Monday, July 25, 2016

Episode 15: The Crush (1993)

“Ever do a virgin?  I know you want to...”

While apartment-hunting, photojournalist Nick Eliot (Cary Elwes) stumbles upon a quaint guesthouse owned by a middle-aged couple (That ‘70s Show’s Kurtwood Smith and Gwynyth Wash). Soon after settling in, their fourteen-year-old daughter, Darian (Alicia Silverstone in her first major role), insinuates herself into Nick’s life, becoming a constant and inescapable presence. With her ever-present smile and flirtatious demeanor, it’s quite clear she’s developed an intense infatuation with her new neighbor. As they always do, things start out innocently enough, with Darian appearing on his doorstep at odd hours, giving him little gifts, making “casual” phone calls (one of which to reveal she’s begun her menstrual cycle), and sunbathing, in a very revealing swimsuit, well within eyeshot of Nick’s window. Events take an ugly turn when Darian realizes her love is destined to go on unrequited, and an even uglier turn when Nick begins dating a colleague (Jennifer Rubin). What begins as an innocent adolescent crush quickly becomes a deadly obsession, as Nick discovers how dangerous this fourteen-year-old girl can be, especially when she doesn’t get what she wants.

Okay, so The Crush isn’t a B-film. It’s not even a cult classic. It is, however, one of my favorite Fatal Attraction-style thrillers and the film that spawned my decades-old adoration of the gorgeous Alicia Silverstone. I also chose The Crush because of its interesting history. It’s rarely mentioned that the movie was loosely inspired by a true story and screenwriter Alan Shapiro based the script on his own experiences. He even gave the film’s antagonist the same name as the girl who, at one point, made his life very unpleasant.

I suspect Shapiro elaborates on this during his on-camera interview, as well as on the commentary track featured on Scream Factory’s new Blu ray/DVD combo, but sadly, I cannot confirm this, as I refuse to buy this release. As a matter of fact, I refuse to watch any version other than the original Warner Bros. VHS. Why? Because all subsequent releases of the film were (poorly) dubbed to remove any/all mentions of the name “Darian,” replacing it with “Adrian.” This was due to a lawsuit orchestrated by the real-life Darian, who saw the film as defamatory. I elaborate on this, as well as other bits of trivia, during the actual commentary.

Since we live in a hyper-sensitive age, where anything can be misinterpreted, especially on the Internet, I felt compelled to include a disclaimer explaining a moment during the episode (in particular, during the scene in which Darian files false sexual assault charges against Nick), where I make some odd comments and laugh sort of inappropriately. Just in case I didn’t make myself clear during the recording of the episode, I wanted to state here that I WAS NOT laughing about or making light of rape or sexual abuse of any kind. I WAS NOT poking fun at anyone who’s fallen victim to sexual assault of any kind. Most importantly, I WAS NOT trying to insinuate that all women who make sexual assault claims are lying. The point I was trying to make (and I don’t think I did a very good job of it) was that girls like the Darian character, i.e. girls who make false claims, are one of the main reasons those who’ve actually been abused are reluctant to come forward. They fear they won’t be believed and, in many cases, fear those reporting the crime will assume they’d “asked for it.” I was laughing AT MYSELF because it was late, I was more than a little slap happy, and couldn’t clearly verbalize my thought. I was laughing at being so tongue-tied, NOT at anything involving sexual abuse. Now that my conscience is clear, please enjoy this edition of B-Movie Bonanza.

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