Body Double (Brian De Palma, 1984, USA)

While Body Double is perhaps not the most widely recognized Brian De Palma, it is perhaps the pinnacle of his filmmaking career. Coming off of Scarface, De Palma returned to his roots for Body Double, a film that fuses tropes from both Vertigo and Rear Window into an intensely 80s erotic thriller that oozes with the style of the era. De Palma's story here is patently absurd - and that is almost the point. While some might view the film under a critical lens, Body Double can be enjoyed equally as both an exercise in style but also as a deep psychosexual drama, amplified with double meanings. In many respects, it belongs in the same conversation as Lynch's Blue Velvet, another 80s psychosexual erotic thriller heavily indebted to Hitchcock.

Having recently lost his acting gig due to his claustrophobia and his girlfriend to another man, our emasculated protagonist Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) is roped into housesitting for a stranger named Sam Bouchard. The highlight of the housesitting is the view of a gorgeous woman erotically dancing each night at a neighboring building. Scully gets gradually sucked into this woman's world and the peril she is enduring at the hands of a thief. This leads him into another relationship with adult film actress Holly Body (Melanie Griffith), in Griffith's breakout role.

It is hard to pick one specific moment in Body Double that stands out, as there are so many. From Jake's pursuit of Gloria Revelle at the Galleria to the "Relax" music video with Holly Body, De Palma is in peak control of his craft here. This is accentuated by the amazing soundtrack by De Palma collaborator Pino Donaggio, whose theme from Body Double has become a legendary 80s staple in its own right. Body Double is certainly one of the quintessential erotic thrillers of the 1980s.



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