wednesday night movie club

How to Watch Basic Instinct With Your Significant Other

Let a whodunnit lead to a whoisdoingit. (You are.) Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by TriStar Pictures

Every two weeks for the foreseeable future, Vulture will be selecting a film to watch with our readers as part of our Wednesday Night Movie Club. This week’s selection — chosen to coincide with our weeklong celebration of erotic thrillers — comes from writers Dave Schilling and Halle Kiefer, who will begin their screening of Basic Instinct on April 6 at 7 p.m. ET. Head to Vulture’s Twitter to catch the live commentary.

The most potent aphrodisiac in cinema is the erotic thriller. What other mainstream film genre revolves almost completely around two actors fruitlessly rubbing their crotches against each other before an awkwardly timed fade-out? It’s the almost-porn that ushered thousands (millions?) of us into adulthood. But erotic thrillers don’t have to be a solo activity of our youth. Let these horny films be the match that lights your shared adult bed aflame too.

This week, we will be watching Paul Verhoeven’s steamy Hitchcockian masterpiece, Basic Instinct. The film features perhaps the greatest single performance in erotic-thriller history: Sharon Stone as novelist and infamous exhibitionist Catherine Trammell. The movie is sexy even when everyone’s clothed. But before we lose ourselves in filthy cat-and-mouse psychological games, here is a guide to watching erotic thrillers with your significant other, written by actual significant others. This is our foolproof plan to turn movie night into … moaning night. Sorry, that was the best pun we could come up with.

Step 1: Make sure your choice of erotic thriller has a little something for everybody.

Erotic thrillers are about gorgeous women and demented men. It’s tough to get turned on if one of the film’s two leads doesn’t flip the sexual switch for a couple. And usually, it’s the man who’s divisive. For example, not everyone finds Michael Douglas sexy in Basic Instinct and for good reason. He’s a stalker-misogynist-abuser-narcissist, and he appears consistently damp. Seriously, neither of us have ever seen someone that greasy in San Francisco. Nick Curran is the real villain, and any pain he suffers through the story is well deserved. But Basic Instinct has Stone’s Catherine, so we persist.

Another notable film in the genre is Body of Evidence, which features Madonna pouring hot candle wax on a grimacing Willem Dafoe. No shade toward those who like a bit of wax in their lovemaking, but we can’t help but think about the clean-up afterward. Chores are not sexy! What makes this movie truly tricky, however, is Willem Dafoe, whom Halle has often described as “a crazed lizard man.” He’s one of our greatest living actors, but if your aim is to copulate after watching an erotic thriller, you are taking a risk bringing Willem into your bedroom.

Have a conversation with your partner about who they find sexy, but more importantly who they don’t find sexy. This will ensure you’re both on the same page. And when in doubt? There’s always Sliver.

2. Break out the ice pick.

Whether it’s a gin martini, a Jack-and-Coke, or just a delicious Coca-Cola, treat your lover to a beverage of their choice. It’s always best to lubricate the pipes during an erotic thriller. Just don’t literally break out an ice pick. First of all, who still owns an ice pick in the futuristic age of the ice tray? Second, if things escalate in the bedroom, you don’t want anyone getting carried away.

3. Whodunnit leads to Whosdoingit. (You are.)

Owing to her duties as the co-host of the horror-movie podcast Ruined, Halle loves talking during movies, explaining what is happening and predicting what is going to happen. You might think that all the chatter is going to stifle the mood, but it can actually enhance the electricity.

Basic Instinct is a knotty thriller with numerous misdirections. We won’t spoil them in case you’re joining us on Wednesday and it’ll be your first time watching. Just know that your idea of who or what constitutes a killer might change numerous times before the credits roll. Don’t be shy about turning movie night into a couples’ guessing game. It’ll bring you together, give you a sense of accomplishment if you get it right, and stimulate your brain (the sexiest organ of them all). Just don’t forget you’re a team. A horny team.

4. Know When to Call It Quits

We are the Lord and Lady of shutting a movie off 50 minutes in. Usually it’s because we’re incredibly tired and Halle starts snoring on the couch. But sometimes it’s because the film has done its job and inspired us to “get busy.” The point of watching simulated sex acts onscreen should be to do the real thing! Dave’s personal favorite moment in Basic Instinct is the show-stopping sex scene after Nick chases after Catherine like a little puppy dog at the nightclub. Totally fine to turn the movie off right then and there, take your leave for 20 minutes, and then pick up where you left off. Trust us, you’ll want to know how this one ends.

Basic Instinct is available to stream on HBO Max, Hulu, the Roku Channel, and Prime Video, and to rent on iTunes, Vudu, YouTube, and Google Play.

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How to Watch Basic Instinct With Your Significant Other