Erotic Movies and Film Noir

An erotic movie is one that inspires feelings of sexual desire. It can be a thriller that has nudity or sex scenes.

The film Body of Evidence stars transgressive queen Julianne Moore as Rebecca Carlson, a woman on trial for killing her rich lover with autoerotic asphyxiation. She then begins a steamy romance with her lawyer, played by Willem Dafoe.

1. Film Noir

Film noir has a place in the history of erotic films. Equal parts contrived and riveting, it is a genre that defined whole eras of movie-making and culture with a series of hits like Fatal Attraction, Body Heat, and Dressed to Kill. Erotic thrillers often have a noir flavor, using dark, shadowy lighting, and a palette that goes from a warm, sunny yellow to a stark white (read: blood) as the action gets more sinister. For example, Body Heat uses a subtropical setting to contrast the hot bodies of Hedy Lamarr and Michael Douglas with a coldly deadly outcome; Gone Girl employs a monochrome blue palette to add tension and make the redness of the victims stand out.

A lot of erotic movies use nudity and sex as a means to explore characters and relationships or to make an artistic statement about sexual desire. However, the sex is usually kept romantic rather than explicit.

Many erotic films revolve around The Fall Guy, the male protagonist who is easily seduced and manipulated by Femme Fatales. Often, he is the type who is so busy with his career that he doesn’t pay attention to the red flags of a potential femme fatale until it’s too late. Usually, these types of men enjoy being dominated by femmes and the sex can get rough with BDSM elements. Think biting, choking, ripping off of garments, scratching, and a sex scene that is so erotic that it’s almost painful to watch.

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2. Color Theme

Film noir often has a dark color palette that is used to symbolize sexy danger and erotic tension. The colors are usually starkly contrasted against the backdrop of a stormy night or an urban jungle. Body Heat uses a tropical setting to play with the hot and cold emotions of the characters; Stanley Kubrick’s final film, Gone Girl, is set against an almost monochrome blue backdrop that makes blood red all the more alarming.

Although some erotic movies do feature explicit scenes, they do not contain the kind of sexual exploitation or pornography that you’d find in a pornographic movie. In fact, the erotic scenes are usually more subtle and simulated than graphic and are designed to appeal to our sense of taste rather than our sense of titillation.

Unlike a sex comedy, erotic films are usually rated R and are not shown in theaters or on cable TV channels that are devoted to porn. This distinction makes them more accessible and more mainstream than a sex comedy that is PG-13 or below.

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3. Lighting

In erotic thrillers, light can be seductive. A lot of these movies start in soft, romantic light and then shift to a darker tone as the femme fatale starts to reveal her true nature. Film noir master Adrian Lyne perfected close-ups in erotic scenes, exaggerating the lips and neck (a dangerous part of the body to play) to create the right feeling of sexual anticipation.

A lot of the sex in erotic thrillers is rough with BDSM elements. There is often a lot of choking, biting, ripping off clothes and scratching. For example, in Disclosure, Demi Moore scratches Michael Douglas’s chest, which is the same kind of damage a tiger would make.

Erotic thrillers also tend to have a bit of nudity. This is more subtle and simulated than in sex comedy or pornography, but it still draws attention to the bodies of the main characters.

The climax of many erotic thrillers happens in a bathroom. If it doesn’t happen in a shower, there will be a bathtub. If it doesn’t happen in sex, there will be some sort of violent confrontation that ends in death or deception. There are also a lot of costumes in erotic thrillers, particularly those worn by the femmes fatales. They are a mix of bright fabrics and dark colors, usually red or black.

4. The Homme Fatale

While the femme fatale has become a defining figure in film noir, her male incarnation is often ignored. But a male homme fatale, or “man-killer,” is no less dangerous than her feminine counterpart. Like a femme fatale, he is an embodiment of latent male anxieties about the shifting power dynamics in patriarchal culture. A homme fatale operates within this cultural paradigm, using his sexuality and libido to manipulate others. He is often characterized by his manipulative charm, subtle psychopathy, and complete lack of empathy.

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The homme fatale is a popular character in erotic thrillers and crime films, such as North by Northwest, Baby Doll, and Double Indemnity. He is a seductive figure who seduces his victims before brutally killing them. He combines his machismo with a hint of sexiness to make himself more attractive to his victims, who are usually women. He is often portrayed as a man of many faces, allowing him to keep his shady business activities secret while still resembling a virile Casanova.

Some examples of homme fatales include Joseph Cotton in Shadow of a Doubt, Zachary Scott in Mildred Pierce, and Fred MacMurray in Cast A Dark Shadow. Pedro Almodovar also has a great example of a homme fatale in Suddenly, Last Summer, where Gael Garcia Bernal plays a complex character who is constantly shifting between his real identity as a gay man and his alter ego as a male prostitute.

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