While Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction is certainly a very popular and influential film, I wonder how many of its fans remember a little Clint Eastwood movie called Play Misty for Me. The 1971 chiller was about a disc jockey (Eastwood) who turns a fling (Jessica Walter -- yes, the hilariously hateful matriarch from Arrested Development) into a freak-o when he passes her by for another girl. (Sound familiar?) But after the overwhelming success of 1987's Fatal Attraction, the multiplexes seemed over-loaded with all sorts of "domestic thrillers" in which "a normally generic nobody, albeit one belonging to a distinct domestic stereotype" goes ape-doody and starts stabbing people left and right. Gathered here are seven of the most memorable. Not the best, necessarily, but the seven I can remember right now. Hence "memorable."
If Fatal Attraction = Crazy Psycho Jilted Mistress, then...
Unlawful Entry = Crazy Psycho Dirty Cop -- Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe are thrilled to meet up with cop Ray Liotta when their home is invaded -- but when the guy keeps snooping around and using his badge as a license to ... peep, things take a turn for the worse. Fun stuff that only periodically gets campy, thanks mainly to a brisk pace and three strong leads. Plus Liotta's just so wonderfully evil in this one. (Jonathan Kaplan, 1992)
The Crush = Crazy Psycho Sexy Jailbait -- Underage temptress Alicia Silverstone doesn't take it well when dreamboat Cary Elwes rebuffs her amorous advances, and she's not afraid to kill people to show it. Low-rent cable fodder that's only worth watching if (absolutely) nothing else is on. But you might need a shower once it's over. But if you're a fan of "death by bees in a locked darkroom," here's a flick you'll love. (Alan Shapiro, 1993)
The Temp = Crazy Psycho Freckled Secretary -- It probably doesn't take much imagining to picture Lara Flynn Boyle as a raving psycho bitch, but this pulpy little horror comedy is a lot more entertaining than the "temp gone crazy" premise might sound. (OK, not "a lot," but still kinda fun.) Timothy Hutton plays the cookie company suit who finds that he's getting a whole lot of unexpected help from his new temp. And by "help" I mean she ruins and/or kills anyone who might stand in his way. (Tom Holland, 1993)
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle = Crazy Psycho Hot Nanny -- One of the biggest post-Fatal Attraction "domestic terror" hits, this one starred the achingly sexy Rebecca De Mornay as a live-in nanny with some decidedly devious plans. (Bet you didn't remember that the leads were Matt McCoy and Annabella Sciorra. Well they were.) And keep an eye out for an early turn by Julianne Moore! A well-constructed potboiler from a filmmaker who'd go on to much better flicks. (Curtis Hanson, 1992)
The Good Son = Crazy Psycho Adopted Kid -- Macaulay Culkin stars as a psychotic tot in a cheesy little chiller that probably should have been called The Good Nephew. Or perhaps The Bad Nephew. (Maybe even The Bad Movie.) Little Mac scares the bejeesus out of aunt Wendy (Crewson), but it's his on-again off-again battles with a pre-Hobbitized Elijah Wood that keeps me coming back. Actually, I haven't seen this flick since its theatrical run. I do remember chuckling a few times during the flick, so perhaps it's worthy of a revisit. (Joseph Ruben, 1993)
Single White Female = Crazy Psycho Emo Roommate -- One of America's finest actresses (Jennifer Jason Leigh and no I'm not kidding) plays the nutty new apartment-mate of brittle Bridget Fonda in the flick I consider the best Fatal Attraction knock-off by far. Sure it's a pretty simplistic affair, but Leigh brings such a tender vulnerability to her character (well, before she goes entirely nutzoid, that is) that the flick feels more like a tragedy than a thriller. Plus Fonda's actually pretty good here. (Barbet Schroeder, 1992)
Sleeping with the Enemy = Crazy Psycho Estranged Husband -- This surprise hit helped turn Julia Roberts into the Queen of Hollywood, but man oh man is it a silly flick. Roberts plays a gal on the run from an abusive husband who's also kind of obsessive/compulsive about the placements of his towels and linens. Proved very popular with the ladies, including Jennifer Lopez who made the exact same flick and called it Enough. (Joseph Ruben, 1991)
My apologies to Pacific Heights (Crazy Psycho Peculiar Tenant), The Guardian (Crazy Psycho Druid Babysitter) and Arlington Rd. (Crazy Psycho Suburban Terrorists), but this was a Cinematical Seven, and those three additions would have made it Tinematical Ten, and that just makes no sense at all. And thank heavens that Domestic Disturbance (Crazy Psycho Skeevy Stepdad) didn't re-ignite the whole silly cycle.