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September 23, 1987 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-09-23

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The Michigan Daily

Wednesday, September 23, 1987

'Fatal Attraction':
Fatal concoction

By Scott Collins
The British director Adrian Lyne
has already proven that he
understands style better than
anything else. In his big hit,
Flashdance, he sacrificed plot and
character development for color and
choreography; in 9 1/2 Weeks, he re-
made Last Tango in Paris with
margarine instead of butter.
So Lyne was beginning to
establish a reputation as the Neiman-
Marcus of directors, an artist who
believed that what characters wear
suggests more about their per-
sonalities than what they say or do.
Terribly dull people, we might
think, but don't they look smashing
in spandex? In Lyne's trendy mind,
all the world's a fashion ramp, and
men and women merely models.
That aesthetic, if you can call it
that, worked well enough for feature-
length videos about jazz dancing and
naughty love affairs, but apparently
Lyne grew bored and wanted to try
his hand at weightier material. The
only problem is that he doesn't
really know how to create a film of
substance because he's been per-
fecting his garish technique for so
I suspect that's. the problem in
his latest effort, which is so leaden
and trashy that it could have been
made by any of a number of hacks,..

save for its telling and oppressive
self-consciousness. Traces of Lyne's
former stylistic impulses remain,
but Fatal Attraction has no sense of
humor. It's as serious as a nervous
breakdown, and about as dis-
comforting as witnessing one.
Part of the dourness lies in the
subject matter. This is a film about
every cheating husband's nightmare:
discovering that the "other woman"
is a jealous and vengeful psychotic.
Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) is
a successful and happily married
New York attorney who meets Alex
Forrest (Glenn Close) through some
mutual work in the publishing
business. The attraction between the
two is, as Alex coyly admits,
"obvious," and when Dan's wife
leaves town for the weekend, he and
Alex end up in bed.
Come Monday morning, Dan
would just assume forget about the
whole affair, but Alex won't let
him. At first, her prompting is
nothing more than mild nagging,
but soon betrays the most violently
possessive instincts. Dan himself
becomes almost criminal in his
attempts to get rid of her. Alex is
more than a clinging vine; she's a
Venus flytrap, and she's willing to
destroy Dan, his family, and herself
because he won't take her back.
(How in the world did this woman
ever get through a schoolgirl crush?)

Not a happy circumstance,
certainly, but one with possibilities
for a thriller. Hitchcock would have
been urbane; Sidney Lumet, moral;
John Carpenter, terrifying. But Lane
is, alas, confused. There are some
nice moments, such as when Dan
and Alex flirts over dinner on their
first date. And, as always, Lyne
knows how to stage love scenes for
maximum titillation. But he doesn't
know how to develop suspense,
much less character, and that is what
he must do here. Each scene
laboriously lumbers along, building
inevitably toward an excruciating and
grotesque climax. No scene in this
movie exists simply because the
viewer might enjoy it; Lyne won't
allow you to relax until Dan wipes
this shit off his shoes.
And that's exactly what Alex is in
this movie - a psycho piece of
shit. This film doesn't appeal for
women's rights or better any
understanding between the sexes.
After a couple of reels, it's clear that
Alex is to blame, and Dan's a poor
slob who committed the pardonable
sin of infidelity. Fatal Attraction is,
quite unabashedly, a man's movie -
and-not a very good one at that. But
don't think that Adrian Lyne intends
to abuse women. The only thing he
consciously exploits is our pocket-

Glen Close (left) plays Alex Forrest a psychopathic adultress who seduces Dan Gallagher
(played by Michael Douglas) in the new movie 'Fatal Attraction.'


Elvis Hitler
(Wang Head)
Given that this record w a s
recorded in the Detroit band Snake-
out's lair, Garageland Studios, and
co-produced by Snake-out leader Len
Puch, and that Elvis's bassist
occasionally moonlights as a Snake-
out bassist, and that Elvis himself
was once Snake-out's bassist, and
former Snake-out drummer Tim
Reagan receives a "beer" credit on
the album, it was reasonable to
assume that Disgraceland would be,
for most intents and purposes, a
Snake-out record. Guaging by the
last two Snake-out records that
wouldn't have been such a bad thing.
But Elvis Hitler, while clearly a
mutant spiritual brother of Snake-
out manages to carve out new
territory for himself.
This is acid rockabilly- a hellish
grandchild of Presley, Hendrix,
Rorschach, and Puch. The grooves
are stuffed full of throbbing snares,
overdriven guitars, and bandleader
Q Elvis, growling, howling, and
rasping with the characteristic
abandon and good humor typical of
the New Boston music scene.
The opening power-chords of
"Elvis's Ripoff Theme" pile into a
psychedelic riff, which gives way to
a drumbeat that would belong behind
Carl Perkins if it weren't played so
hard and so fast. These elements
collide, co-mingle, and meld to form
the best parts of Disgraceland.
"Live Fast, Die Young" is justly
anthemic. "Ten Wheels For Jesus"
features a spoken encounter with a
southern-fried messiah. "Battle Cry
of 1,000 Men" charges into the
frontlines while still managing to be
oddly touching. The album's big
snarf, "Green Haze (Pt. I and II)"
answers the musical question, "What
if Jimi Hendrix had been hired tondo
the 'Green Acres' theme?"
Disgraceland is entertaining
stuff, with moments of truly fine
musicianship. The album is ham-
pered at times by a mix which
features two Elvises, one in each
channel, snarling out the lyrics, and
God knows one is enough. This
mild beef aside, the album is further
evidence that the Detroit music
scene. long considered worthless and

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Ston hv and se a Jostens renresentative. I

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