A guilty pleasure since my days as a TV news intern, The Seduction is a classic B-movie stalker film shot before “stalker” became a common term for celebrities being terrorized by fans. Morgan Fairchild is stunningly beautiful in this film as Jamie Douglas, a Los Angeles TV news anchorwoman who has it all – success, money, a house in the hills, a doting personal assistant, a lame boyfriend, and a pretty-boy portrait photographer Derek, (Andrew Stevens) who’s monitoring her every move with his camera. The arrival of flowers and some lame phone calls starts Jamie on her trek of terror. Fortunately, she has the outrageous Colleen Camp as a next-door-neighbor she can run to in times of despair. Colleen steals the film in every scene she’s in, which is far too few. Derek has a convenient knack for getting access to any place he chooses, including the newsroom where Jamie works. In one scene, he actually sneaks into the newsroom, grabs a typewriter and re-writes Jamie’s lead story for that night’s newscast. He then heads to the studio where he hands the no-questions-asked teleprompter operator his rewrite. The open rolls, the prompter scrolls and Jamie screams:
How Derek can be in the studio watching this all go down with no one questioning who the hell he is – is another story. Jamie’s on-air meltdown causes her boyfriend to spring into action to protect her. Why Jamie sticks with Michael Sarrazin until he’s stuck by Derek is beyond me. I’m a huge fan of Sarrazin, but in this film, he pretty much sleeps walks his way through the script until his fateful farewell in Jamie’s hot tub. Oops. Did I give too much away?
You already know how this story is going to turn out. But getting there is painfully fun – with bogus scares and tortured scenes of faux terror when Derek forces Jamie into an impromptu photo session in her own living room. The police chief can’t do jack but recommends a gun. The finale is as impotent as Derek is on Jamie’s bed, but fortunately Jamie’s not shooting blanks as she brings the movie home.
Beautifully restored and released on Blu-Ray with a directors’ track featuring David Schmoeller, The Seduction received mainly negative reviews when released in 1982. It resulted in three Razzie nominations, including two for Fairchild. But not everyone panned her performance. Oscar-winner Bette Davis was a fan of the film after watching it on cable TV and sent Fairchild a note praising her work. This film’s blissful opening scenes of Jamie in the pool are beautifully shot and feature a haunting tune from Dionne Warwick singing Love’s Hiding Place, a song never released with Warwick’s discography. You won’t be seduced by The Seduction, but it’s well worth a watch on someone’s YouTube upload.