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Literature: Exit to Eden

Exit to Eden is a 1985 novel by Anne Rice, that was originally written under the pen name Anne Rampling before being subsequently published under her own name, about a BDSM resort, The Club.

Elliott is a masochistic man who goes to The Club in search of sexual fulfillment. Lisa is a sadist and one of the managers of The Club. Lisa falls for Elliott's sardonic humor and abandons her responsibilities to pursue a romance. They travel around the American south and reflect on each other, BDSM, and the future.

In 1994 it was adapted into a movie by Garry Marshall. The result was not pretty.

Elliot Slater (Paul Mercurio) is an Australian photographer who has never managed to sustain a relationship on account of his masochistic proclivities. To come to terms with his sexuality, he signs up to go to the resort, here called Eden. Once there, he falls in love with the owner/head dominatrix Lisa Emerson (Dana Delany)...

Unfortunately, at the airport, Elliot inadvertently took photographs of wanted international diamond smuggler Omar (Stuart Wilson), who heads off to the resort himself to retrieve the diamonds. This forces cops Shelia Kingston (Rosie O'Donnell) and Fred Lavery (Dan Aykroyd) to go undercover at the resort to arrest him...


This book and film provide examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The diamond-smuggler subplot.
  • Adaptational Modesty: In the book, the submissives are naked. In the film, they're just wearing skimpy outfits.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • In the book, the male lead's name is Elliott. In the film, he's down a T, to Elliot.
    • In the book, the name of the BDSM resort is The Club, with the title's Eden only metaphorical. In the film, The Club is changed to Eden to make the title more literal.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: In the book, both Elliott and Lisa are bi. In the film, Elliot is totally straight and Lisa's bisexuality is toned down to subtext.
  • Alliterative List: The movie's "Safe, Sane and Submissive"
  • All Women Are Doms All Men Are Subs: Subverted. There are men and women in both roles.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Unusually done with a man harassing a woman. In the movie, Tommy tries to have sex with Sheila despite her saying no and backing away. It's played for comedy because Tommy's into BDSM and is supposed to be funny as a pervert.
  • Buddy Cop Comedy
  • But Not Too Bi: In the book, Everyone Is Bi, and Lisa interacts sexually with her submissive Diana. In the film, Lisa is still her submissive, but their relationship appears far more platonic than her relationship with Elliot.
  • Casual Kink
  • Costume Test Montage: Shiela trying on her fetish outfit.
  • Eating the Eye Candy Lisa is shown checking out the male Citizens' butts during the Welcoming Ceremony. It's revealed that Lisa has a butt fetish which is revealed when she spanks Paul
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Many male and female fans who like seeing Paul naked in the movie.
  • Everyone Is Bi: In the book, this seems to be true. For the members of The Club, at least.
  • Film of the Book
  • Gratuitous Rape: The book has a scene with Lisa making Elliott have a rape fight with another man, where he wins by raping the guy for her.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Fred comes in to see Sheila and Nina struggling in a way that looks like they're having sex. This was not a reference to Rosie O'Donnell being a lesbian, as she didn't come out until eight years after the film was made.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Dana Delany
  • Parental Abandonment: In the film, Lisa's mother is dead and her father is emotionally distant.
  • Parental Neglect: In the film, Lisa's father is a cold, distant man.
  • Property of Love
  • Safe, Sane and Consensual: The general principle of BDSM play that the story is based around. The movie, however, chose to alter the phrase to "Safe, Sane and Submissive."
  • Safe Word: Mentioned briefly in the movie with the alternate phrase "control word", but it's not really explained.
  • Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: Fred Lavery's problem.
  • Sex Tourism
  • Shirtless Scene
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slave Collar: Part of the submissive uniform.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: In the movie, Lisa had a relationship with her graduate school English professor.

EmmanuelleErotic LiteratureDelicate Fire
Eva LunaLiterature of the 1980sExpecting Someone Taller
EvolverFilms of the 1990sThe Fantastic Four

alternative title(s): Exit To Eden; Exit To Eden
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