And then I come to find out that all of the lesbian sex scenes got cut out of that movie because a test audience was, uh..."turned off" by them. Boy, is my thumb not on the pulse of America... If I had been in that test audience, the only one protesting would've been Michael Douglas demanding that his part be put back in!
Basic Instinct is a 1992 American erotic thriller/neo-noir film, directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas, starring Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas, Jeanne Tripplehorn and George Dzundza.The film centres around police detective Nick Curran (Douglas), who is put in charge of the investigation of a brutal murder of a wealthy former rock star. Beautiful, seductive and wealthy writer Catherine Tramell (Stone) could be involved; over the course of the investigation, Detective Curran becomes involved in a torrid and intense relationship with the mysterious woman—who turns out to be very dangerous.It was followed by a sequel that was panned by critics and spectacularly bombed at the box office.
Artistic License - Law: When the film was made, in 1992, DNA had been used in police investigations to secure convictions for over eight years. If this case happened in real life, the police would be requesting a DNA sample from Catherine as the primary suspect in Johnny Boz's death (given that she was the last person seen with him). This would have secured an instant conviction because of the opening sex scene. Her body fluids and bits of her skin being all over the bed and the body would have made sure of this. In short, most of the plot should not have happened.
Not necessarily. Catherine freely admitted to being involved with Boz, so her DNA being all over him and the bed would be likely regardless of whether or not she'd had sex with him and killed him that night. Any decent lawyer—which Catherine could certainly afford with her fortune—could have presented this as reasonable doubt.
The Bad Guy Wins: Catherine succeeds in falsely leading the police and Nick, the anti-hero, into believing Beth was the killer - and Nick killed her, too. Catherine? She successfully escapes the law and proceeds to have sex with Nick. The last shot hints that she is either about to kill him or intended to kill him but calls it off because she likes having sex with him.
Betty and Veronica: Good girl Beth (whose name is coincidentally, or perhaps deliberately, similar to Betty) and Catherine. The interesting subversion is that Beth might very well be as murderous as Catherine is implied to be
Black Widow: Catherine. Every one of her love interests ends up dead, whether by her own hand or through her manipulation of the situation. Beth too, if she's responsible for her husband's murder
Blondes are Evil: Catherine is one of the most sinister blondes in all cinema, a hedonistic sociopath who manipulates everyone around her for her own amusement and gratification, while her girlfriend Roxy is easily driven to murderous fits of jealousy. and when Beth's murky past is discovered, it's revealed she wore her hair blonde back in those days—whether of her own volition or to imitate Catherine is unclear
Roxy in regards to Catherine, threatening to kill Nick if he doesn't leave Catherine alone, then attempting to do so
Depending on whose version of events is true, either Catherine or Beth was this to the other, with each woman claiming that the other stalked her after their one night stand. Then there's the murder of Beth's husband and the latest series of killings, which could have been engineered by either woman either as revenge for ending their relationship, or in the hopes of resuming it
Date Rape: The first scene of Nick and Beth in her flat qualifies as this. He aggressively comes on to her, and she enjoys it at first. By the end he forces himself onto her, and she's clearly struggling against him. After they're done, she calls him out on that fact that he wasn't making love to her, and angrily tells him to leave.
Drunk Driver: Gus gets behind the wheel while he's hammered, even though his partner Nick offers to drive him home. He manages not to get himself killed.
Embarrassing Nick Name: Nick is called "Shooter" by a lot of people. It refers to a previous incident in which he accidentally shot and killed a bunch of tourists, which he is still haunted by.
Enfant Terrible: Catherine is heavily implied to have murdered her parents, as described in yet another of her books about a boy who kills his parents is the exact same manner that her parents died—their boat exploding.
Femme Fatale: Catherine is one of the most iconic examples in modern filmmaking. No surprise, seeing as how the entire film is a 90's update on the Film Noir genre. She seduces both men and women to attain her goals, tempts Nick with her emotional vulnerability after Roxy's death, and probably committed all the murders.. Beth and Roxy may also qualify depending on how you interpret the film and the characters.
Follow the Leader: In the mid-nineties, every single thriller was Basic Instinct with some conceit.
And this film itself was following Fatal Attraction. They even got Michael Douglas!
Four Is Death: When Detective Gus gets into the elevator to meet Beth, he ends up getting stabbed on the 4th Floor.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: Before the climax of the movie, Nick drops in at Catherine's house and picks up a page of the manuscript of Catherine last book that she's currently printing. He glances at it very briefly, without reading it. If you freeze frame, you can read the page. It's a perfect description of the killing that is going to happen in the next scene.
Honeytrap: The killer takes men to bed, ties them up and murders them.
I Just Want to Be You: It's eventually revealed that Beth had an affair with Catherine back in college and got obsessed with her to the point of trying to be like her in every way, even dying her hair blond. When Nick confronts Beth over this, she asserts that it was the other way around: Catherine was obsessed with her.
Internal Affairs: The Jerkass detective seen harassing Nick and Beth during the bar scene, who has apparently been on Nick's case since the infamous shooting incident.
Ironic Echo: Catherine's interrogation scene, when she snarks about being "charged with smoking", as well as how dumb she would have to be to kill someone exactly as she described in her book, is revisited in Nick's, when he makes an identical snark when he lights up a cigarette, then points out how stupid he would have to be to kill the Internal Affairs detective after arguing with him in full view of a police station full of witnesses.
Karma Houdini: Catherine Tramell successfully shifts the blame for the murders to Beth, and gets away with her crimes.
Mirror Scare: After Nick has had sex with Catherine, he walks over to the bathroom and splashes some water on his face. When he looks up, the mirror reveals that Catherine's jealous girlfriend Roxy is standing behind him.
Most Writers Are Writers: Catherine is a crime novelist. And a particularly manipulative and genre savvy one at that; by the end of the film it's revealed that she set up almost every event to emulate her own book.
Not So Different: When Nick asks Beth how she knows so much about Catherine still unaware of their previous relationship, Beth claims that she knows the type because she's a psychologist. Nick points out that as a practicing psychologist (Catherine majored in it college but presumably did not pursue it further), Beth is probably even better at manipulating people— indeed, if she's the killer, she's managed to come across as completely innocent while being as much of a sociopath as Catherine is
Only a Flesh Wound: Averted when Nick shoots Beth. She's hit in the shoulder, but bleeds out within minutes.
Out with a Bang: The movie opens with a woman murdering her partner during sex. With an ice pick. Ouch.
Self-Made Orphan: Catherine Trammell killed her parents and wrote a book based on the incident.
The Sociopath: Catherine Tramell is a rare example of a female sociopath in popular culture. A charismatic, seductive, narcissistic author, Femme Fatale, pathological liar and Serial Killer, she manipulates and causes the deaths of nearly everyone in the story, including many of her lovers and her own parents, largely for her own personal gain, amusement and to inspire her novels with no real remorse whatsoever. She is even described as such by multiple characters in the films.
Stealth Parody: In his book The Devil's Guide to Hollywood, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas states essentially that he conceived and wrote this film in 13 days as a cynical exercise in creating the Lowest Common Denominator screenplay possible. So he could get back his record of being the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood. And he succeeded.
Theme Serial Killer: A woman kills a retired rock 'n roll star during sex, in the exact same way that a rich novelist named Catherine Tramell described in one of her books. When the police suspect her, she points out how stupid she would be if she were to write it down in her book first. Eventually they find the culprit: police psychologist Beth, an old flame of Nick, who was obsessed with Catherine. Then the last shot reveals Catherine as the real killer, making this an inversion.
Nick goes after Catherine despite all the obvious hints that she's dangerous. She even flat-out tells him that she is writing a story about an Anti-Hero detective who falls for the wrong woman, and that the women kills the detective. Nick's partner Gus calls him out on it in-story. Nick is either about to be killed in the last scene or survives in the end is because Catherine had a last-minute change of heart about killing him (if you count the sequel as part of the same story she killed him.
Beth getting herself shot by Nick. Despite the fact that he's clearly agitated and pointing a gun at her, she puts her hand into her pocket and refuses to remove it even as he orders her to. As it turns out, she wasn't armed, but he had no way of knowing that, and given the circumstances, reacted the way any cop would. It's either idiocy, or just thinking that he loves her too much to shoot her.
The Unfair Sex: Averted. Catherine is a sociopath, Roxy is a Psycho Lesbian, Hazel Dobkins killed her husband and children and Beth is a murder suspect. In fact the number of evil females led to accusations of misogyny.
The Unreveal: Who committed each of the murders - Johnny Boz, Nilsen, Noah Goldstein (the college counsellor), Gus, Beths husband - in the film? Was there only 1 killer? Why was Nilsen investigating Beth? Did Catherine truly have feelings for Roxy or Nick or was it all an act as part of her game? Does Catherine kill Nick after the last scene? The sequel implies she does. Camille Paglia correctly said in her audio commentary of the film that it ended on a big question mark.
The Vamp: While much of Catherine's character is open to interpretation, there's no denying how easily she manipulates everyone around her (especially by seducing them) to get what she wants.