Recently, the worlds of literature and pop culture lost a true icon in Anne Rice. Often considered the first lady of vampire and paranormal fiction, she also made several notable contributions to the world of erotic fiction….
…Most of which the Feminist Sexpert really didn’t like. Now before you challenge me to guns at dawn (because who the heck wants to get up that friggin’ early anyway–the Feminist Sexpert doesn’t even enjoy her bagel with extra cream cheese and her Fruity Pebbles before 7 at the earliest!), please hear me out.
As a college student, I at one point came across a magazine article touting the fact that this Anne Rice person was writing porn for women under the name Anne Rampling. I got super excited, only to learn that her celebrated Beauty series included elements of kidnapping, slavery and force.
Throwing the magazine down, I once again lamented the fact that most of that which was branded as women’s porn still involved the elimination of her choice, her subjugation and her victimization. I must say, however, that some of my feminist friends felt differently, and we often engaged in spirited debates about Rice’s erotic works.
One of Rice’s/Rampling’s works, Exit to Eden, differed from the rest, in that the lead character–Mistress Lisa–was a dominatrix clearly in charge of her own pleasure; leading a colony of submissives on her own island, and eventually falling for a handsome photojournalist, Elliott, who submitted himself to her will.
OK, so this the Feminist Sexpert could work with. I ordered a copy of Exit to Eden from my erotic book club and tried to read it from cover to cover.
…only I made it past just one cover, the front. Yes, despite the presence of a stronger heroine and some undeniably masterful writing, Exit to Eden was simply too rough and raw for my liking. I simply couldn’t finish it.
Yet this I must report; a book that I didn’t particularly like just happened to inspire a movie I totally love.
The motion picture version of Exit to Eden, released in 1994, stars Dana Delany as Mistress Lisa and Paul Mercurio as Elliott. And to this day, I happily recommend this film to any woman looking for a fun, empowering erotic comedy.
The gorgeous Mercurio, also star of the stunning Strictly Ballroom, glows in the role of Elliott, who pulls off a scintillating seduction of his dominant Mistress Lisa, played by the always powerful and compelling Delany.
As Lisa sleeps, Elliott arises from his own place of slumber, on her floor, gently awakens her, and invites her to relax as he does everything for her pleasure. It is implied that he treats her to some rockin’ oral without expecting one darned thing in return. Oh, and you get to see a bare version of the red hot behind that Mercurio swung shamelessly in Strictly Ballroom.
In a later scene, one in which Lisa ties up Elliott in a BDSM session, the camera showcases and displays his perfect body for the benefit of female viewers while his mistress stands behind him, giving the orders. That’s what the Feminist Sexpert is talkin’ bout.
Aside from the torrid and femmecentric central affair, Exit to Eden features two secondary characters not present in Rice’s original book: a pair of detectives played by Rosie O’Donnell and Dan Aykroyd.
O’Donnell cuts the figure of a beautiful BBW in dominatrix garb for her tough-talking comedic role–and in one scene, her own handsome submissive offers to enact a kidnapping fantasy; one in which Sheila, adorned with an eyemask meant simply to help her sleep, would play a Bandit Girl who takes him hostage and does bad, bad things while the hunk enjoys every minute of it.
Ample male eye candy is also on display across the island, with another muscled submissive asking Sheila out of the blue how he can fulfill her fantasy. She responds, “Paint My House.” I like Sheila.
The filmed version of Exit to Eden held an element of fun, humor and romance that the book simply lacked; while still honoring the strength and beauty of the mysterious Lisa, and the sexy elements of the story itself, which are simply undeniable.
Although universally derided and despised, particularly amongst Rice fans, I found Exit to Eden to be one of the sexiest and most appealing erotic comedies for women ever produced–and, although Anne Rice was widely reported to not be a fan of the movie, it was her book that inspired it. So to the author that I might not have been the biggest fan of, I say, “Thanks for giving us the book that indirectly lead to the movie that I really, really liked. And that featured Paul Mercurio’s ever-lovin’ butt.”
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