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Silk Teddies & Serrated Knives: Revisiting The 1990s Heyday Of The Erotic Thriller

By Yasmina Tawil

By Noel Murray

Recently, while flipping through my cable guide, I came across Fatal Instinct, an Armand Assante/Sean Young/Sherilyn Fenn vehicle from 1993—perhaps the last year in which the phrase “an Armand Assante/Sean Young/Sherilyn Fenn vehicle” wouldn’t sound patently absurd. Unable to recall which of the many 1990s erotic thrillers Fatal Instinct actually was, I tuned in, and quickly realized that it’s a Carl Reiner-directed parody of those movies. There’s even a scene where Young’s character flashes her crotch at the hero—just like Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct—and he reaches into a drawer in his desk to toss her one of the many pairs of panties that he keeps in a pop-up Kleenex box.

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