California Dreaming – Rediscovering ‘Double Exposure’ (US 1983 – 95 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - March 09, 2015
California Dreaming – Rediscovering ‘Double Exposure’ (US 1983 – 95 mins)

A grimy little exploitation piece with respectable actors, ‘Double Exposure’ is a pretty good erotic thriller that doesn’t skimp on the red stuff. Also, the story itself couldn’t be simpler.

A serial killer is gruesomely butchering women in and around Los Angeles. After experiencing dreams where his models are murdered, freelance photographer Adrian Wilde (Michael Callan) finds himself the chief suspect when a number of the victims turn out to be his models.

‘Double Exposure’ is fairly well shot and moves along briskly enough to hold your interest. The misogyny and slasher elements were never going to win it critical acclaim, but with the talent involved, I think it helps elevate the movie above others of the genre.

Michael Callan (who also produced) goes all out here in the role of Adrian, chewing the scene as he talks to himself while sweating profusely. Callan had also played a character called Adrian Wilde in the similar 1974 flick ‘The Photographer’, which was also made by this movie’s director; William Byron Hillman. A one-time actor, Hillman would later make the family comedies ‘The Adventures of Ragtime’ (’98), and ‘Daddy Dog Day’ (2003). As Adrian’s stuntman brother BJ, James Stacy was ideal, seeing as both he and Callan look quite similar. The hard drinking BJ is another possible suspect, as he seems to have a problem relating to women. Actor Stacy was involved in a motorcycle accident in 1973 where he lost his left arm and leg, and here he uses his impairment convincingly in playing his wounded character. Joanna Pettet plays Callan’s attractive love interest and the couple have good chemistry, which is evident in a rather sensual love-making scene. Pamela Hensley plays a tough cop and Cleavon Little is solid though underused as her boss.Seymour Cassel also pops up as Callan’s shrink, while various glamour roles are provided by Misty Rowe, Kathy Shower and Victoria Jackson. Forties starlet Terry Moore can also be glimpsed in one brief scene.

Memorable moments include Sally Kirkland’s streetwalker meeting a grisly end in an alleyway, while another has the killer putting a rattlesnake into a bag, before placing it over his struggling victims head. Outside of the nasty moments, the movie itself is nicely shot with some attractive Californian landscapes; most notably the various beach scenes.

A gripping and grubby slice of 80’s exploitation; ‘Double Exposure’ is an entertaining and competently acted slasher that keeps you entertained throughout, even if the killer is fairly easy to guess.

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