film and literary sub-genre
Erotic thriller is a film subgenre defined as a thriller with a thematic basis in illicit romance or erotic fantasy. Most erotic thrillers contain scenes of softcore sex and nudity, but the frequency and explicitness of those scenes varies.Though similar films appeared as early as the 1960s, erotic thrillers emerged as a distinct genre in the late 1980s, bolstered by the popular success of Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction in 1987 and a quickly expanding domestic and international market for softcore adult entertainment on cable television and home video. The genre had a classic period of growth and expansion in the 1990s, highlighted by the success of Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct, but by the early 2000s declined in production and popular appeal.The potent combination of danger and romance, catering to both male and female audiences simultaneously, was the primary selling point for erotic thriller films during their classic period. The half-naked bodies displayed on posters, newspaper ads, and video box covers were accompanied by log lines that capture the unmistakable duality of the erotic thriller film:
If you think you can handle her, you're dead wrong. —Body Chemistry 3: Point of Seduction
He was hired to watch. Now he's tempted to touch. —Night Eyes
Twin sisters cross the line into a deadly erotic fantasy land. —Mirror Images
In all, over 300 erotic thriller films were produced in the 1990s, which is comparable to the number of thriller films made in the noir decade of the 1940s. The total number of films in the erotic thriller genre from 1985 to 2005 may number as high as over 500. Like film noir, the genre has evolved and modernized, and new films continue to be made that are influenced by the classic style.
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