In this one, we have our happily married man Dan (Michael Douglas again, he must have loved doing this kinda nonsense) seduced by beautiful blonde Alex (Glenn Close). Dan and Alex’s fling turns out to be anything but when she becomes obsessed with him and appears dead set on ruining his life. Though the movie has been a thorn in the side of anyone called “clingy” in a relationship since, it’s still got the thrills to pay the bills 35 years on.
The Wachowskis made their pre-Matrix directorial debut with this sexy thriller starring Chucky franchise alumna Jennifer Tilly as Violet, a woman who is fed up with her mafioso boyfriend Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) and is desperate to escape his world, so when ex-con Corky (Gina Gershon) enters the picture, the two women are soon getting steamy and plotting to steal millions on their way out the door.
Though accused of having a superficial plot and using excessive violence (this is an erotic thriller people, what did you expect?) Bound was a stylish critical hit and is still a rare depiction of a realistic lesbian relationship within a mainstream movie. It also forged several key industry friendships, as cinematographer Bill Pope was hired to create the slick look of Bound for the budding Wachowskis after the original director of photography quit in protest, and he would continue working with the duo as they moved on to create the first three Matrix films.
The Last Seduction
1994’s critically acclaimed The Last Seduction was a super low budget affair and is yet another problematic erotic thriller to add to your list, albeit one that rather fantastically chose to forego picking a male lead during a time when that was the norm for the genre, and instead pitted the convention-free Linda Fiorentino against the world in a way that will make your teeth hurt for a long time after the credits roll.
The plot is complex and rooted in the neo-noir oeuvre, but it essentially frames bored telemarketing manager Bridget Gregory as the villain of her own story as she lies, cheats, and manipulates hapless men to achieve her financial goals. Bridget is disturbingly intelligent, sexy, and willing to pull out all the stops when screwing over her husband (Bill Pullman) and the rando she meets at a bar after stealing his money (Peter Berg). She is diabolical, and doesn’t feel the need to reform either. The Last Seduction never blinks, and neither does Bridget.
Spawning a surprising amount of sequels, Cruel Intentions offered late-90s audiences a concept they couldn’t resist: Buffy the Vampire Slayer herself (Sarah Michelle Gellar) getting raunchy in an updated adaptation of the 1782 novel Dangerous relationships. This updated version of the story features a gaggle of wealthy New York teens (Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, and Selma Blair amongst them) who easily looked to be in their mid-20s at the time of filming.