Seeing Cinema in a New Light: Criticism, Essays and Observations about Classic Cinema

1980s Movies, Classic Movies, Editorials, Erotica, Film Criticism and Analysis, Psychological Thriller, Rants, Reagan Era America, Sexploitation

Fatal Attraction (1987) is a Vile Movie. Let’s Pretend it Never Happened.

Kitchen knife scene from Fatal Attraction

Kitchen knife scene from Fatal Attraction

I didn’t see Fatal Attraction (1987) when it first came out, but I remember how huge it was. It was a huge cultural sensation, one of the biggest movie events of the year. Not only were people talking about it like crazy, many scenes became iconic, and it even spawned a new catch-phrase: “bunny boiler.”

But not everyone was pleased with the film. It spawned a lot of controversy, thanks to a rewrite that should’ve never happened. Originally, the movie had a completely different tone and ended much differently. Alex Forrest was supposed to have killed herself to a recording of Madame Butterfly; then, in an ironic twist, Dan Gallagher was to have been accused of murdering her. When the movie was screened, Reagan era American audiences reportedly hated it. Unable to handle a mature, nuanced look at how messy affairs can be, audiences asked for cheap simplistic sex-drenched thriller and cheesy “morality tale” with some good old-fashioned misogyny thrown in for good measure. So, the film had to be rewritten.

The studio did the right thing by getting the movie reshot with a different ending. But it depends on what you mean by “the right thing.” Financially, Fatal Attraction 2.0 became a blockbuster hit. But it also become a nasty, disgusting piece of work, a socially irresponsible movie and a shocking indictment of 1980s Reagan era America. Below, I’m going to try to break down why this “new and improved” version of Fatal Attraction was so problematic, why detractors were justified in shredding the movie to pieces and why some people still have issues with it to this day.


  1. Dalevna Shevchuk

    AMAZING. This article made me feel like I just had twenty years of therapy. MASTERPIECE.

  2. Ah, but I liked Fatal Attraction. I thought it was a pretty good movie, but a little bit dated. I can’t understand why you hate it so much.

    • Comment by post author

      This entire entry explains why I hate the movie, in blow-by-blow detail. Why bother posting a comment in confusion about why I hate the movie if you weren’t going to bother reading the reasons that I posted?

  3. Born in the 80s

    I appreciate the depth you went into in this editorial. Laying down the sub context of Reagan Era late 80s America, was really helpful in trying to understand this film’s appeal for its’ time. And really just to understand America at that time, as well as a throughline to now..(reverberations of Reagan era conservatism currently playing out).

  4. M Mallory

    Brilliant analysis AND understanding…thank you for the insight. As we can see today, our politics, media and culture took a cue from this type of manipulation and are pandering to our lowest vibrational selves, our shadows, our traumas, etc. Today’s media is all about pointing fingers and extremist views and hardly anyone walks away with a better understanding of themselves or feeling any better. It leaves everyone upset and discontent. That’s where the money is made…..we are all being exploited emotionally and at a soul level.

  5. Kev

    Yes, he was a lecherous scumbag. And she was a tart who knew what she was getting herself into. No sympathy for either of them.

  6. Ernest

    Women who choose to be single parents are simply selfish and have zero regard for what children need. How dare they deny their children fathers. It’s every child’s birthright to know who their parents and the opportunity to have them be a part of their lives. Even if you disagree with my comment, use common sense (religious and societal beliefs aside) and listen to laws of nature. If humans were meant to procreate without the opposite sex involved, we’d be able to.

    • Comment by post author

      It’s really ironic that you posted this comment, because I’m currently trying to work on a follow up entry to Fatal Attraction that addresses what you’re talking about.

      No sane, clear-thinking woman ever willingly chose to become a single mom. However, some were brainwashed into that belief when Hugh Hefner and other fake male allies of Women’s Liberation started hijacking Feminism in the 1960s. After women fought for the right for abortion, Hugh Hefner and other men like that in the entertainment industry invented this lie that just as it was feminist to get an abortion, it was feminist to raise the child on your own without a man’s help. One thing led to another, and some women actually dealt with their unwanted pregnancies by believing that they were being independent and strong by taking the man out of the equation.

      For example, there’s an episode of Three’s Company where Chrissy has a friend who had an accidental pregnancy. The friend decides to “hold her head up high” and not ask the man for any help. The character was presented as a headstrong Feminist, but this was Hollywood brainwashing, plain and simple. That episode was written by men, as were so many other characters that were based on this archetype.

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