Maria Ford delivers the sleazy goods in SHOWGIRL MURDERS, an above-average, soft-core THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1981)/DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) ripoff from Roger Corman's direct-to-video exploitation factory.
A sultry blonde named Jessica (Maria Ford) gets a job as a cocktail waitress at a rundown bar owned by Mitch (Matt Preston), and his wife Carolyn (D.S. Case), who has turned into a drunk to assuage her guilt over having killed a little boy in a car accident. Jessica turns the bar into a strip club
called "Pandora's Boxxx," bringing in $2,000 per night with her X-rated dances. One night, a man named Joey (Kevin Alber), whom Jessica recognizes, tries to molest her, and he gets into a fistfight with Mitch. Jessica gets him to leave, but doesn't tell Mitch she knows him. A DEA agent named
Ridley (Bob McFarland) shows up at the club and tells Mitch that Joey is a drug dealer out on parole. Ridley asks Mitch to sign a warrant for his arrest so Ridley can get him for violating his parole, but Jessica tells Mitch not to sign it, so he refuses.
Afterwards, Jessica seduces Mitch and while they're having sex, talks him into killing his wife. Mitch tries to stab Carolyn while they're dancing, but can't go through with it, so Jessica hires Joey to do it, telling him that Carolyn is going to sign his arrest warrant. Joey stabs Carolyn outside
the club, but Ridley witnesses it and calls the cops. A high-speed car chase leaves Joey dead, and an ambulence takes Carolyn to the hospital. Ridley tells Mitch that Jessica stole $100,000 from Joey's brother, an ex-boyfriend named Crank (Jeff Douglas) who doublecrossed the Feds on a sting
operation and kept the money. Jessica convinces Mitch that she's changed her evil ways, and while his wife is recovering in the hospital, she turns the club into an even bigger success. When Carolyn returns, she tells Mitch she's going to stay sober and wants to sell the club. Jessica tells Mitch
that she'll kill Carolyn herself this time if he can't do it. They manage to get Carolyn drunk, and slip some rat poison in her drink. Carolyn starts to dance and passes out, and Jessica bashes her brains in with a lamp while Carolyn is writhing on the floor.
The cops can't prove Carolyn's death wasn't an accident, but Ridley continues to hound Mitch and Jessica, and gets snapshots of them having sex while disposing of Carolyn's ashes after her funeral. Mitch and Jessica get married, but Ridley blackmails them with the photos, and Jessica agrees to pay
him $150,000 from Carolyn's insurance. Then, Crank shows up and demands his cash back, but Jessica convinces him that she took the money so she could launder it at the club, and informs him that she's the sole beneficiary of Mitch's will. Jessica then tells Mitch about Crank and suggests they get
rid of him by burning down the club for the insurance, while Crank is inside. While Crank is watching Jessica rehearse her act, Mitch cuts a gas line and sneaks up behind Crank with a metal pipe, but as he's about to hit him, Jessica alerts Crank, who grabs the pipe away from Mitch and kills him
with it, then sets the club on fire. Jessica collects the insurance money and she and Crank go on a vacation. In Mexico, Jessica pulls a gun on Crank and shoots him, then goes to sun herself on a beach.
SHOWGIRL MURDERS is an utterly trashy, semi-pornographic film noir that surprisingly works better than most direct-to-video "erotic thrillers," thanks to competent direction, understated acting, and a reasonably engaging story. Although the specifics of the plot are laughable in terms of
plausibility, the cast brings conviction to their roles. The numerous no-holds-barred S & M dance sequences, staged and performed by the redoubtable Ms. Ford, are certain to please fans of the genre, particularly a Garden of Eden lesbian number, replete with apple, snake, and Fred Olen Ray fave
Nikki Fritz. Ford throws herself into her amoral part with reckless abandon, and there are also some unusual touches, such as Carolyn's nightmare-flashback sequences. These are imaginatively shot and edited, although the ending, lifted directly from BODY HEAT, comes as no surprise. SHOWGIRL
MURDERS may be a totally depraved concoction, but at least it's a lot more honest, not to mention entertaining, about its lowly intentions, than the phony, big-budget tease of SHOWGIRLS (1995). (Extensive nudity, sexual situations, graphic violence, extreme profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Maria Ford delivers the sleazy goods in SHOWGIRL MURDERS, an above-average, soft-core THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1981)/DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) ripoff from Roger Corman's direct-to-video exploitation factory. A sultry blonde named Jessica (Maria Ford)… (more)