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July 16, 2018 10:35 PM Subscribe
That’s 12 double-crosses in a movie with a runtime of 108 minutes. That’s an average of one double-cross every nine minutes, which is an extremely high DCPM (double-cross per minute) rate. There’s also the raccoon, and a few alligators, and Kevin Bacon’s alligator, and the pool scene, and Bill Murray as a lawyer. It’s a lot. Wild Things is a lot.Wild Things, one of the sleaziest wide releases of the '90s, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. [spoilers abound in all links]
The Erotic Thriller 'Wild Things' Deserves a Better Reputation Than 'Guilty Pleasure'
Wild Things is often regarded as a sleazy guilty pleasure. Wild Things should be regarded as a dizzyingly constructed maze of a film -- and one of the last great erotic thrillers.Hear Me Out: Wild Things Is Surprisingly Feminist
By the late '90s, the genre, with its femme fatales and stylized settings, was receding from its cultural dominance as studios chased the coveted young-person demographic, and mores around on-screen sexual provocation began to change, with pornography and political correctness becoming simultaneously more mainstream. The "adult" subject matter of the erotic thriller means few of them involve teenage characters, aside from a handful of notable exceptions like Poison Ivy and Cruel Intentions. But director John McNaughton pushed Wild Things, released 20 years ago this month, into ever more lurid and ultimately rewarding directions.
Wild Things plays a dangerous game: Not only does the film center on two high-school girls, the bratty Kelly (Denise Richards) and the poor goth Suzie (Neve Campbell), but it sets them up in a complex storyline involving false rape allegations against their guidance counselor, Sam (Matt Dillon). By any definition, the plot of Wild Things is, to use a thinkpiece buzzword, "problematic." But wait! There’s more. And more. And more.
A huge problem with female characters in movies are that they are often flat—they portray women as "nagging wives," "supportive girlfriends," or "dead hookers" and that's about it. Their sole purpose is to support the guy. But in Wild Things, the female characters are not only multidimensional, but head-spinningly so. Spoiled Floridian princess Kelly (Denise Richards) and drug-addled swamp priestess Suzie (Neve Campbell) are two of the most well-rounded, fascinating, and exciting characters to ever grace the screen. They're smart, conniving, dark, layered, and riotously funny. They fight, they love, they have sex, they scheme—often with each other—and they love every second of it. These women have agency and points of view—how many times can you say that about a woman in a Marvel movie?Why “Wild Things” Was A Defining Film For Gay Men In The ’90s
Nudity aside, the scene is as homoerotic as it can be without Dillon and Bacon actually embracing. The men are clearly very comfortable with each other — there’s no hint of awkwardness when Sam walks in on Ray in the shower — and given the film’s relentless sexuality, the idea that these dudes might not just be friends and partners in crime feels more than a little implied. If Wild Things were made today — please, god, without the false rape accusation — it’s likely that the scene would have played out differently, with Sam joining Ray in the shower. (Or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking from a former closeted teen who always imagined it ending that way.)13 Wild Facts About Wild Things
8. BACON AND DILLON WERE SUPPOSED TO DO A SHOWER SCENE TOGETHER.And while it most likely will never happen:
That already racy scene in which Dillon throws a nude Bacon a towel almost pushed the envelope further. Dillon was supposed to join Bacon in the shower and kiss him, but Dillon was against the idea. “Man, I was relieved when they got rid of that scene,” Dillon told Total Film. “Kevin seemed pretty attached to it through. One twist too many, man, one twist too many."
“I thought it was great because the whole movie is about secrets coming out, right?” Bacon also told Total Film. “As reveals go, that one was just huge [no pun intended]. Unfortunately, the financiers didn’t like the idea of men making out. They felt it went too far. They felt it wasn’t right.”
Bonkers ‘Wild Things’ Sequel Based on Amanda Knox Story in the Works
McNaughton tells Hollywood.com that he and screenwriter Stephen Peters, who wrote the original as well as direct-to-DVD sequels Wild Things 2 and Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough, are working on another Wild Things movie.
“It’s not one of the sequels, but about their children,” he says. OK, that sounds odd, but just wait. It gets real crazy. “Do you know the Amanda Knox case? It’s something like that. Something that’s like the child of Suzie Toller [Campbell’s character], she claimed that Matt Dillon‘s [character] had raped her a long time ago and maybe there is a child and maybe Bill Murray‘s character had a child and they’re exchange students and things get out of hand. We’re calling it Wild Child Things.”
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