Entertainment

8 kinky classics that came before Fifty Shades of Grey

Ahead of Fifty Shades Freed, the third film in the ongoing S&M-fuelled saga, movie critic Chris Alexander looks back at films that made Hollywood sweat.

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman play a maritally troubled couple in the 1999 drama Eyes Wide Shut.

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Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman play a maritally troubled couple in the 1999 drama Eyes Wide Shut.

With the impending release of Fifty Shades Freed, the third film in the ongoing, sweaty S&M-fuelled saga of domination-crazed millionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and his mostly submissive muse Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), here's a look at eight of the most notorious, controversial and endlessly debated erotic movies in film history. Each one of these pictures made some sort of splash in the mainstream; some of them were even deemed dangerous. So buckle up that harness super-tight and have a read.

Caligula (1979)

Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione put together this lavish horny historical horrorshow starring big names like Malcolm McDowell, Peter O’Toole and Helen Mirren. When he deemed the sex scenes too tame, Guccione shot and spliced in hardcore footage. Director Tinto Brass was horrified as were the critics, though the film now commands a devoted cult following.

Wild Orchid (1989)

Mickey Rourke was once himself the Brando of the ’80s, but as the decade wore down so did his interest in playing the Hollywood game. In this gauzy Zalman King-directed erotic romp, a too-tanned Rourke prances around exotic locales and beds down with the beautiful Carre Otis climaxing in a shockingly explicit coupling that reportedly was the real deal. That the actors were an item off-screen too only perpetuated this rumour.

Basic Instinct (1992)

Police detective Nick Curran, (Michael Douglas) and murder suspect Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) in a passionate embrace in the 1992 film Basic Instinct.

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Police detective Nick Curran, (Michael Douglas) and murder suspect Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) in a passionate embrace in the 1992 film Basic Instinct.

The searing hot sex noir that gave actress Sharon Stone a career and pounded the pulses of perverts worldwide, director Paul Verhoeven’s legendary thriller offers plenty of extreme coupling and power shifting bedroom dynamics as well as spurts of blood and plenty of lurid intrigue. A classic that’s even hotter in its unrated form.

Body of Evidence (1993)

Sexually savvy pop music legend Madonna went the distance for this trashy Uli Edel directed erotic thriller, in which Madge plays a potentially murderous femme fatale who uses sex to corrupt confused attorney Willem Dafoe. A silly, S&M-filled curio. And watch out for that candle wax!

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Stanley Kubrick’s final film offers a pair of searing performances by Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and is an elegant, stylish operatic exercise in sexual fantasy and kink. Extreme scenes during a surreal, ritualistic orgy sequence were digitally obscured to spare prudish American audiences but have since been restored for DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Secretary (2002)

Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader star in 2002's Secretary.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader star in 2002's Secretary.

The superior prototype for the Fifty Shades films, director Steven Shainberg’s brilliant and kinky romantic dramedy offers career best turns from Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader, in this politically incorrect story of a withdrawn girl who finds love and fulfilment being spanked and humiliated by her overbearing boss.

Nymphomaniac (2013)

Danish enfant terrible Lars von Trier’s magnum two-part opus of pornography, sadism, sex addiction and feminism is as extreme as the arthouse gets, offering black humour, challenging views of sexual freedom, XXX sequences and a landmark performance by von Trier’s muse, Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Blue is the Warmest Color (2014)

Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux star in the 2014 French drama Blue is the Warmest Color.

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Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux star in the 2014 French drama Blue is the Warmest Color.

Abdellatif Kechiche’s dizzying saga about a teenage girl’s sexual awakening at the hands and lips of an older woman stretches nearly three hours and is so erotically explicit that many audience members at the Cannes premiere walked out. But beneath its carnal controversy lurks a touching, emotionally affecting love story.

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