Basic Instinct

Let’s get physical.

Olivia Newton-John’s musical plea could provide the background music to this steamy, still-notorious 1992 crime thriller.

Back then, the film took considerable heat from gay rights activists, with many a skeazy story written about Sharon Stone’s shifting thighs — and what lay between them.

Three decades later, the tale of obsessive cop Michael Douglas chasing a writer fond of playing games (and maybe knifing dudes) is still problematic, and still holds up pretty well as an intriguing descent into a murky playground of death ‘n sex.

It’s a period piece, maybe, but one which still has a nasty kick.

Kalifornia

The danger is sitting next to you.

David Duchovny portrays an aspiring true-crime writer obsessed with serial killers, who convinces his photographer girlfriend (Michelle Forbes) to take a cross-country tour of famous murder sites.

Picking up two new, highly-suspect, passengers, they encounter a version of Brad Pitt who should set off every alarm in sight. I mean, come on!

Anyway, things get dark fast as stark reality intrudes on fantasy, forcing the city slickers to realize that yes, the country folk do probably want to kill you.

A launching pad for a lot of careers, it remains thoroughly chilling.

 

The Plagues of Breslau

Hidden gold.

I went into this serial killer thriller knowing one thing — it was foreign — but even then didn’t have a clue what language would be pouring out of the TV.

Turns out it’s from Poland, and stars the bristling Małgorzata Kożuchowska, who reminds me a lot of Cate Blanchett.

Here, she’s a deeply-grieving cop whose life is upended by a series of bizarre murders, all tied to local history, and all with the departed being major a-holes.

The twists and turns are frequent, the atmosphere is grim times 100, and Kożuchowska is first-rate.

This one stings, in a good way.

Sea of Love

Is that a murder weapon in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?

Returning after a four-year absence from movies, Al Pacino gets back in the flow of things as a fast-talking, angina-causing NYC cop hot on the trail of a killer.

The slayings all seem to lead back to Ellen Barkin, exuding maximum sultry heat as a woman fond of answering lonely hearts ads in the local tabloids.

A combustible duo under any circumstances, they dance a naughty tango, while Pacino remains ever-aware he could be the next victim.

No worries, he brought protection — a .38 snubnose.

The Howling

Danger comes in many forms.

Narrowly escaping a serial killer’s grasp, a TV newswoman is sent to commune with nature and heal her fractured psyche at a cushy remote resort.

A fluffy robe, some Mai-Tai’s maybe, and then … werewolves?

Way to harsh her vibe, man.

Forced to fight for survival among a pack of bloodthirsty wolf/human hybrids, Dee Wallace Stone lives up to her rep as a “scream queen” capable of packing her own punch.

The script, by film god John Sayles, adroitly mixes humor with horror, allowing director Joe Dante a chance to craft one of the genre’s best.