Body of Influence Release Date: 1993 Genre: Thriller Director(s): Gregory Hippolyte (aka Gregory Dark) Writer(s): David P. Schreiber Starring: Shannon Whirry, Richard Roundtree, Sandahl Bergman Gregory Dark has had quite the storied career. Like many of the late-20th century’s great directors (Wes Craven for one), Dark got his start directing porn. His movies, which included […]

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Body of Influence
Release Date: 1993
Genre: Thriller
Director(s): Gregory Hippolyte (aka Gregory Dark)
Writer(s): David P. Schreiber
Starring: Shannon Whirry, Richard Roundtree, Sandahl Bergman

Gregory Dark has had quite the storied career. Like many of the late-20th century’s great directors (Wes Craven for one), Dark got his start directing porn. His movies, which included New Wave Hookers and The Devil in Miss Jones 3 and 4, were apparently some of the most revered of the 80s. Soon enough, with the erotic thriller becoming more and more popular, Dark made the crossover to less explicit material. He still wet his whistle in adult films every so often. While sometimes misguided, Dark’s erotic thrillers had an artistic edge to them that usually catapulted them past the usual shelf fillers. He made his last movie in 1997, at which point he began to direct music videos for artists like Xzibit, Mandy Moore and Britney Spears. Then, in 2005, more than twenty years after making his first adult film, Dark was hired to direct WWE Films’ See No Evil. Chances are he was hired after everyone else in town had laughed in their faces, but regardless, I’ve gotta admit that it was nice to see a veteran of the direct-to-video world direct a film that netted a $12 million box office.

As one would expect, Lionsgate didn’t screen See No Evil for critics. If you check out the reviews available online, most will no doubt make mention of Dark’s past career in adult films. And of course, they’re going to make mention of his 1994 porn Hootermania. With one mention of that movie, they essentially write Dark off as being no better than the thousands of rejects in the San Fernando Valley. From just seeing a few of his erotic thrillers, it’s clear to me that he’s much, much, much more than that. He’ll never be confused for Spielberg, but the fact that critics didn’t do an ounce of research on his career is irritating. They simply decided that a glance at his IMDb page was enough to warrant putting the guy down.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to Dark’s utterly confusing, but still packed full of bare breasts and bright red lips, Body of Influence.

Dr. Jonathan Brooks is a psychiatrist with a clientele that is somehow comprised entirely of hot women who want to ride him. He’s a conservative man, though, so he always denies their advances. One day a woman by the name of Laura (Whirry) walks in for her first appointment and tells the tale him about a disturbing dream she had. In this dream she was whoring herself out and loving every second of it. This is the complete opposite of how she sees her true self. Pretty soon Brooks is tied around Laura’s sexy finger, and if that’s not enough, he also has the sexual advances of needful housewife Clarissa (Bergman) to contend with. Laura’s second personality, Lana, causes some problems too. There is a subplot about a serial killer who is taking out submissives that has no reason to exist, but it does allow for a scene where Richard Roundtree visits a whorehouse, so all is well as a result.

Body of Influence is, shockingly enough, a retooling of Madonna’s Body of Evidence. Gregory Dark, under his erotic thriller name Gregory Hippolyte, guides this along in his own unique way. In short, he ups the kink factor whenever possible. This at least makes the film a lot different than its counterparts, and occasionally even a tad bit erotic. When the film’s not being sexy it’s often intentionally and unintentionally funny, and both are fine with me.

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