It just looks like one of those astonishingly plentiful early-nineties sex thrillers, right? Something in the same carnal category as Basic Instinct, Sliver, Body of Evidence, Color of Night… I could go on. Or perhaps something loftier, like weird late-period Nicolas Roeg or Ken Russell: (squinting) is … is that … Theresa Russell? Nope, guess not. It even has that jagged smear coming out of that firetruck-red lipstick, creating the appearance of torn paper, a mainstay of erotic thriller posters since the heady heydays of Glenn Close’s Jagged Edge and Fatal Attraction. But what is this little-known Traces of Red, not starring Close, or Russell, or Sharon Stone, or Madonna, or Jane March, or Ellen Barkin, or Michael Douglas? No, your eyes don’t deceive you: that amorous couple, caught in a steamy black-and-white, lingerie-and-leg-lift tableau straight out of Red Shoe Diaries is . . . JAMES BELUSHI AND LORRAINE BRACCO?!?!
According to the tagline, “You think you’ll know…” But I don’t know. I have no idea what the hell they were thinking here. A black background with a knife sticking out of a table would be more appealing. Even at age twelve or so I recall being astonished that this wasn’t a straight-to-video title, based on seeing the ad in the newspaper, and for all I know to this day the representative image could be horribly inappropriate for the actual content of the movie. But even if, at some point, a dyed-blonde Dr. Melfi appears in a black, lacey get-up and John Belushi’s younger brother does give her so much passionate lovin’ that her head tilts back is spastic sexual delight, I still doubt this is the proper way to sell these actors . . . I mean, does anyone want to see these two in any more of a state of undress than this? Coming soon: Ron Perlman and Stockard Channing in flagrante delicto? Well, no one is beyond suspicion . . .