Silhouette (1990) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's notes

Y'know, there are really only two things wrong with this erotic thriller.

  • It's not erotic.

  • It's not thrilling

Apart from that ...

Well, frankly, apart from that it still sucks.

The thriller part involves some double secret group of illuminati who get together in a well-appointed board room and plan to start a new cold war. I think their basic strategy is to assassinate the President of the United States and blame it on the Russians, so that they can ... um ... do some evil stuff that can't be done unless that happens. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but it must be really evil because they can't see one another's faces in their nifty board room, although there doesn't seem to be any point to that, since they seem to know one another.

Beastmaster is a member of the evil brotherhood, and Leon the Replicant is kind of their sadistic enforcer or something.

The "plot" involves a brooch which keeps getting stolen and lost throughout the film. It seems to be more than a brooch, but rather some kind of smart chip that includes ... well ... plenty of top-drawer evil information, you can be sure of that. Yessireebob.

In their pursuit of the brooch, the illuminati whack a 'tute, and this ultimately causes the hooker's defense attorney, a naive and idealistic public servant (Tracy Scoggins) to end up with the all-powerful knick-knack of doom. Tracy plays a feckless and shy person who can't even get her landlord to fix a kitchen light switch which triggers the fire alarm throughout her entire apartment building. He fixes it the same way Henny Youngman's doctor fixed the comedian's painful arm  - "Don't use that switch." (Are you paying attention? This is going to be important.)

Anyway, there is only one way she can figure out what is going on with the brooch: by going on all the hooker's dates ...

Of course, there doesn't seem to be any good reason WHY she would want to find out what is going on. She could just give the brooch to the cops, but -  what the hell - I guess life as a public defender is pretty damned boring, so she likes the idea of posing as a hooker so she can get slapped around and sodomized by lowlifes and Japanese businessmen.

Eventually Leon the Evil Replicant figures out that Tracy has the brooch, gets it from her at her apartment, and is just about to kill her sadistically when - (can you guess it?) - he turns on the light so he can enjoy watching her die. Bad move, oh, evil one! (I told you it would be important.) Within five seconds this brings the police, the national guard, the fire department, several boy scout troops in search of firefighting merit badges, and an angry landlord rapping on her door - thus sparing her life.

The end?

Not even close.

It should be the end, shouldn't it? The evil guys do get their brooch, so there is no more reason for them to mess around with Tracy, because she doesn't have any idea who they are. The movie should end right there.

Except that it is an erotic thriller, and we are 70 minutes into it with no sign of any naked human flesh, although all the female characters are prostitutes and several scenes take place in a strip club.

So then Tracy picks up the slack. Come to think of it, she doesn't pick up much of the slack. She takes a fully dressed shower (right) and has some modest, demure sex with Beastmaster. Although he is a Dr. Evil kind of dude bent on world domination and she's pretending to be a hooker, the sex is about what you'd see between Rock Hudson and Doris Day, except she does manage to show her chalupas briefly.

Then the illuminati all double-cross each other, or something.

Now it's the end.

This film is also known as Ultimate Desires and Beyond the Silhouette, but a bog by any other name would smell as peat.

Allyson Is Watching DVD (1997)

This is a combined Region 1/4 DVD. It is in English, with optional Spanish subtitles.

Tuna's notes

Silhouette (1992) is a Canadian erotic thriller written and directed by the Polish-born Canadian Lloyd Simandl, before he discovered the secret of making cheap films in Czechoslovakia. Tracy Scroggins stars as a public defender and friend to working girls. When one of her favorites is thrown out of a car, gives her a broach, and then ends up murdered, and the police are not interested, she decides to investigate herself. She has no idea what she is up against, but when she masquerades as a hooker to gather information, she places her own life in danger.

As in many of Simandl's films, much of it is dark and foggy, a problem exacerbated by a grainy transfer. The plot is somewhat better than Simandl's later WIP Czechsploitation efforts, but will never be nominated for writing awards. In fact, I found it unintentionally hilarious in spots. The strong point of the film, at least according to many online reviewers, is the sexy soundtrack.

The film has been hard to find, so the good news is that this DVD is even available, and at a price tag of less than ten bucks.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Sorry. Roger Ebert could not fit this one into his schedule.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it a bottom-dwelling 2.9/10, as it rightly deserves.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "This is an E. If you watch it for the erotica, you'll find nothing except one brief look at breasts and a lot of shots of women clad in lingerie while they apply lipstick. If you watch it for the plot, you obviously are not smart enough to be reading this sentence, so what does it matter what I write here?"

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