Shiny Shelf

Basic Instinct: 10th Anniversary Edition

By Mark Clapham on 08 November 2002

‘Basic Instinct’ is pure sleaze. It’s bad. It’s wrong. It’s great.

Numerous masters of unsubtlety – Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, writer Joe Esterhas, director Paul Verhoeven – hit their sleazy peak with this monumentally trashy bit of exploitation nonsense, and none have done anything this stupidly entertaining since. The plot is on one level incredibly simple – vice ridden cop Douglas investigates potential murder Stone – but is layered with so many red herrings and ambiguities as to make fundamentally no sense whatsoever.

Luckily, the plot was never that important anyway. What matters is the chemistry between Douglas and Stone, the story a noirish hook for a deranged spiral of sex and deception. It’s all so extreme as to border on being an adult cartoon, total schlock unrestrained by political correctness, logic or basic good taste. As such it’s the template for every straight to video ‘erotic thriller’ that has followed – but none of those quislings had half as much class and verve as the original.

A few juicy special features round out this 10th Anniversary Special Edition, which for a limited time only comes wrapped in an ‘ice pack’, plastic packaging designed to look like a block of ice. It’s a tacky gimmick, but strangely appealing – just like the film.

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By Mark Clapham

Mark Clapham is a Devon-based writer and editor. You can find out more about him at the egotistically named

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