WILD CACTUS

1

Lately I’ve been browsing through my old VHS tapes (I’ve got a LOT) and watching films and TV shows that I recorded years ago. I stopped upon this one tonight, and I’d forgotten how much I’d liked this film (obviously, that’s why I recorded it in the first place). Directed by Jag Mundhra, who also co-wrote it along with Carl Austin, this 1993 ilm stars India Allen, Playboy’s 1988 Playmate of The Year as Alex (Alexandria), a somewhat sexually frustrated housewife, married to Phillip (played by David Naughton), who is involved in some kind of planet research or something (it’s not that clear). They drive out to a remote home in the Arizona desert for 6 weeks, so Phillip can work on his research. Alex also hopes to use this private time to reconnect with her husband.

Around the same time, a man named Randall (Gary Hudson) is being released from prison after 6 months, for assaulting his ex-girlfriend Celeste. When he’s released, he goes to see Celeste’s roommate Inga (Anna Karin), who informs him that Celeste moved away to Arizona, so Randall steals Inga’s car (after having sex with her and then handcuffing her to her bed) to go after Celeste. Along the way, Randall stops to pick up a hitchhiker, a woman named Maggie (Michelle Moffett). After she pulls a gun on him, they have sex on the hood of his car, and Maggie decides to go along with him. The rob a gas station together, right when Alex and Phillip happen to stop by, so Randall quickly pretends to be a cashier (after locking the real one up in the back) until they leave. And Randall and Maggie find Celeste, who is living in a trailer. Randall holds Celeste at gunpoint, while forcing her to have sex with Maggie, and then afterwards he has Maggie shoot her.

The two couples cross paths again one night, in a local bar/strip club. Some guy tries to pick a fight with Phillip, and Randall comes to his defense. In gratitude, the two couples talk & drink together, and when Phillip tells them about his research, Randall claims to know of a place to find some special plants that Phillip is looking for, so they arrange to meet the next day. So the next morning, Randall and Maggie come over to the house Phillip and Alex are staying at, Randall and Phillip drive off, leaving Maggie with Alex. But Randall just takes Phillip out to the middle of nowhere, beats him and leaves him for dead, then returns to the house, where he and Maggie hold Alex captive.

The rest of the film is a suspenseful story of cat and mouse, and deadly mind games. Alex desperately tries to get away from the murderous duo, and turn them against each other so she can get an advantage. She even, reluctantly, gives into their seductions, having sex with each one separately. Meanwhile, in addition to a local Sherriff who is searching the town for Randall and Maggie, Phillip has survived, and is on his way back to rescue his wife. All I’ll say more of the plot is that not everyone makes it out of this film alive.

This film has adult themes, particularly when it comes to sex. Karin, Allen, and Moffett all get nude (while Shower is shown in her underwear) and another unnamed woman is topless as one of the strippers in the bar. India in particular sizzles up the screen in her two sex scenes with Naughton, which occasionally border on “softcore” territory. One as they have sex in a hotel that they stop in on their way to Arizona, and another as they get to the house in Arizona and have sex in the kitchen, with India pouring syrup over her nude body. Her scenes with Moffet and Hudson are more restrained, she gets naked on a bed with Moffett, who takes her top off, and then they kiss but the camera cuts away. Her sex scene with Hudson is short, and not meant to be erotic, as she is just faking it to try to gain his trust. That scene helps show that India is more than just a pretty face, and can actually act, as we can see from her expression that she really doesn’t want to be doing this, but feels she has no other option. And speaking of Gary Hudson, he is the perfect bad guy in the film. As Randall, he is slimy, sleazy, but also venomous when he needs to be, acting threatening, without going over the top.

There’s also a lot of implied violence, but not a lot of blood or anything. Director Mundhra (R.I.P.) manages to set the mood just right throughout the film, going from dramatic, to erotica, to dark and suspenseful atjust the right moments.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE

Unfortunately, I don’t believe this film has been released on DVD, so all that’s available are expensive VHS tapes.

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