The Curator of Schlock #363 by Jeff Shuster

Crimes of Passion

Kathleen Turner and Anthony Perkins, together again for the first time.

Hooray. Canada will start letting in fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the United States beginning on August 9th. Good thing I got my first dose a few weeks back and will have my second dose in time to get to the Canadian border by August 9th. Oh, and I found my long-lost passport. Looks like everything will be lining up so I can drive this truck and save that small town in Saskatchewan.

Now back to exploring this abandoned shopping mall.

This week’s Arrow Home Video release is 1984’s Crimes of Passion from director Ken Russell. It’s billed as an erotic thriller, but the whole thing is a pervy affair and what would mother think if she knew I was watching such filth? Anyway, the movie begins with a dissatisfied husband named Bobby Grady (John Laughlin) attending some group therapy session where the men rage against women and the women rage against men. Bobby says he’s in a healthy marriage, but then rants about how his wife, Amy (Annie Potts), has no interest in sex.

Next, we’re introduced to China Blue (Kathleen Turner), a street prostitute wearing a blue dress and blonde wig. She can fulfill the weird kinks of any man in the seedy apartment she rents in the red light district. One man fixated on her is a self-styled street preacher named Reverend Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins). He wants to save China Blue with his bible and bag of assorted sex toys including a steel vibrator that can’t be legal in most counties.

China Blue is the alias for Joanna Crane, a fashion designer for a top clothing company. She’s driven and hard-working which makes her boss suspicious. Someone inside the company has been selling designs to the competition and the boss wants Joanna followed. Enter Bobby Grady looking for some night work to help pay for his kid’s braces. He follows Joanna to the red light district and becomes fascinated with her nightlife activities.

Eventually, the fashion thief surfaces and is confronted by the boss, thus letting Joanna off the hook. Bobby doesn’t spill the beans about Joanna, but decides to employ her services and has the best sex of his life. He runs to her defense when Reverend Shayne accosts her in the street, but gets knocked flat on his ass. At some point, Bobby shows up at her real house, tells Joanna he wants to leave his wife for her, etc. Joanna doesn’t think she can give her up her double life, the freedom that comes with it, etc.

Meanwhile, Reverend Shayne is losing his mind. There’s a scene where he slaughters a blow-up doll thinking she’s a prostitute. Or does he slaughter a prostitute thinking she’s a blow-up doll? This is an odd one, folks. I’m still letting it sink in. That’s my way of saying that I don’t know if Crimes of Passion is beautiful schlock or a waste of celluloid. Edwidge the kangaroo didn’t know either.

Ask me in about ten years.


Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, and 477) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.