Monday, March 28, 2016

Only now does it occur to me... BUSINESS IS BUSINESS

Only now does it occur to me... that Paul Verhoeven invented a "SUSPIRIA fetish" six years before SUSPIRIA came out!  

Allow me to explain that barely coherent idea in further detail: BUSINESS IS BUSINESS is Verhoeven's 1971 feature-length debut, a film about the life and times of an Amsterdam prostitute.  Like most of his Dutch output, it's well made, thematically daring, and features crisp cinematography by Jan de Bont (who went on to direct SPEED, SPEED 2, and TWISTER).  It's very "slice of life" in its construction, and we follow our heroine as she encounters a number of bizarre fetishists, from "cluck like a chicken man" to "loves to do housework in a baby bonnet guy," and so on.  However, the fetishist who is the subject of this post prefers to cower beneath the bedcovers while bathed in green and red light 
as our heroine, dressed in a rubber witch mask, menaces him accordingly.
Between the lighting and content, the whole thing easily looks like it could be an outtake from SUSPIRIA (or its sequel, INFERNO, which actually uses rubber masks of this caliber).  Therefore, I think I'm within my rights to call it "a preemptive SUSPIRIA fetish."

Being as SUSPIRIA had not yet been released, however, it's more likely Verhoeven's inspirations were either the films of Mario Bava or the color sequences from Eisenstein's IVAN THE TERRIBLE.


Jack Thursby said...

Gah ,this just reminds me that I have Verhoeven's entire Dutch back catalogue sitting on my DVD shelves. I really need to break them out of the wrappers. Only touched Spetters so far and loved it.

Sean Gill said...


Very nice––there are some gems in there. I still haven't seen TURKISH DELIGHT or KATIE TIPPEL, but am very, very big on SPETTERS, THE 4TH MAN, and SOLDIER OF ORANGE. And of course BLACK BOOK, though that's from the other end of the tunnel.

Erich Kuersten said...

I can't believe it's taken me so long to find you... if indeed I have. I wish all these Verhoeven Dutch treats were around on easily findable R1 DVDs, until then I'll always be wondering... at any rate, I'm digging your deadpan mix of dry as hell wit and arty introspection on Cannon's dirty output of BloodSPORT movies. j'adore!