rivate Obsession" stars Shannon Whirry. If
you don't know the name, then you weren't around during the Golden '90s,
back when you couldn't walk into your local mom and pop video store (they
still existed back then) and stumble into a sea of direct-to-video
"erotic thrillers" starring either Shannon Whirry, Shannon Tweed,
or in the later '90s, the ubiquitous Tane McClure. Basically B-grade
material, these films were as cookie cutter as they come, and the most
inventive thing about them was how much simulated sex they could cram into a
film without losing the "R" rating. Of course with the advent of
cable and mom and pop video stores, losing an "R" wasn't
necessarily such a big deal, as the filmmakers could release their movies in
the much more desirable "Unrated" version. Nowadays everything has
to conform to the standard "R", or risk losing shelf position in
Hell's Inferno -- aka Blockbuster Videos.
"Private Obsession" has
everything a young man growing up in the '90s could possibly want. Sex,
generous amounts of nudity, and a leading lady who was more talented in
taking her clothes off than she was doing those dialogue things the director
keeps telling her to do in-between scenes of faux sex and gratuitous nudity.
In "Obsession", Whirry plays feminist-minded supermodel Emanuelle,
an unlikable tart well aware of her appeal to men and her position as
"the world's highest paid supermodel". Emanuelle's glamorous
lifestyle hits a speed bump when she's abducted by Richard Tate (Michael
Christian), a clearly insane loner who is determined to "break"
Emanuelle. After attempts to escape from Richard's clutches fail, Emanuelle
absconds, and the two have great sex. Or some such.
While it certainly has the "erotic" part
down, it's unclear where the "thriller" part comes in, as the
film is more comical than thrilling. Take a scene where Emanuelle, locked
in a room with only a small doggy door that Richard uses to feed her,
attempts to escape by crawling through the doggy door. She ends up stuck
halfway, so it's up to an amused Richard to lubricate her just enough to
slide her through. It's that kind of insightful psychological battles
between the two leads that makes "Private Obsession" the piece
of genius filmmaking it is.
I'm being facetious, of course, since the only real
value of "Private Obsession" is watching Whirry in all her nude
glory. Without being too callous, it's clear that Whirry's biggest assets
have always been her face and her generous cleavage. The movie is written
and directed by Lee Frost, who also co-stars as a private detective hired
to locate Emanuelle. Frost's dick is soon joined by Bo Svenson's dick, and
the two dicks spend their time interviewing a clueless Japanese witness
and generally padding the running time until the movie's inevitable,
I suppose in some ways "Private Obsession"
is a little bit more ambitious than its '90s erotic thriller brethrens.
For one, there seems to be more behind the idea of Christian's character
kidnapping Whirry in order to break her and turn her into his version of
the ideal woman. The general '90s erotic thrillers were basically carbon
copies of each other, involving double-dealings, back stabbings, secret
murders, and boring police investigations. All the while, people are
having constant sex in-between all the filler material. Which isn't to say
Frost's "Obsession" is a brainteaser, because it's not. Taken in
comparison to its genre, it's just a little bit more aware of itself.
Of course the real draw of "Obsession" is
Shannon Whirry, who first broke into the genre with 1992's "Animal
Instincts", a softcore picture about voyeurism that eventually
spawn two sequels, one of which also starred Whirry. Whirry's entire
career up to this point (and beyond) had been showing what a fit and
well-endowed young woman she is. No surprise, then, that about 70% of
Whirry's scenes in "Obsession" has her in various stages of
undress or almost-nakedness. Say what you will about Lee Frost, but he
definitely knows his audience, and what the audience wants is Whirry
naked. A lot.
The other interesting thing about "Private
Obsession" is just how unappealing Michael Christian's character is.
Not just the fact that he's a twisted psychopath trying to forcefully mold
Emanuelle into his personal love toy, but also because Christian, the
actor, is borderline ugly. Christian had to be somewhere in his '40s at
the time, and looks every bit like it. Kudos to Frost for not opting for
the empty-headed gym rats that the genre is usually filled with, along
with their equally empty-headed blonde counterparts. As such, watching the
aging, unfit Christian have sex with the young and very fit Whirry should
give hope to all the would-be psychos out there.
What it all comes down to is Shannon Whirry's appeal.
If you like her type of long legged, zero fat, busty blonde, then
"Private Obsession" is your Holy Grail. She's naked almost the
entire time once she's abducted, and even when she's not naked, she's in
revealing outfits. What can you say, except that Whirry is perfect for the
part. Oh sure, the whole supermodel-cum-feminist angle is a bit hard to
swallow. After all, how many supermodels do you know who even knows what
the word "suffrage" means? Whirry is no Meryl Streep, but she
doesn't completely embarrasses herself with the whole acting thing, which
is saying a lot for one of the few main headliners of the Golden '90s.