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Bad Influence (1990)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  9 March 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 5,219 users  
Reviews: 50 user | 24 critic

Michael, a wimpy young executive, is about to get pulverized by a jealous boyfriend in a bar when a handsome, mysterious stranger steps in--and then disappears. Later that night, while ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruth Fielding
Rosalyn Landor ...
Tony Maggio ...
Palmer Lee Todd ...
Naked Woman
Sunny Smith ...
Susan Lee Hoffman ...
Karen, Woman in Bar
Willie, Man in Bar
Pismo Boll
Charisse Glenn ...
Stylish Eurasian Woman
Jay Della ...
Chez Jay Bartender
Inger Lorre ...
Band Member


Michael, a wimpy young executive, is about to get pulverized by a jealous boyfriend in a bar when a handsome, mysterious stranger steps in--and then disappears. Later that night, while jogging, Michael runs into the stranger on a pier. He introduces himself as Alex, and the two go out to an under- ground club. Within a matter of days, Alex wheedles his way into Michael's life and turns it upside down, and Michael doesn't realize that Alex is a dangerous sociopath until it's too late. Written by Denise P. Meyer <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 March 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cattive compagnie  »

Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)


$12,626,043 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rob Lowe researched his part by watching hours of footage of serial killer Ted Bundy. See more »


Lowe wore a glove on one hand to smear blood on the wall of Michael's apartment. In the following scene, the glove switched hands. See more »


Alex: I never made you do anything that wasn't in you already. People are such hypocrites. They go through their whole lives to the day they die saying that they're innocent, but they're not innocent. I showed you that! That's why I killed Claire, Mick.
Michael: My name is Michael.
Michael: Did you get that?
Pismo Boll: [pops up with a camera] Every word
[suddenly slips]
See more »


References Psycho (1960) See more »


Written by Don Charry and Nana Vasconcelos
Performed by Nana Vasconcelos and The Bushdancers
Produced by Gragg Lunsford and The Bushdancers
Courtesy of Antilles/New Directions, An Island Records Company
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

In bad company.
7 August 2008 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

Some people have got that influential touch that can bring any one out of their comfort zone. There are risk takers and those you play it safe. It's matter of personal choice. The clinically dark yuppie thriller 'Bad Influence' takes on a psychological power play between an enigmatically bold drifter (a tremendously venomous Rob Lowe) and a pinned-down marketing analyst (suitably acted by James Spader). Watch how the relationship grows and slowly treads dangerous ground, as the dream of being confident and striving to overcome one's fears is manipulated into a tormented nightmare of aggression and punishment for simple, ungraspable fulfilment for one's own gain. It's a game on someone's life and Lowe's icy portrayal of the controlling puppeteer works effectively. Sure the fundamental storyline isn't anything new (an old formula ala noir going contemporary) and some plot avenues seem a little too glossed over and hard to fathom, but Curtis Hanson's daringly sharp and tight direction cements intense empowerment and morbid curiosity in certain visual suspense. Using an almost voyeuristic approach he draws upon unearthing the violence, drug habit and sleaze trying to hide behind a materialistic obsessive society. Fascinatingly slick and stylish, and the cruise-like pace moves along well enough. The soundtrack has that steamy, on edge kick that doesn't show its age. Also for one in this time period, it's strangely underplayed and kept in the background. The support cast play trumps to Lowe and Spader, but Lisa Zane titillates in her all too short of a role. Fashionably entertaining psycho-thriller.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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