Saturday, June 24, 2023

#2,915. Deadly Embrace (1989) - Linnea Quigley Triple Feature


It features scream queens Linnea Quigley (Graduation Day, Silent Night Deadly Night) and Michelle Bauer (Nightmare Sisters, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers), but 1989’s Deadly Embrace is not a horror film. This straight-to-video foray directed by David DeCoteau (credited as Ellen Cabot) is instead billed as a drama / thriller.

Well, I got news for you. It isn’t much of a thriller either!

Now a suspect in a double homicide, Chris (Ken Abraham) recounts, via flashback, the events that led to his tragic state of affairs. Hired by wealthy businessman Stewart Moreland (Jan-Michael Vincent) to be his live-in errand boy, Chris soon caught the eye of Moreland’s neglected wife Charlotte (Mindi Miller).

It seems that Moreland had fallen in love with his secretary Dede (Ruth Collins), and intended to divorce Charlotte the first chance he got. Moreland’s lawyer, Evan Weiss (Jack Carter), advised against the split, telling Moreland the unpleasant news that, because he didn’t have Charlotte sign a pre-nuptial agreement, she would be entitled to half his estate once the divorce was finalized.

As Moreland plotted for a way to prevent his wife from capitalizing on their faltering marriage, Charlotte was busy seducing Chris, who is himself in love with his longtime girlfriend, wannabe actress Michelle (Quigley).

It wasn’t long before Chris succumbed to Charlotte’s advances, and everything came to a head when Michelle visited Chris for a few days, causing a jealous Charlotte to take matters into her own hands.

Staying true to form, both Quigley and Bauer (who appears only in fantasy sequences as the “Female Spirit of Sex”) bare it all several times throughout Deadly Embrace, and even Miller (billed here as Ty Randolph) sheds her clothes a few times. The sex scenes are, indeed, erotic, and well-handled by Decoteau. Which is to the movie’s benefit, seeing as half of it is nothing but sex scenes!

As a thriller, though, Deadly Embrace is dead on arrival. Jan-Michael Vincent is limited to a handful of scenes, and his plans to somehow trap his wife, forcing her into an affair with Chris so he can cut her off without a cent, go nowhere (he seems even more inept when you consider the two are already having an affair under his nose). More effective, if only slightly, are the scenes with Miller as the jealous Charlotte, plotting for a way to break up Chris and Michelle so he will be hers. Charlotte even sets up a video camera outside of Chris’s room, shooting through a two-way mirror, that captures their sexual escapades.

It doesn’t hurt that Miller also delivers the film’s best performance, and is convincing as both the heartbroken wife and the alluring temptress. But even with her, the story falters and never truly develops into anything close to a suspenseful thriller.

Skin and sex are the selling points of Deadly Embrace, and with Miller, Quigley, and Bauer in the cast, that would have been enough to draw attention back in 1989. But all three have appeared in better films, both before and after. I recommend seeking them out instead.
Rating: 4.5 out of 10

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