Jake Scully has had enough. He suffered a panic attack while filming a scene for his latest low budget horror film ‘The Vampires Kiss’. He then came home to find his wife with another man and as it is her house, he is now homeless. Now the lucky break he thought he had with a luxury new place has become a nightmare. The woman he was told about that everynight danced semi naked across the way like clockwork every night has a problem. While he spied on her from his new place, he has seen a stalker watching her every night as she was dancing erotically. Now the stalker looks set to harm her and Scully could be the only one to save her.
Sexuality and the great modern film director is a complex subject. Take then a director with an obsession for another classic era film maker who had an obsession with the female form and you have a potent mix. Body Double is a complex commentary on gender, sex and Hollywood. Many misunderstand the power of De Palma and his reflection on the sexual dynamics of the 1970s -80s. He also has a tender regard for Hitchcock’s power to objectify. Taking Hitch’s previous films and merging them with crafted nods aplenty to meditate.
Genre, especially modern incarnations had become a product to allow a director to explore commentary on society. So taking Hitch visual obsession, the slasher film motif and the murder mystery with porn as its backdrop was bold. This was also intentional and with Body double he explores how the female as object to be visually coveted has become a combustible device that caused ire. It has lost some of its power but look at what was originally taken out of it by the UK censor and you see how it still can be seismic.
Powerhouse have given us a grand affair. Nice print that is fresh and plays far better than that DVD version from a few years back. The Pure Cinema, Seduction and Mystery docs are excellent. The score is superb and plays as good today as it did then. I also found the Controversy doc interesting to see how people who worked on the film, found the reactions to it in the press. It shows how behind the time often the press and mainstream media is. Fear is a powerful tool to run and stand in the conscientious view.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION EXTRAS:
- Pure Cinema (38 mins): extensive interview with first assistant director Joe Napolitano
- The Seduction (17 mins): De Palma discusses the early treatment of the script
- The Setup (17 mins): an examination of the plot
- The Mystery (12 mins): Melanie Griffith discusses her nude scenes and De Palma’s shyness
- The Controversy (6 mins): the cast and crew discuss the film’s critical slating
- Isolated score track
- Original theatrical trailer
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Booklet with new and archival contents
- Dual format edition