Reviews

Dangerous Seductress (1992)

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. I wanted to treat mostly reptiles and the occasional horse because I found animals to be infinitely more interesting than people. My friend Marissa wanted to be a model. Even at nine years old, I thought that was a bold fucking choice. How do you even become one? It’s not like you have to go to school for it; in fact, you don’t even have to finish school or even know how to spell it. All you have to do is drink coffee and smoke cigarettes and look blankly in the middle distance. So fucking boring, but I’m not a veterinarian so don’t take my word for it.

But now that I’ve watched Dangerous Seductress, I’m reconsidering my life and regretting my choices. I should’ve been a model. Instead, I make Internet for a living. 

Somewhere in Indonesia, a jewel heist has gone sideways! Cue the high-speed car-chase! Bullets fly—a lot of bullets. In fact, it’s all the bullets. I cannot stress enough how many bullets race through the air and how few of them land their targets. But eventually an arm and a finger get severed. An adorable digit hops joyfully across a cemetery and awakens an evil queen, who un-decomposes. Bones join together to form a skeleton, muscles form over bone, blood gushes, skin materializes, and nipples light up. A dog gets beheaded. You know, the usual evil queen stuff. 

You can turn off this movie right now and it’ll be the best movie you’ve seen this year and next year. But it gets even better. 

Susan’s in a tough spot. Her boyfriend is a full shitbag who beats and sexually assaults her. But before her story goes any further, we meet Linda. She’s a model. Tall, buxom, and blonde—you know the type. While she’s not particularly exotic in America, she certainly is in Indonesia. She’s enjoying fame and fortune in Jakarta and is celebrating her birthday by salsa dancing in a tiny dress. The scene is long—so long that you wonder if salsa has anything to do with the evil queen. The answer is it doesn’t. But you enjoy it a little too much anyway. Linda receives some gifts: make-up and an ancient Sumatran text. It’s everything a highly successful, exotic model could ever want.

Eventually Susan visits Linda and finds the book and reads from it. She summons the evil queen who empowers her and turns her into a seductress who is dangerous. So you might say she becomes . . . a dangerous seductress. Soon Susan becomes the confident, sexy goddess she’s always been on the inside. She is overwhelmed with the urge to screw and an urge to kill. Cue the trashy lingerie montage! She tries on different négligées and dresses that really accentuate her feminine form. Men fawn over her. They are dying to be with her. But, if you want to bone, you must die.

“Kneel before your queen, mortal.”

Bone-headed men strip down to their whitey tighties, eager to unleash their weasels. And each man meets an untimely demise. There’s death by harpoon, death by glass, death by stiletto, and a death by band saw in a meatpacking plant, of all places. Imagine being a guy who dies in a meat locker, wearing nothing but underwear. There’s gonna be questions. 

Meanwhile, Linda models. Then she models some more. And then some more. She takes a break because modeling is hard work. You have to stick out your chest and butt and puff your lips and pretend you’re having a good time while frolicking on the beach with other models. If that’s not sacrifice, what is? 

Susan gets further and further out of control. How will she be stopped? Who can end the reign of the evil queen? And maybe she can rule forever because I don’t want this movie to end.

There aren’t enough words to describe Dangerous Seductress and capture its full-throttled glory. This film simply can’t be oversold. The practical effects of the evil queen scene are genuinely jaw-dropping and dazzling. There’s a level of detail, skill, and ingenuity there that gives any Nightmare on Elm Street a run for its money, at a fraction of the cost. The modeling sequences, while lengthy, are joys to watch and the hair salon synth-pop soundtrack only boosts the entertainment. The sleaze runs full force, and I particularly love Susan’s glowing tattoo—the mark of the evil queen—which happens to be on her boob. Sure, there’s male gaze and the objectification of women,  but it’s also about women taking control of their own sexual appetites and bodies and there’s nothing wrong with that. But gore and lace bras aside, there’s also beautiful shots of Bali, with its aquamarine beaches and its stunning ancient ruins and temples. There are long sequences of traditional Balinese dances and discussions about Indonesian culture. At times it feels like a promotional video to encourage tourism in Indonesia. And it works. Films like Temptation of the Demon Woman and Special Silencers make you understand how magical this nation truly is—there are mysterious, batshit powers at work among the 17,000 islands that make up the country, and we’ve only just scratched the surface. There’s more to be discovered.

Director H. Tjut Djalil also gifted us the cocaine-dusted, LSD-laced Lady Terminator, Satan’s Bed, and Mystics in Bali, and clearly there’s an undeniable talent. This is entertainment in its purest form, and while it takes patience at times (remember, modeling is boring, but also hard), your patience is rewarded. I’ll see you all in Bali.

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