Dressed To Kill (1980)

Brian DePalma returns to the 101 Horror Movies list, but I have to say, this one isn’t so much of a horror as it is an erotic thriller.

Emphasis on erotic.

In the opening scene, Angie Dickinson, as Kate Miller, completely changed the world’s perception of her as the straitlaced character she played in Police Woman with a little shower play and some rather wicked fantasies, that serve to disctact her from her rather dull sexual life that she has with her husband.

She confides about these problems with her therapist, Doctor Robert Elliott (Michael Caine). She also makes a half-hearted pass at him, which he gently rebuffs.

Spending the rest of her day in the museum she plays cat and mouse with a stranger, untilshe tumbles into his taxi cab, and spends a pleasure-filled afternoon together.

On her way out of the building, she is attacked in the elevator by a tall blonde woman with a straight razor. Liz Blake (Nancy Allen, looking very nice as far as I’m concerned), a high-class escort, stumbles onto the scene, and sees the blonde woman in the elevator’s mirror – setting herself up as the next target.

Liz is aided by Kate’s smart son, Peter (Keith Gordon), and harassed by Detective Marino (Dennis Franz).

If you know anything about DePalma movies, you can figure out the whole thing within the first fifteen minutes of the whole film, but like Carrie, watching it is half the fun, and I love his split screen shots.

There’s also a pretty little orchestral piece written by Pino Donaggio that is a recurring motiff throughout the film.

As an erotic thriller, it entertains, but there’s nothing really horrific in the film, unless you mean the rather brutal murder of Kate and the attacks on Liz.

It’s a fun little film, but I’d rather my horror was a little more supernatural. Not always, as will be shown in some of the future films that are coming up, but these kinds of films, are as I said, more thriller than horror.

Do you have a favorite DePalma film?

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Smellycat says:

    I loved “Scarface”, “Snake Eyes” and “Le Dhalia Noir” !! 🙂

    1. TD Rideout says:

      Could never get behind Scarface, just wasn’t my thing… but The Untouchables… yes please!

  2. Dave Enkosky says:

    My favorite De Palma is probably Phantom of the Paradise. At least, it’s the one I’ve seen the most.

    1. TD Rideout says:

      I personally have to come down on the side of The Untouchables… I love the score, DeNiro is awesome. Connery of course! I just love the entire feel of it, and of course I’m partial to that era as it is 🙂

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