aka The Turn-on
Directors: Jean-Louis Richard, Steve Barnett
Stars: Florence Guérin, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Bernie Kuby
What if you had a remote control that could turn any woman into a shameless nympho at the turn of a dial? That is the central conceit of Le Declic, a film based on the erotic comic by highly regarded Italian illustrator Milo Manara.
Set in New Orleans, we meet a yuppie type who calls himself Dr. Fez (Jean-Pierre Kalfon). He hates his boss, but sticks around because he has a thing for the Boss' hot young wife, Claudia, even though she clearly can't stand him.
Claudia (softcore Eurosleaze starlet, Florence Guerin) is uptight and frigid, believing that sex is for animals. Fez, on the other hand is convinced that everyone has a bit of the animal inside, even her.
Of course Fez thinks he has a better use for that technology, so he steals it. The technical details of his method are obviously too advanced to explain to the lay-person, but it involves splicing together poly-rhythmic sex grunts into a hypnotic brand of dance music. Once recorded onto cassette tape (this is the '80s) he surreptitiously switches it into Claudia's walkman (yep still the '80s).
Upon listening to the tape she quickly falls unconscious, allowing Fez to briefly abduct her and implant a receiver capable of activating hypnotic arousal commands via remote control. What's really impressive, from a scientific perspective, is that the modified handheld radio controller (special price, $8.95) has a dial allowing fine-grained control of the arousal level, along with a bunch of snazzy flashing lights to boot. All in all, a pretty awesome piece of kit for 1985.
The device, once activated, causes Claudia to masturbate in a changing room, suck off the salesman, and proceed to fuck whoever is on hand. Fez runs the gamut in his opportunistic exploitation of the young woman, but it really makes you wonder. It's all quite voyeuristic and mean-spirited, what's wrong with him? Surely he'd rather employ the device to his own benefit. Of course ... but first she must be brought down off her high-horse, until she no longer feels she is better than him.
Only then can Fez make his move.
Let me be honest, the movie is not exactly saturated with quality in any of it's core components. There are brief strokes of visual aestheticism, but given the artistry of the source material, I would've expected much more. The acting is average, the story unfeasible. It tries to be part comedy, part thriller, failing at both.
The saving grace for a flick of this type is the debauchery and eroticism. Compared to the original comic, the debauchery has been toned down considerably for this theatrical presentation. But understandably so - I can't imagine many actresses outside of the Porn industry would consent to committing some of the original's deviant acts on camera ...
So it's a saucy concept to be sure, but at the end of the day the film's debauchery is too cartoonish (ironic given the comic is less so) to seriously compete with a myriad of superior Euro-sleaze contenders.
What will ensure this film continues to garner fans, however, is Florence Guerin who looks fantastic naked - and is by turns sweet, classy, and diabolically sexy. It's a rare breed of actress (especially these days) who has what it takes to bare all in erotic roles without crossing the line into base slapperdom. It's her presence here that makes the film worth the time of any self-respecting sleaze-hound.
And to that end, the pictures tell it better than I.
A unique concept with a great lead actress, but average realisation.
PS: If you're at all curious about well illustrated adult-themed comics, do check out Milo Manara's original works.
I'll leave the last words to Claudia and her husband ...