“Fascination”

I’m sure by now most every college student in America has seen Mystery Science Theater 3000. You know, that show where the janitor and two robots are forced to watch the worst movies ever made from an orbiting satellite. If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest holding off a little longer. Once it ends it’s theatrical run, “Fascination” might make for the greatest episode in MST3K history.

The film begins with the mysterious death of Patrick Doherty, a wealthy former Olympian, while taking his daily swim off the coast of Florida. His son Scott (Adam Garcia, “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen”) returns home to help his mother Maureen (Jacqueline Bisset, “Wild Orchid”) through the grieving process. Scott is surprised, however, when just four weeks later his mother announces her engagement to a shadowy stranger named Oliver Vance (Stuart Wilson, “Lethal Weapon 3”). Suspicious of this new gentlemen caller, Scott begins to do some investigating with the help of Vance’s sultry daughter Kelly (Alice Evans, 102 Dalmatians). But when Scott uncovers disturbing information about his own family, he begins to realize that those whom he loves the most may be the ones he can trust the least.

Yes, it’s as convoluted and contrived as it sounds. Without fear of exaggeration, this film is essentially Cinemax porn without the nudity (well, almost). Characters break into coitus with almost no explanation, yet often remain fully clothed. The characters, while sometimes reacting naturally to different situations, all exist as though they’ve been through murder mysteries before.

Filmed in Puerto Rico, the audience is given hints of the natural beauty for which the locale is famous. However, it seems as though the director is able to minimize even that positive attribute, flooding the frame with only the actors heads and writhing bodies, while the apparently breathtaking backgrounds go to waste. To top it all off, the film’s score is again something out of premium channel soft-core, with lyrics that essentially summarize the scene over which it blares. In the end, the only victim in “Fascination” is the audience.

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