Fatal Instinct Preview

Dr. Summersly shakes out her long luxurious hair. “Wha-wha-whaaaaa…” Gruber exclaims. The killer is a… woman?! “And not just that,” explains Rich helpfully, “she’s also the inventor of the Obsidian Dongle.” Now Gruber is floored. A murderer and an inventor? What can’t this woman do? Dr. Summersly shakes her head ruefully. The Dongle was her greatest invention and yet also her most terrible. She’s roamed the earth searching for it. Here she had hoped to finally take it from the dead hands of whoever had bought it from Cock Robin. “But instead I just found you, Poe.” Rich steps towards her, extending his hand to let her know that he’s there for her. She recoils, “No, Poe, you know I love him… loved… him. Your friend, your brother. But now he’s dead and I’m…” she bites her lips, stopping herself from uttering that final, painful word. This is all so confusing. The chief, now Dr. Summersly, they both think he’s Poe and that Rich is dead. And yet if only they knew that likely the opposite was true. He’s living a lie in order to get what he wants. But what is it he wants? Is it the Dongle? Does he truly want to save the world? Or perhaps what he’s been searching for has been love the whole time. Something tugs at the back of his mind. Something is wrong. His instincts tell him to run. To find Poe and stop… something? Someone? Dr. Summersly collapses into his arms and pounds her fists into his rock hard abs, his shirt soaked with the sweat of a humid night in the city. “Cheer up, kid,” he says lifting her chin, his instincts screaming that he is making a fatal mistake. And with that they kiss. That’s right! We’re watching the long forgotten spoof film Fatal Instinct. Obviously a play on Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct. Given that this appears to be a spoof of erotic thrillers this should be right up out alley… but probably isn’t. It also is our Chain film as Rosie O’Donnell plays a bird salesperson in the film. Let’s go!

Every corner he turns the woman seems a step ahead. With his runner’s physique and endurance for days, this should be impossible. And yet she seems to always be ahead of Poe. Suddenly he rounds a corner and there are two of them. Identical twins! Egad. Two’s company, three’s a crowd and this is a little too rich for Poe’s blood. But as he backs away he bumps up against his twin protectors who eye the women warily. “Dragons,” they say and Poe looks at the women in astonishment. That’s right! We were actually going to watch this as a main film until we realized that a) it was never widely released to theaters in the United States and b) only has Banderes pretending to be twins. We relegated it to a Friend for the Chain. Let’s go!

Fatal Instinct (1993) – BMeTric: 25.8; Notability: 43 

(Completely inexplicable that people are still watching this film and, weirdly, thinking it is underrated somehow? Whatever it is it is moving towards the mean IMDb rating, which is just bizarre. The Notability is huge … I wonder if parody films tend to have high Notabilities because of the ensemble cast.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – It was inevitable that the genre of erotic thrillers would be given the “Airplane!” treatment. Movies like “Basic Instinct,” “Body Heat,” “Sleeping with the Enemy” and “Jagged Edge” offer themselves to parody like a steak to the barbecue. Sometimes, indeed, it’s hard to tell the put-ons from the movies with straight faces; I didn’t much like the recent thriller “Malice,” for example, but some of my correspondents assure me it was all meant as a joke. … Some of these movies work (“Airplane!,” “Top Secret!) and some don’t. And you can’t say why, except that sometimes you laugh, and sometimes you don’t, and the reasons for that are not arguable.

(Maybe some of the truest words about parody films I’ve read. That’s it isn’t it. Sometimes those films work, and it must have something to do with the director/writers and the actors they work with because otherwise people like Mel Brooks wouldn’t have been able to do the genre so well for so long. But most don’t. Apparently this one didn’t.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLYus-Z2I9s/

(Without the music the trailer would be … well it wouldn’t be funny. That is not at all how I would describe it. But at least it would be tolerable. It is a very who’s who of early 90s barely-stars which is also rather interesting. Unlike something like Men in Tights where you at least have Elwes with the Princess Bride connection.)

Directors – Carl Reiner – (Known For: Summer School; The Jerk; All of Me; The Man with Two Brains; Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid; Oh, God!; Where’s Poppa?; That Old Feeling; The Comic; Enter Laughing; Bert Rigby, You’re a Fool; Future BMT: Sibling Rivalry; Summer Rental; BMT: Fatal Instinct; Notes: Just died in June. Long time collaborator with Mel Brooks, he won 11 Emmys in his career for Caesar’s Hour and The Dick Van Dyke Show mostly. A huge comedy director in the 80s.)

Writers – David O’Malley (written by) – (Known For: Hangar 18; Future BMT: The Boogens; BMT: Fatal Instinct; Notes: Seems like an odd choice considering he mostly made thriller (the non-erotic kind), and some horror films prior to writing this film. Wrote a Corey Feldman and Don Swayze film called Edge of Honor which seems intriguing.

Actors – Armand Assante – (Known For: American Gangster; The Road to El Dorado; Dead Man Down; Little Darlings; The Lords of Flatbush; Private Benjamin; Hoffa; Paradise Alley; Q & A; The Mambo Kings; I, the Jury; California Dreamin’; Looking for an Echo; Belizaire the Cajun; Future BMT: Prophecy; Two for the Money; Trial by Jury; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Unfaithfully Yours; Goat; Breaking Point; Citizen Verdict; Animal Behavior; BMT: Striptease; Judge Dredd; Fatal Instinct; The Marrying Man; Notes: Bizarre career in that he has been mostly a TV / video actor for over 40 years now, but was briefly a leading man in the early 90s. Won an Emmy for the miniseries Gotti which I will be watching once we get around to John Travolta’s Gotti.)

Sherilyn Fenn – (Known For: Just One of the Guys; Wild at Heart; Of Mice and Men; Raze; Three of Hearts; Ruby; Just Write; The Scenesters; Future BMT: Wish Upon; Boxing Helena; Two Moon Junction; The Wraith; The United States of Leland; Outside Ozona; BMT: Fatal Instinct; Notes: If you recognize her it is almost definitely because of her role in Twin Peaks. She also appeared in the Psych episode Dual Spires which was a send up of the series and is amazing.)

Kate Nelligan – (Known For: The Cider House Rules; Wolf; The Prince of Tides; Dracula; Frankie and Johnny; Eye of the Needle; How to Make an American Quilt; Shadows and Fog; Without a Trace; Eleni; Margaret’s Museum; Future BMT: Premonition; Up Close & Personal; U.S. Marshals; BMT: Fatal Instinct; Notes: Was nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in Prince of Tides. Was apparently almost the Canadian Junior tennis champion.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $7,839,327 (Worldwide: $7,839,327)

(Unfortunately, despite lacking data, I have to imagine due to the set pieces and ensemble cast that parody films often demand, I wouldn’t be surprised if the budget was quite high. I suppose the counter is you can usually get away with television / cheaper actors … so who knows.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (4/22)

(Consensus time: Rarely funny, Fatal Instinct instead just reproduces famous scene from other movies while burying its wit under layers of set pieces. Reviewer Highlight: It’s a real pity, because Reiner has certainly been funnier and more inventive on other outings and Sherilyn Fenn makes a winsome gal Friday. – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader)

Poster – Motorcycle Sex

(This is fine. Clever in a cheesy, cheap kind of way. Doesn’t scream “Wide Release Film” to me, though, which is in line with me being shocked that it was a wide release film. I do like the fallen over A. Adds a little pizzazz. C+.)

Tagline(s) – Sex, murder and revenge were never this funny. ()

(I like this one quite a bit. It makes a lot of sense for what they are trying to portray. Takes the three ingredients of the erotic thriller and spins it around. A little long, but all in the name of getting where they want to go. Solid. B+.)

Keyword – twin sister

Top 10: The Green Mile (1999), A Simple Favour (2018), Constantine (2005), Sin City (2005), Snatch (2000), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014), Grease 2 (1982), What a Girl Wants (2003), The Snowman (2017)

Future BMT: 87.3 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003), 75.4 Grease 2 (1982), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.9 The Watch (2012), 42.7 The Sitter (2011), 40.3 Suburbicon (2017), 38.8 What a Girl Wants (2003), 13.5 Nothing to Lose (1997);

BMT: The Snowman (2017), 88 Minutes (2007), New York Minute (2004), Fatal Instinct (1993)

(Oh yeah, in this case it is hard to give the film the patented “twins” keyword because really you don’t get the antagonist is the twin sister of … the other antagonist (?) until relatively late into the film. Looking at these other films though … uh, did Grease 2 have a twin in it? One second we might have to redo the Romance category of this cycle … ah, its a bit part. Still would count once we launch our podcast Twinsmersion.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Armand Assante is No. 1 billed in Fatal Instinct and No. 3 billed in Judge Dredd, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Sherilyn Fenn was originally considered for the role of the femme fatale Lola, eventually played by Sean Young. Fenn opted for the role of Armand Assante’s lovesick secretary Laura and suggested director Carl Reiner cast Young as Lola. (Yep, good choice. It is incredible to me that Sherilyn Fenn didn’t have a bigger television career at least, she’s great.)

A scene was filmed with Dudley Moore appearing in drag as Max Shady’s mother, testifying at Lana’s trial. Although the scene was cut from the movie, it is included on the DVD release.

When Max Shady adjusts the setting on his silencer while planning to kill Ned Ravine on the train you will notice a volume setting that goes up to 11. This is a nod to Carl Reiner’s son Rob’s mock rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984) which stars Christopher Guest. Guest’s character (Nigel Tufnel) proudly displays his amp that also goes to 11.

This went straight to video in the UK after a disastrous marketing campaign led to a shortened run at the US box office. (ha)

Laura makes a reference to Ravine as a “Mambo King type” a reference to his starring role in the film, The Mambo Kings (1992).

DIRECTOR CAMEO: The man standing next to Ned in the bathroom. (Yeah it is actually really in your face and obvious)

In 2018, when rerun on MoviePlex, the songs In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and Brown Eyed Girl are not played during the bathtub scene and end credits. Instead you hear music from the movie sound track. (Ah makes sense, they probably lost the license. It was a wild time the early 90s for tv and movie music apparently.)