The Horror Honeys: 'Sea of Love' ~ Deception is Dangerous. Desire is Deadly.

'Sea of Love' ~ Deception is Dangerous. Desire is Deadly.

A Revenge Honey Erotic Thriller November Review with Linnie

Sea of Love (1989)

The 80s were such a special time for the erotic thriller. Rallying against the conservatism of the Reagan and Bush White Houses, directors turned to their films to express the sexuality and violence that was being fought against so vehemently by the PMRC and the AFA. Now, as groups like One Million Moms (founded by the AFA, of course) try to suppress our gods-given right to watch hot actors pretend to get it on, it's fun to go back and look at the films from the last time this happened. 

Hence, Erotic Thriller November, and today's sexy bonus review, Harold Becker's Sea of Love.

Do you find Al Pacino sexy? Then dayum is this the movie for you!

Frank: I have done some desperate, foolish things come 3 o’clock in the morning.
Helen: You mean like being here with me?

That face! What I wouldn't do for 80s Pacino.
The Story: Frank Keller (Pacino) is a New York City detective assigned to a case in which a killer is finding men in the Personal Section of the paper, then murdering them while Phil Phillip's "Sea of Love" is playing in the background. During a sting operation to try and lure the killer out, Frank meets shoe-store manager/single mom Helen Cruger (Ellen Barkin), a fucking spitfire in a red leather jacket who doesn't give him the time of day. Of course, they fall into bed, and then in love. But could Helen be the "Lonely Hearts" killer? Or his Frank just letting booze make him crazy?

I would have gone home with her too, Frank.
Don't feel bad.
First off, I'm going to rant a little. We don't make women like Ellen Barkin anymore. And why DON'T we? Why DON'T we make women like Ellen Barkin anymore? Make them stars? Make them headliners? Make them powerful, self-assured objects of lust? NO ONE else looked like Ellen Barkin, and no one else ever will again. The 80s and 90s were an amazing time for uniquely beautiful women, who didn't give a good goddamn what you thought of them. And now, we are confronted with a thousand cookie-cutter actresses that I have a difficult time telling apart. What I wouldn't give to go back to a time when women like Ellen Barkin and Sean Young and Linda Fiorentino were the ladies calling the shots.

LOOK AT HER! LOOK AT HER! SHE'S STILL GORGEOUS!
Rant over. Anyway, Sea of Love is quite possibly the perfect 80s/90s erotic thriller. We have a fascinating central mystery, a beautiful femme fatale, a flawed hero, and absolutely no idea who the killer is until that final, satisfying twist. Which brings me to one of my favorite elements of Sea of Love: the twist. Erotic thrillers almost always have a twist, and when they are done right, they should be totally out of left field in the best possible way. Twists have become a cliche in thrillers and horror films in the last decade, but movies like Sea of Love and No Way Out (next week's review) knew how to nail a damn twist. My suggestion? If you've made it this long without having it spoiled for you, go in blind. You won't regret it.

Helen: You have no idea how many creeps there are out there.
Frank: Whadya mean, creeps?
Helen: Manipulators. Liars. Guys who wait until you’re in good and deep before you find out who they really are. Guys who, all of the sudden, you’re fighting for your life. Creeps.

John Goodman: the best sidekick in every film.
Sea of Love also benefits from really exceptional "crime thriller" direction courtesy of Becker (who also directed Malice, another review you'll be seeing this month). Even if you removed the sexual element from Richard Price's script, Sea of Love would work wonderfully as a standard crime film. While the murders happen fairly early in the film, the stakeouts are fun, the chemistry between the detectives is stellar, and you never cease to be engaged by the central mystery.

Frank: We don’t live for our work, do we?
Helen: I like to think I live for love. I mean what else is there? Food?

Are you talkin' to me? Wait... wrong guy.
Which isn't to say that sex isn't phenomenal. Because it frigging is. The first sexual encounter between Pacino and Barkin is practically charged with electricity. If you aren't squirming in your seat as a flawlessly nude Barkin mounts Pacino from behind, while standing the fuck up, you need to be checked for a pulse. Because you're dead. And the scene in the damn grocery store? You'll never look at yellow peppers the same way again. 

Throughout Erotic Thriller month, we are going to be working on a far more stringent rating scale than usual. That means that if I REALLY like a film, it will probably get a three star rating. If I love a film, four stars. If I want to take a movie behind the middle school and get it pregnant, that's a five star rating right there. So with that in mind, Sea of Love gets:

Erotic Thriller Rating: 5 dropped panties out of 5

Sea of Love is available via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, &
blu-ray/DVD

Do you love Sea of Love
Is there an erotic thriller you'd like me to review?
Tell me on Twitter: @linnieloowho