Best EROTIC THRILLERS of All Time
Where there is tension between people, a spark of passion likes to appear. Danger and sexual intrigue go hand in hand, as proved by many filmmakers shooting erotic thrillers, especially in the 80s and 90s. Back then, breaking taboos was in vogue, and the screens were dominated by thrillers lined with erotism.
Here are 30 best erotic thrillers of all time. Cult productions as well as lesser-known titles crept onto the list. Even fans of the genre will find something for themselves. The oldest film on the list is from 1981, and the newest is from 2022.
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30. "Body Double"
Brian De Palma took the genre of erotic thriller to the workshop for the third time. This time, he has prepared a neo-noir product that pays homage to Hitchcock’s works and neatly “steals” some of his classic film solutions. So we have the theme of voyeurism, claustrophobia, murder by a neighbor, etc. Let’s also add a lot of sexy scenes with women in the lead roles and beautiful, barely dressed ladies. As the director mentioned in one of the interviews, this is a production full of twists and turns and wild driving without holding hands, sprinkled with erotic sauce. For me, it’s a must-have item.
Lars von Trier’s film with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe is one of the most radical and provocative films to hit the screens in a relatively wide distribution. Built on the structure of horror, Antichrist follows the fate of a married couple confronted in complete isolation from the world with a personal tragedy and … their own sexuality. Full of brutality, scenes bordering on pornography and subversive plots that play with religion, feminism or psychology, von Trier’s film is a disturbing marriage of eroticism and thriller, in which the spheres of metaphysical fear and desire intertwine like lovers in a love frenzy.
28. "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover"
One of my favorite and extremely difficult titles to get through. Mainly because he is uncompromising practically from the very beginning to the end and does not focus on any half-measures. On the one hand lecherous and on the other terrifying on so many levels. Especially when we silently watch the things the characters do to each other throughout the show. However, it must be remembered that it is the aforementioned wild and unbridled uncompromisingness that can sometimes overshadow the passionate sex scenes. And this is an art that only a few directors manage to do.
27. "Lust, Caution"
Director Ang Lee returns to his Asian roots, drawing full handfuls of experience acquired in the United States. This time he focused on a melodramatic thriller charged with erotic tension, where the leitmotif is primarily an individual fragile identity and self-deception leading to serious consequences. The main characters, as a result of seemingly accidental meetings and accidental close-ups, revise their lives and identity. This issue is especially evident when we talk about the main character, when unexpected circumstances awaken her hidden needs and desires.
26. "Body Heat"
In Lawrence Kasdan’s film, it all starts with a murder. Lawyer Ned kills his mistress’s rich husband. Thanks to this, the woman is to inherit the property and run away with her beloved. However, Ned’s chosen one is hiding secrets. Body Heat from 1981 gained publicity thanks to its bold sex scenes (supposedly, they were even bolder on the editing room floor). The director, however, made sure that the erotic part was accompanied by a dense thriller that kept you in suspense.
25. "The Crying Game"
As the title suggests, this movie is a game, a game of appearances. Neil Jordan first draws us into a love story, shows a passionate scene, and after a while pours a bucket of cold water on us and shouts: it’s not what you think! During a steamy scene, it turns out that the woman Fergus desires has more secrets than anyone expected.
Experienced in exploiting erotic themes in Antichrist, Lars von Trier devoted his next film, divided into two parts, to the theme of sex. Nymphomaniac is a cross-sectional story about Joe (Stacy Martin and Charlotte Gainsbourg) rushing at breakneck speed to satisfy lust. A story intertwined with psychological drama and erotic scenes full of tension, often bordering on violence. The narrative structure allows the plot to jump from one Joe’s partner to another, from one relationship to the next, and from one conflict to the next. The effect is fascinating, and at the same time not afraid of provocation, a study of erotic insatiability and social norms with which we frame sex.
23. "The Skin I Live In"
The Skin I Live In, on the one hand, has all the elements that indicate that this is another film by Pedro Almodóvar, on the other hand, it is a unique production in his filmography. The skin I live in defies any classification whatsoever. It is a production so refined, so stylized and so unique that it is impossible not to consider it a masterpiece. Although the Spanish master’s film does not lack sensual scenes, I am convinced that it is not about sexual attraction at all. It’s a work about psychopaths, about control, about playing God. I have not seen anything so beautifully disturbing in the cinema of recent years.
West’s X stormed into the imagination of viewers around the world, which can be confirmed by the presence in this ranking mainly among – let’s admit – numerous classics of erotic cinema. However, it is hardly surprising to our readers, because this slasher about making porn turned out to be one of the best titles of 2022. Eroticism bursts here at the level of the concept itself, but West skillfully adds to the stove throughout the film, presenting us the successive elation of Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow, Kid Cudi and Martin Henderson only to shift the weight in the last act in a daring volte all for the sexual needs of a disturbing old woman.
21. "The Hunger"
Already the first minutes of Hunger introduce a mood of eroticism and mystery. Miriam Blaylock and her beloved John look around the club for potential victims to the sounds of Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus. And that’s the very beginning of the movie! After that, it’s only hotter, more passionate and bloodier. The piquancy is added by the fact that the main character does not pay attention to the gender of the person she invites to her bed. This is by far my favorite erotic thriller.