10 December 2012 6:34 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

There are many interesting aspects of this film from 1990, not least its intertextual connections, like Rob Lowe's 1988 sex tape scandal, Soderbergh's sex, lies & videotape, and Godard's Alphaville. But there was a moment in Bad Influence that struck me for its cogent illustration of particular historical developments of genre.

The scene above comes at a point in which James Spader's character Michael (wearing a rabbit mask) has just experienced catharsis from his straitlaced world, courtesy of the actions of Alex (Rob Lowe). The pair exhibit two different experiences of violent, antisocial, or criminal behavior, which also correspond to two different modes for genre. One of these is a kind of playfulness or liberation: the newly-emancipated Spader wears a goofy mask, hopping around in the background while Alex unexpectedly, and cruelly, robs the burger joint. This moment is the tipping point where Alex's bad behavior rockets from being seductive to terrifyingly destructive. »

- Zach Campbell

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